The Real-Life Witch Who Heavily Influenced The Craft

If you're making a Hollywood movie that revolves in any way around real-life subject matter, you have a choice; You can choose to do your research and honor the subject matter accurately, or you can just ... make stuff up (Disney's "Pocahontas," anyone?). Unfortunately, many writers and directors choose to go the route of the latter, but every once in a while, you get someone who wants to make sure they do things right. When the writers of "The Craft" set out to make a movie about a group of teenage girls with an interest in witchcraft, they wanted to be as accurate as possible to the religion. To do this, they sought help from a real-life witch named Pat Devin. She acted as a consultant to the filmmakers throughout the entirety of the project, and her knowledge and influence on "The Craft" helped shape the movie into the hexing good time (see what I did there?) that it is today.   

Who is Pat Devin and What Was Her Influence in The Craft?

In an interview for the Wychwood Castle website, Pat Devin spoke about her experience as a consultant for "The Craft." Devin, herself, is listed as "a Dianic Elder Priestess and a member of Coven Ashesh Hekat, as well as Public Information Officer of Covenant of the Goddess, Southern California Local Council." In short, she knows her stuff. In her interview, she explains how she got the gig after being approached by a local occult shop owner she knew. He had recently been "contacted by a Sony publicist, looking for a Witch [sic] to act as technical advisor on an upcoming production, tentatively titled 'The Craft.'" Not wanting to miss an opportunity to help portray her religion in an accurate and appropriate light, Devin agreed to meet with the director of "The Craft," Andrew Fleming, and executive producer Ginny Nugent.

Devin connected with the idea of a group of teenage girls with an interest in witchcraft. After all, she used to be one of those teenagers, "reading Sybil Leek, singing 'Season of the Witch' and joining [her] high school girlfriends in midnight Ouija Board sessions." She was warned by Fleming that she was signing onto a Hollywood production which meant that, while accuracy was important, the film still needed to sell tickets. When asked if she would be able to work within the parameters of Hollywood entertainment while still being as accurate as possible, she first asked to see the script. Impressed by what she read, she agreed to get on board. 

It's a good thing she did because as it turns out, Devin was not the only one who connected with the four teenage witches in the film. The movie, while originally expected to be nothing more than a mediocre hit, performed exceptionally well at the box office. But I mean, what's not to love about these powerful ladies? They're basically the gothy equivalent of the Lisbon sisters who might have turned out differently if they had broken free from that stifling household and discovered candles and their local Hot Topic. Ahhh, if only.    

So What Things Did Devin Help Influence in the Film?

Jokes aside, though, Devin played a vital role in making "The Craft" as accurate as Hollywood would allow. She created spells that sounded as precise as possible to the real things, and it was her idea to have the four girls take part in an Initiation. "I told Andy that, if the girls were going to threaten Sarah with death for leaving the Coven, he needed an Initiation where the girls committed themselves to each other," she says. She also suggested giving a reason why Fairuza Balk's character, Nancy, and her Coven are looking to add a fourth member to their group, allowing each girl to "call a corner" for each element during the "Invocation of the Spirit" ritual they perform on the beach.

Still, not all of Devin's suggestions were taken. When it comes time for each of the girls to represent an element during the invocation, Devin "had Sarah as Earth, Rochelle as Water, Bonnie as Fire [ ... ] and Nancy as Air," but the art department for the film disagreed with her and ultimately flip-flopped the elements for Nancy and Sarah. Even so, Devin insists that many of her ideas were utilized. One thing does make her sad about the film's final cut, though. "I'll always miss the truly magical final scene in the original script, that had Sarah reading to a group of little girls and, as she reads, the story comes to life around them, and they are in a forest clearing, with deer and birds around them." I'm not entirely certain if I love this ending as much as Devin seems to. It would have messed with those delightful straight jacket Fairuza vibes, and that's just not something I'm willing to give up.   

And just in case you were wondering, those looking to summon the real-life Manon themselves are out of luck. The powerful Deity that's summoned and ultimately abused isn't real. Devin made him up just for the film. She diligently researched to make sure that Manon was not a real Deity because "[she] didn't want hordes of teenagers running down to the beach or out to the woods invoking anybody real." Which, honestly, was probably a good call. Add that to the list of reasons why it is always, always important to consult an expert.