We would like to offer a very brief narrative of the attempted hijack of WickerMan Burn.
In Federal Court we now have a court order protecting our burn and our name. We provide the legal documents below if you care to read them. Else where on this web site we are announcing our plans moving forward, and we hope you will join us.
If not, we would like to highly recommend “Transformus” as an excellent summer burn. They too have had their own issues in the past, and have worked through them into a great present.
WickerMan Burn was founded by Orren Whiddon in 2008. From 2009 through about 2014 he co-organized the event with his daughter Ariel, who created the “WickerMan Burn” Facebook group page in 2010. Since 2014 the event has been organized by a rotating group, but always with Orren Whiddon, Mike McConnell and Ivy Sturm providing back-office and strategic oversight.
In the fall of 2018 Kate Gille, Facebook aka “Capt.Rose” approached Ariel.
( Kate Gille with Patricia Althouse are now the owners of Stone Circle Council LLC, a PA for-profit stock corporation. See below docs.)
Ariel’s story is important, and we hope you will take the time to read it in full.
I began my life at Four Quarters unwittingly, as a seven year old child. I did fall immediately in love with the wrap around porch, cliffside and fireflies. I would crawl out onto the roof alone and read. I repeated this ritual for the following decade, always alone. Hearing the drums coming off of the hills. Hearing the ceremonies below. Seeing the cars roll in. Hearing the dogs barking. In between, and not a part.
The early years were so hard for me, the tangible memories that sting the back of my throat to this day. In a tiny rural elementary school, I was branded a satanist, a “nudie camper”, a witch bitch. I was unilaterally hated, avoided at all costs and shamed into a torturous quiet. I scraped change out of the bottom of the donation jar for school lunch. I came home after the second brutal 90 minute school bus ride of the day to eat potatoes, onions, and venison. I wore snowsuits to school with no socks. The pennies stretched near and far, and still we were okay. Still, I was okay.
Toward the end of the school years, things would change. Sometimes on a Friday, I knew I’d be coming home to something entirely different. Folks would pull in, one car at a time. I coveted these times, the first night of an event, where people gathered to find each other after long winters apart, to celebrate the return of spring. They would come again, to make music and dance, they still would come again to raise stones upright. I looked forward to the flip side of my dualistic existence- I would see friends, be loved by many, absolutely free to be my wild little child self, without the steady anxiety and fear that clouded my life outside Four Quarters. This community of people gripped me up in a swirl of love that I never knew could exist, and it carried me through so many dark times in my childhood. I could always look forward to those special Friday nights, where my bad life could go away and I could find and be amongst my people. I’m sure many of you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Much of the relief and excitement I got from Four Quarters as a kid started to wear off as I grew into my teen years. I felt my relationship with Four Quarters shifting, I started working in the kitchen and behind the scenes because I felt no pull to involve myself with the content produced there, but rather the pull to produce the content itself. Service, as I came to learn, has a lot more to do with shoveling shit than it has to do with taking credit.
My first toe dipped into event organizing came with the second WickerMan in 2009. I was taken by the concept of burn events- it fit my ethos of the moment. I was eager to have found a concept that worked with my idealistic position at the time. I served as Art Grant Coordinator for a few years and with my Dad helped organize the event overall. And in 2010 I created the WickerMan Facebook group page to help organize the event. The planning team changed over the years but Kate Gille was an active member, serving as Theme Camp Coordinator amongst other roles. I genuinely loved working to help produce an event that brought a different element to Four Quarters.
My own life circumstances caused me to cease active participation in WickerMan, in 2013. I’ve since come back to do a season in the kitchen, or other small jobs, but largely, I’ve just been off into my own life, doing my own thing.
The last time I was tapped to do anything at Four Quarters came in October 2018, to cook for a wedding at the farm, for a couple that I hold personally dear. Kate Gille approached me at the wedding, expressing support of Four Quarters and casually asking me to give her admin access for the WickerManBurn facebook group that I had created so many years ago. Naturally, I didn’t think twice about it. After all, it had been years since I was an active planner and I instinctively wanted to hand that baton off to the person who had been (and presumably would be) actually helping to organize the event!
That night was a long one, breakdown and load-out of the kitchen superseded the entire conversation I’d had with Kate. I forgot to give her admin status. She reminded me on Christmas Eve via text. I obliged, I removed myself as admin, and instated her.
