The true story behind the Siege of the Sorcere's Apprentice

APRIL 15 1988: Geoffrey Dickens, the parliamentary representative of Dianne Core's CHILDWATCH group, forces an ajournment debate in the House of Commons and makes reference to Witchcraft linked child abuse. During the statement Dickens specifically mentions The Sorcerer's Apprentice bookshop in Leeds by name in a derogatory sense, quoting several examples of controversial goods from our range. Later Mr Bray's MP visits him at Mr Bray's request and reports that Dickens "frankly he seems top not know a great deal about your business but he is convinced that what he calls "a list of sale items' has been complained about to him by various people." The Victimisation of Mr C.M. Bray

APRIL 16 1988: Radio Aire (Leeds' Commercial radio station) broadcasts a news piece of Dicken's speech and includes an interview with Diane Core, with reference to the Sorcerer's Apprentice she says "shops like this should be shut down". Mr Bray telephones her and asks why she is so critical of his operation when the S.A. has always had a voluntary rule not to sell to under 18s? He tells her that If he ever became aware of anyone criminally misusing the occult he would inform the police immediately and that all genuine occultists want to help stamp out child sex abuse. Core tells him that she is helping with a programme for THE COOK REPORT to be screened during spring 1989 and infers that this will have a sensational impact.

OCTOBER 8 1988: Dicken's appears on James Whale TV Show criticising occult linked child-abuse. Chris Bray phones in and an argument ensues between Dickens and Mr Bray. Dickens says " You are a Menace; Your kind are a Menace... and ... Wait until next year, you'll see some evidence'

NOVEMBER 7 1988: Mr Bray writes to Diane Core to say that he does not believe one iota of the claims she is making but offers his extensive knowledge of occultism to help her ferret out any, just in case. Core does not answer Chris Bray's letter.

.. NOVEMBER 15 1988: The New Federalist Magazine, a Christian Fundamentalist magazine carries an interview with Diane Core. Included in the report is a derogatory reference to the Sorcerer's Apprentice and a statement that 'Bray participated in an October 17-21 conference on the Devil held in Turin, Italy' (this was a lie, Mr Bray has never been to Turin).

DECEMBER 8 1988: Chris Bray believes that an unjust campaign is being secretly waged against him. His solicitor writes to Diane Core asking her whether she will confirm or deny that she supplied information about the Sorcerer's Apprentice which was used in Dicken's speech in parliament which included details on the Sorcerer's Apprentice. Core does not reply.

DECEMBER 19: 1988: Heresay in recent newspaper reporting and gossip leads Chris Bray to believe that a conspiracy is afoot and that the The Cook Report is unfairly targetting the S.A.. Chris asks his Solicitor to pre-empt the situation by writing to the producer stating our position and warning them that if they have accepted information from people who are pursuing the myth of satanic abuse, that it is likely to be incorrect and libelous.

JANUARY 31 1989: Tim Tate, co-producer of the Cook Report writes back but does not reply to any questions already put. Instead he asks if Mr Bray will give him an interview. He says 'We would wish to discuss with you the nature of your organisation , its mail-order business and its publications. Additionally we would like to film inside your premises to set your interview in context. Please be assured it is not our intention to subject you (or the occult in general) to what your solicitors term "mis-informed vilification". We would simply like to interview you along the lines indicated above.' Time and Tim Tates' subsequent actions proves this statement to be an outright and manipulative deconstruction of the truth designed to persuade Mr Bray against his best interests.

FEBRUARY 2ND 1989: Mr Bray smells a rat. He intuitively senses that, for no just reason, the Cook Report have decided to make him the villain of the piece and so, in order that he cannot be accused of failing to communicate his case Mr Bray issues a 4 page public statement of his personal philosophy and honourable business intent. So that the Cook Report have absolutely no excuse he sends a copy to them and then has his solicitor write to Tim Tate on February 10th to underline that previous and recent examples of mis-reporting have reduced his confidence in the intentions of the media to such an extent that he does not trust that an interview would be productive. However he offers to assist with background information about occultism and do anything he can to assist their research. To that end he agrees to meet with them providing the Cook Report give written assurances that no secret recording of an interview or broadcasting use will be made of any such meeting without Mr Bray's permission. Furthermore his solicitor's letter gives legal notice of his refusal for them to film either interior or exterior shots or use any any film, radio or press library material concerning his business unless cleared with him beforehand. The letter also reserve copyright on all publications and products and permission for the use of them in pictures or the use of verbatim extracts therefrom is strictly prohibited unless agreed in writing beforehand. Although the letter was sent recorded delivery the Cook Report did not reply to it. This is because they eventually, unfairly and outside the broadcasting code of practice, conspiratorially broke every one of the restrictions he had outlined in his letter!. Lastly in this letter Mr Bray made clear that at that time several complaints were already being pursued with the IBA over the misportrayal of Mr Bray's business by ITN news and a copy of this letter was therefore sent to the IBA chairman.

