If you’re lucky, every once in a while you’ll catch wind of a super-interesting individual from your home turf that was previously unknown to you. I’m from the Metro Detroit area and only recently became aware of Marion Kuclo, an amazing woman from the same region. Kuclo is remembered by locals as Gundella, a/k/a “The Green Witch.”
Born Marion Clark in Port Huron during the Great Depression, she was raised in Northern Michigan, before eventually relocating to Garden City, which is near Detroit. She grew up Protestant, but was also taught the pagan traditions of the Wicca religion. She came from a long line of witches and traced her genealogy back to the Green Witches of Scotland, a cult active in the 15th and 16th centuries. There were three primary witch cults based around colors, and her ancestors would smear green vegetable coloring on their faces to identify themselves.
Marion became a witch when she was initiated into a coven at age 18, taking on the Wicca name, Gundella. She believed in magic, reincarnation, and that there is a universal power source within us all that can be conjured up at any time. An elementary school teacher by trade, a chance encounter when she was around 40 years of age altered her path in life. During a Halloween party in 1969, she met the Head of Psychology at the University of Michigan, which led to her teaching class there, as well as giving lectures on witchcraft off campus. By year’s end, Gundella was a local celebrity.
c. 1971 (courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library).
Seen by the community as a “good” witch, Gundella didn’t identify herself as such, believing it’s the individual who is good or bad, not the practice of witchcraft.
Wyandotte Public Library appearance, August 10, 1973.
She wrote several books, and beginning in 1975 she had her own column in the local newspaper; it was called “Witch Watch.”
An unusual LP entitled The Hour of the Witch was released by Gundella.
From the album’s back cover:
On this record Gundella tells you how to test your own psychic powers, make ritual candles and mold little wax dolls. She tells you about traditional witchcraft, defines magic, and teaches you how to cast your own spells.
Gundella narrates over appropriately spooky music, which was written and performed by her son, James. The Hour of the Witch is a fun, one of a kind record. It’s also quite obscure, though the Modern Harmonic record label is about to remedy that situation.
Gundella with one of her students, c. 1971 (courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library).
On October 20, The Hour of the Witch will be reissued by Modern Harmonic. Both the CD and LP contain new, reverential liner notes by Gundella’s daughter, Madilynne, but I think you’re going to want the LP edition, as it contains sixteen pages of “Witch Watch” clippings and is fittingly pressed on green vinyl.
We’ve got the remastered premiere of a highlight from The Hour of the Witch, “Spell to Discourage an Unwanted Suitor (Black Rose).” My favorite part is when Gundella recites the incantation, her voice rising to a lively intensity. Play this one, along with the rest of the album, at this year’s Halloween party.
“Yes, I am a witch.”—Gundella’s first words on her LP.
Modern Harmonic has also shared something very special with us: an excerpt from a rarely seen 1979 interview with Gundella. It was uploaded by the label exclusively for our readers and is not part of the reissue. In the clip, Gundella talks seriously about witchcraft, but she’s also funny and self-deprecating.