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Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three to Release ‘High Magick’ Memoir

Larry Busacca, Getty Images
Larry Busacca, Getty Images

Damien Echols just announced the release of a new book, High Magick: A Guide to the Spiritual Practices That Saved My Life on Death Row. The survival memoir will be the fourth book Echols has released, going in-depth on how he made it through 18 years in prison.

In 1994, Damien Echols was sentenced to death after being found guilty of the 1993 murders of three young boys in Arkansas. Echols’ supposed accomplices, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr., were given life in prison, but the convictions were extremely controversial due to lack of evidence. A documentary series called Paradise Lost advocated of Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley, who became known as the West Memphis Three. In 2011, the three were finally released after entering an Alford plea, allowing them to assert their innocence despite the crimes remaining on their records.

Due to his goth look and the fact that he was a fan of aggressive music, Echols became a part of heavy metal’s landscape, and symbolized how outcasts can be targeted for simply expressing their individuality. Musicians such as Marilyn Manson, Henry Rollins, Eddie Vedder, Disturbed and many others (including non-metal artists, like Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks) lent support to the West Memphis Three during their incarceration, helping raise money for their legal teams. Now that Echols is a free man, he’s dedicated his life to art, writing and magick, the last of which will be detailed in his upcoming book.

“I used magick—the practice of reshaping reality through our intention and will—to stave off incredible pain, despair, and isolation,” says Echols. “But the most amazing feat of all that practice and study was to manifest my freedom. Magick is an incredibly deep, meaningful, spiritual tradition that equals the Eastern practices of Buddhism and Taoism in beauty. It’s an ancient discipline that lets you literally change reality by working with the divine energies of creation.”

Echols continues, “I consider this book to be the culmination of my life’s work. When I finished it I was in a hotel room in Boulder, Colorado, the most beautiful blizzard I’d ever seen in my life was happening outside my window. I felt as if I’d accomplished perhaps the biggest chunk of my life’s purpose. Wave after wave of contentment and profound happiness rolled through me for weeks afterwards. This is the fulfillment of a dream I have held since childhood – to contribute in some way to the history and preservation of the practices of ceremonial magick.”

High Magick is set for an Oct. 30 release, but you can pre-order the book now at Amazon. Echols will also be teaching a magick class Feb. 3 at the Last Rites Tattoo Theatre in New York City; click here for further details.

Damien Echols, High Magick

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