FEBRUARY 20 1989: David Austen, an occasional client and self-styled satanist troublemaker is contacted by the Cook Report and wined and dined. He agrees to perform a satanic ceremony for them on film and the Cook Report team connive to obtain ritual empedimentia for the rite from the S.A. They ask Austen to persuade Chris Bray to give an interview on an 'or-else' ultimatum. Austen telephones the S.A. ostensibly to persuade Chris that cooperating with the Cook Report will be in his best interests. However Chris figures this to be impossible, because he has no intention of supporting or agreeing with any of the ridiculous and untrue allegations which Core and Dickens have been making and therefore any meeting can only result in conflict. He refuses an interview. A couple of days later Tim Tate telephones Chris and asks for an interview. Chris explains that the Cook Report are entirely on the wrong track, the allegations are lies created by fundamentalist christians and he does not want to have anything to do with them. With the publication of the government's own report on the allegations five years later, Chris's estimation of the situation is proved entirely correct, but at that time the Cook Report have no other person in their sights, so Chris is given 'the treatment'.

MARCH 19 1989: The Sunday Sun Newspaper runs a sensational article on Devil Worship and defames the Sorcerer's Apprentice by describing us as 'Devil Worship Organisers' . Mr Bray is not a Satanist, has never been a Satanist. He does not and has never organised any form of Devil Worship. The few books he stocks on Satanism are a minority in his range and he does not promote Satanism more than any other New Age philosophy which is represented in his stock, including mystical Christianity. The inherent intolerance and prejudice of Geoffrey Dickens and the Sunday Sun coupled with the impeding Cook Report has obviously made it open-season on Mr Bray!The article contains a statement that the author (John Merry) and other speakers including Diana Core will be addressing a Royal Society of Medicine Conference 'which is looking at the problems of occult activity'. In fact the conference was not organised by the Royal Society of Medicine but was held in their rented rooms by a Christian fundamentalist group REACHOUT which has strong links with Diane Core's Childwatch.

MAY 2: 1989: An unknown first purchaser calls into our retail shop at approximately 10.30 but is seen to be acting suspiciously. The Manager senses something is wrong (we are not occultists for nothing) and challenges the man. Flustered he admits to being a Journalist who works for a Keighley newspaper but says that he is collecting some items for a friend. As none of the items are controversial the manager completes the sale without checking with Mr Bray. The journalistleaves. Later we discover that the 'journalist' was in fact the co-producer of the Cook Report, Tim-Tate who had, against the broadcasting guidelines, mislead the manager about his identity in order to obtain altar paraphernalia which was used by the satanist David Austen in a clip of a Satanic ceremony. If this was a police investigation instead of a thoroughly reprehensible trial-by-TV, the case would have collapsed already due to Entrapment.

MAY 3: 1989 Daily Star reports that Central TV's Cook Report have flown in Michael Aquino the leader of the Satanic Temple of Set from the U.S.A. Dianne Core is quoted as being upset by this saying "It is horrendous that Roger Cook brought him into this country when we are fighting to keep him out" The article continues Mrs Core is also angry because she helped Cook research his programme which aims to expose the link between Satanism and the sexual abuse of Children.What Mrs Core doesn't say is that she had already formally challenged Aquino to a public debate on TV in the U.S.A. when she went there to pursue her satanic ritual abuse allegations. Mr Bray can see which way the wind is blowing.

MAY 3: 1989 7.15am. Workers at the S.A. open up the Mail Order office as usual but during preparatory work in the shop the manager notices that three men are sat on a park bench on the opposite side of the road to the S.A. and one of them is Tim Tate. We observe that one of the men has a video camera partially concealed under a blousson jacket. The Cook Report are illegally filming. Mr Bray calls the police. Police Sergeant 89 arrives at 8.50.a.m. He goes across to talk to the three men. After 15 minutes of conversation and sheepish looks Tim Tate and the police sergeant walk towards the shop. Tate has persuaded the sergeant to allow him to ask Mr Bray for an interview and, Tate says, if Mr Bray refuses then he and the camera crew will go away. But Tate is being duplicitous - he already knows that Mr Bray has refused permission . Mr Bray takes up the story:

