On Tuesday, December 11, Timmins police charged 33-year-old Tiffany Butch for demanding money in return for lifting a curse.
Just two days before Section 365 of the Criminal Code was repealed, northern Ontario authorities charged Butch, also known as the “White Witch of the North,” with “pretending to practice witchcraft.” She will be the last woman in Canada tried for witchcraft — if the case is allowed to move forward.
According to the CBC, Timmins police spokesperson Marc Depatie “said police and prosecutors work with the laws that are on the books at the time of the alleged offence, pointing to historical sexual offences” as an example. “That’s why police and the Crown attorneys keep ancient, or aged, versions of the Criminal Code on hand, to see what laws apply,” he said.
Despite the seemingly absurd nature of the charge, her crimes may have been very real. “(In) this particular set of circumstances, the person gave them a sense of foreboding that a dreadful thing was about to happen to their family at some point … (that) they should provide them with financial compensation so they could perform some sort of mystical service that would prevent that from happening,” Depatie said.
In a telephone interview with the network, Butch said, “People proclaimed me a witch here and gave me a nickname, but I’m not a witch. I’m a psychic.” She believes she is being framed by other psychics. She claims to be completely innocent. “I don’t know who this person even is, and none of my customers from October to now have put in any complaints with me or asked me for refunds back,” she said.
In a statement released on Monday, Timmins police said the accused maintains an alias, and “holds herself to be a self-proclaimed spiritualist, medium and clairvoyant.” The department also warned people about those who make “extravagant claims of impending danger,” specifically those who claim to possess “clairvoyant or mystical powers.”