Elwood "Bunky" Bartlett holds one of four winning tickets for the Mega Millions lottery. "Bunky" credits his study of Wicca and his practice of Reiki (RAY'kee) healing for his good luck. He bought the winning ticket on his way to a New Age bookstore.
Bartlett met with reporters at the Mystickal Voyage New Age shop in Nottingham, Maryland where he, together with his wife Denise, often teach Wicca and perform Reiki healings.
He and Denise had been on their way to shop at the book store when they decided to visit their local liquor store first. They purchased two $5.00 Mega Millions lottery tickets, one of which ended up containing the winning numbers of 8, 18, 22, 40 and 44 - and the Mega Ball number - 11. Bunky's odds in winning? An astonishing one in 176 Million.
The additional 3 winning tickets were sold in New Jersey, Texas and Virginia. The other winners have yet come forward, and lottery officials have not confirmed the validity of Bartlett's ticket.
"There's no reason to believe it's not legitimate, but it has to go through security," said Maryland State Lottery Director Buddy Roogow.
Barlett stated that he had made a deal with the multiple god's associated with his Wiccan beliefs, and firmly believes that is why he won.
"You let me win the lottery and I'll teach." he said.
He hasn't decided whether he will take his winnings in one lump sum, which would net him approximately $32 million after taxes, or spread it out, which would set him up for $82 million if the prize were taken in 26 annual payments.
Bartlett said the money won't change him, although he plans to invest in Mystickal Voyage. "I'm going to live my life like I have been," he said.
If estimates of the payout hold true, it would be the 4th largest jackpot in lottery history.