The Police Sergeant stands between Tate and me. Tate asks: "Will you answer some questions/give an interview?" I asked where he was from. He said "Central Television" I responded "You mean The Cook Report?" He said "Yes". I then said "You did not say that you were from the Cook Report when you pretended to be a customer yesterday did you? " He did not reply. I said "In which case you are deceitful and I will not give you an interview." I also said "My solicitor has already written two letters to you informing you that I will not give an interview." Tate said "But there have been serious allegations made against you" and I said " In which case I will sue you". At this point one of my staff saw that the two other men had begun to shoot the scene at the door and it became obvious to me that Tate was 'wired' for sound and that the Police Sergeant had been duped into giving Tate the opportunity of interviewing me, so I curtly cut the interview short. The sergeant then came inside and told us that he had told the crew that they could be prosecuted for obstruction. They had agreed to move on after Tate had enquired about an interview with me. The Sergeant said that if there was any further trouble I should telephone the Police again.
But, as soon as the sergeant had disappeared the film-crew set up the camera on a tripod on the pavement opposite the shop and appeared to be filming through the upstairs windows using a powerful telephoto lens. As Chris Bray did not see why any of his staff should be made into puppets for the Cook report, they turned off all the lights and kept away from the windows. Chris instructed the manager to lock all the exterior doors and treat the matter as a siege. Within the space of 15 minutes three further cars had arrived with two other camera crews along with Roger Cook and several other minders. Camera Crews were set up in front, at the side and at the rear of the building and were successively pointed up through the first-floor windows and into the ground-floor shop area. A large crowd began to form. I telephoned the police again. This time the sergeant and another police constable arrived within a few minutes and as soon as they had been admitted through the front door of the shop Roger Cook and one of the film crew positioned themselves immediately outside the front door blocking the entrance so that customers could not gain entry and taking shots of items in the windows and through the windows. The police reported the situation to their superior, Inspector Cromack at Leeds HQ. Amazingly the police decided not to get involved They said there was nothing they could do until the TV people had broken a law and they couldn't stand about all day waiting so would have to leave. The continued and flagrant persistence of the Central TV people was so beligerant that it was obvious that the shop could not function at all that day. To do otherwise would be to put at risk of harassment members of staff and clients. He was not about to either capitulate or waste his time with a day-long siege. If the Cook Report team were this dishonourable when the police were there, heaven knows what provocations they had lined up for when they went. So Mr Bray had no alternative but to close the business and the police escorted us out of the rear of the premises. The three film crews were covering the exits ready to film anyone leaving. This was a problem because there were eight members of staff at the shop who were becoming rattled by this oppressive situation. One girl, who had only months before escaped the attentions of a brutal husband was terrified that she would be identified and he would come and get her. Chris knew that Cook was out for the 'doorstep' , a clip of film making the fat oaf look brave and courageous by challenging the supposed villain of the piece on camera whilst his entourage and heavies stood behind the camera in case anything went wrong. Chris had a brainwave and dusted off the Halloween stock, giving everyone the same Dracula masks. He knew that when eight identical Draculas rushed out Cook would be running in circles. That is what happened but Cook's researchers had done their jobs well, they knew which car was Chris' and got some shots of him getting in whilst Cook was mouthing ridiculous allegations, all of which were proved false in the course of time. This was probably the biggest media -stitch-up of all time.

July 18th 1998: The programme was bedevilled by problems and held up beyond its scheduled date, but is finally broadcast on July 18th and creates nationwide banner headlines. Mr Bray asks the local police for protection for his property. A plain clothes squad is stationed to patrol the area at night. After a fortnight the police withdraw the patrol

..August 13th 1989: Fundamentalist Christian agitators break into the Sorcerer's Apprentice, hack and smash at the bookshelves containing books on Paganism and Crowley, throw the books in a pile on the floor and set them alight, leaving the building to burn to the ground. The fire takes hold but is spotted by a local customer who alerts the fire brigade. By the time the fire is under control the entire shop and ground floor area of the S.A. is a pile of ashes. However, the fundamentalists did not bargain on another four floors of back-stock. Within a week the shop is cleaned up, reglazed, redecorated and fully back in business, in between time Mr Bray and his loyal staff set up a stall outside to serve the many customers and well-wishers who call. Epilogue: Mr Bray's friends, acquaintences and customers were up in arms when the programme was eventually screened and their hundreds of letters of complaint caused the Broadcasting Complaints Commission to enquire of Mr Bray whether he wanted to make an official complaint. He did so and the BCC found in his favour slating the Cook Report for unfair dealing. The Cook Report apology was printed in the TV times and broadcast on ITV. This is the one and only time the Cook Report has been successfully admonished. The programme will go down in history as the biggest media con of the 20th century but what is worse is that it caused a wave of intolerance against Pagan and Occult beliefs and helped divert millions of pounds from areas of child care which needed the funding and wasted it all on the wild-goose chase of Satanic Abuse which was nothing but a myth. Ends:

(c) world coypright holder: The Sub-culture Alternatives Freedom Foundation (S.A.F.F.) Leeds, Yorkshire, U.K.

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