The events that followed have been so horrible that I really struggle to write this, as the actors in this situation are very ones that I trusted, or so I thought.
Not two days went by before the hijack scheme unfolded. All Four Quarters board members were locked out of the WickerMan FB page, the event’s audience was essentially hijacked from the people that created it. Patricia Althouse and Kate Gille immediately formed a corporation to front the hijack.
I literally, unwittingly gave them the tools to do this. I never could have conceived this result from what I perceived to be a perfunctory and sensible request. I’ll now bring this discourse back to my first point- I am not a part, I am in between.
I suddenly found myself in a situation where I was caught up amidst a coupe attempt instigated by trusted persons against the organization that is the rightful owner of the event, and also happens to be my personal family and home.
I do not have the words to describe the impact that this has made upon me, the community, and the relationships that are personally at stake in this.
The same people that served as parents, mentors, friends and comrades are the same ones to use me to steal from my home and family. The same home and family that gave them so much.
I am not a part, I am in between.
In between is a cold place where our crusts get crustier and we get harder, despite our needs for softness, acceptance, love and safety. As long as I lived under my family’s vows to the church, to communal living and general poverty, I’ve had to make my sacrifices in alignment with theirs.
The ones who walked amongst us, pretending, waiting to strike, are the ones who were welcomed with open arms. They were given as much as any of us, and they used it ultimately against the ones who, at the core, gave the most.
My heart hurts, and it is heavy, but I know that the culture of love ingrained in me will show me to peace. Even if I am to be in-between.
Let the way be open.
From about 2003 through 2008 Orren Whiddon and Patricia Althouse were the legal guardians of Ariel Alexander.
In 2010 Ariel created the WickerManBurn FaceBook group page to benefit Four Quarters, and she retained ownership of that page until very recently.
Oct 20 2018 At a church wedding at which Ariel was Head Chef, Kate Gille aka “Capt.Rose” approached Ariel about transferring OWNER status of the WickerManBurn GROUP page to Kate. Kate was positive and supportive of Four Quarters to Ariel. Ariel was also approached and in conversation with Patricia Althouse.
Dec 20 2018 Kate Gille reminds Ariel of Kate’s ownership request via text message
Dec 26 2018 Kate Gille again reminds Ariel via text message. Ariel transfers OWNER status to K. Gille.
Immediately Four Quarters InterFaith’s Board of Directors are removed as ADMINs of this FaceBook page.
Dec 27 2018 17:39:49z WICKERFAM.ORG registered by unknown
Dec 28 2018 8:03pm William Van Meter announces hijack of WickerManBurn FB GROUP page, on the GROUP page. W. Van Meter posts URL link to WICKERFAM.ORG on the WickerMan Burn FB GROUP page
Jan 1 2019 00:32:59z STONECIRCLECOUNCIL.ORG registered by unknown
Jan 2 2019 Kate Gille and Patricia Althouse incorporate STONE CIRCLE COUNCIL LLC; as a for profit Pennsylvania stock corporation.
About Jan 2, 2019 the WickerMan Burn FB group page’s title is changed to “WickerFamily Burn.” WickerFamily and WickerFam are names used in the past by Four Quarters InterFaith on event pages associated with the WickerMan Burn FB group page.
Jan 3 2019 Kate Gille and Patricia Althouse announce their joint ADMIN of the STONECIRCLECOUNCIL.ORG web site.
They announce the sale of event registrations for “WickerFamily Burn” through their PA LLC corporation. Notices of this intent are cross-posted on the hijacked WickerManBurn Facebook group page.
Jan 8 2019 Four Quarters InterFaith files suit in Bedford court to regain control of the WickerMan Burn Facebook group page and to prevent use of it’s trademark names. Named as defendants are:
Kate Gille, William Van Meter and Joshua Powell.
The Court is presented with screen captures of the hijack that are later deleted from the hijacked Facebook group page.
The court is presented with affidavits including Ariel’s.
Petition for Emergency Relief
Jan 10 2019 Patricia Althouse and Kate Gille PA LLC incorporation papers become publicly available.
Jan 18 2019 Trademark case moved to PA Federal Court.
Feb 2019 Kate Gille and others announce “Summer Isle Burn.”
Mar 15 2019 Case settled and Court order forbidding any use by Kate Gille and others of “WickerMan Burn” and derivative names.
2019-03-11 Full and Final Settlement Agreement FINAL