Did Page County Candidate Author Controversial Book?

By: Michael Hyland Email
By: Michael Hyland Email

A local political candidate faces questions about a controversial book she may or may not have written.

Alice Richmond is running to represent District 1 on the Page County Board of Supervisors.

She recently denied writing a book about Wiccan history and rituals called "Thirteen Lessons for Pleasing the Divine: A Witch's Primer."

In denying she wrote it, is she being honest about her past?

It all started Friday with a radio interview.

On the call-in show SpeakOut, a man identifying himself as Jim Logan had some questions for Richmond about two titles he'd found.

Logan brought up the aforementioned book and a second one called "The Book of Dreams and Shadows: A Witch's Tool." Both books were authored under the pen name "Lady Raya."

Richmond said, "That is not me, Jim."

Richmond denied she was Lady Raya a couple times more.

According to a Website selling the book, "Lady Raya is a High Priestess of the Temple of Saint Catherine, living and working in the Washington, D.C. area."

The web site ladyraya.org has been taken down, but WHSV found archived versions of it.

A bio of Lady Raya on that site is almost identical to Richmond's resume, including education at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania.

"Lady Raya isn't anyone. Lady Raya is a fictional character," says Richmond. "Did I, however, write that book? Yes, I did."

Richmond also writes the Page County Watch blog and has made open government a central issue in her campaign.

So, why did she deny questions about her past?

"Many people when they are misunderstanding and not knowing what metaphysical books are, can react badly," says Richmond.

Since the radio show, Richmond believes her mail has been tampered with and someone broke into her campaign office.

Richmond says, "This is the reason I'm upset. In a political campaign, issues like this, issues of church and religion, are just not allowable topics."

Richmond's opponent in this case, Robert Griffith, declined to go on camera, but did say he wanted Richmond to be clear about whether or not she wrote the book.

Richmond did say that the books' publisher recommended using a fictional name to try and avoid misconceptions.

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