Amarillo history is fascinating. From the days of the wild untamed west, to a field of half-buried classic cars; we've got quite the story to tell. Part of that history involves religion and some of the insanity that surrounds it.

Like the time when witches, Christians, and a bomb squad all collided in Yellow City.

The Great Witches' Convention Of 1980

The 80s were a magical time, no pun intended. They gave us the Satanic Panic, that special time in recent-ish American history when all of our parents thought the things we liked were going to drag our souls to eternal torment.

I remember attending church several times as a kid to find out that whatever cartoon, video game, board game, or book I liked was somehow a tool of the devil.

Businessman with angel and devil on his shoulders.

In 1980, the Church of Wicca held a convention in Amarillo, Texas of all places. Why you would pick Amarillo to be the place of your convention is beyond me, but then again I'm not Wiccan. Maybe there was some kind of significance.

As you can imagine, the more traditionally conservative and very Christian portion of the population didn't take too kindly to these Wiccans bringing their shenanigans to their fine city.

A Convention, A Rally, And An Emergency Evacuation

The Wiccans got down to their Wiccan business at around 9AM that morning. I can't imagine it was the type of nefarious affair that the protestors believed it to be. Wicca, as defined online by every imaginable source I could find, is a nature based neo-pagan belief system. They're really, really into nature. They're also not fond of evil-doing, come to find out.

Photo by Halanna Halila on Unsplash
Photo by Halanna Halila on Unsplash

It will have you scratching your head, but what's really important to know is that Satanists aren't involved at all. In fact, Wiccans don't even believe there is a Satan.

Keep this in mind.

So, at 9AM the Wiccans get down to doing whatever it is they're doing that's all nature driven when things come to a screeching halt. They only got 25 minutes into their convention before an emergency evacuation was held.

A Secret Location, A Bomb Threat, And A Call For Prayer

This is where things get Yellow-City-Wacky, which is a term I'm determined to use from now on when things escalate to insane levels in Amarillo. The 70 or so Wiccans were whisked away to a secret location.

Apparently, there was a bomb threat. Four hours later after bomb-sniffing dogs and police were unable to find anything at all, guests and Wiccans alike were allowed to return. There was a quote in there which I found funny. A person referred to the individual responsible for the bomb threat as a "misguided brother" and hoped that Christ would minister to them.

Man dressed as a priest angrily preaching holding the bible in his hand

Offer a prayer for the bomb threat guy, who could have potentially caused some real tragic harm, and make sure we protest the hell (no pun intended) out of these nature loving pagan people? Seems a bit backward, but okay.

Also, can you imagine picking that motel to stay at that weekend unaware of what else was going on? Craziest family vacation in Amarillo ever for those poor folks.

Hawaiian Evangelists To The Rescue In Yellow City!

While all this is going on, there's a counter-convention-protest happening, being led by some evangelists. The evangelists were from Hawaii (I did some digging), and got some 300 people (according to the news) to gather.

There was a guest speaker who said that they weren't there to attack the Wiccans, but to defend Christianity. Defend the world's largest organized religion from the 70 nature loving neo-pagan witches in Amarillo, Texas?

Seems like we've overestimated the abilities of these 70 Wiccans, but okay.

Eventually, the dust settled and everyone went their separate ways. It was a whole lot of hub-bub for nothing. Hawaiian evangelists, a small number of twentieth-century neo-pagan witches, bomb-sniffing dogs, police, and the press all got together to party in Amarillo, Texas; and none of us talk about it anymore.

I love you, Yellow City.

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