While the town is studied in history classes for its witch hunts during the 17th century, the presence of witches and warlocks is still a contentious issue in Salem, Massachusetts.
Local law enforcement authorities have lately been focusing on Fatima’s, a Salem psychic center that charges money to remove what it believes to be curses. The police have been investigating Fatima’s for fraud simply because it believes in curses. Because most of the other Wiccan communities and psychic centers in the city do not believe in curses, they have not been targeted.
An individual named Ryan Reid from West Henrietta, N.Y., initially alerted the authorities of Fatima’s fraudulence, claiming that he spent $16,800 for a “shield” that would remove his curse. Police investigated the shop and found that its fortune-teller license had expired, so they forced it to close. The city’s licensing board has since allowed the shop to reopen for the remainder of the year, provided they do not use curses as a portion of their business.
The controversy surrounding Fatima’s has pitted those of the fortune-telling community against law enforcement.
Christian Day, the owner of two Salem witch shops, claimed that other religious figures should be punished for doing the same thing as Fatima's. “If they’re a fraud, then we’re all frauds, and all religion is a fraud. They’re not regulating the priest who absolves you of your sins and tells you to put some money in the collection basket, or the old lady who sends all her money to Pat Robertson. They pick on us for one reason: They’re afraid of us. They’ve always been afraid of us,” Day told The Boston Globe.
Other members of the fortune-telling community, however, were glad to see Fatima’s temporarily closed down.
“What I do is read people’s energy. What they do is charge thousands of dollars for sea glass to read a curse. They prey on people who are weak, and they make us all look like frauds,” local fortune teller Timothy Reagan told The Boston Globe.