Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Psychic Theft

While there are sincere people in the world who manage to make a living employing psychic abilities, stories like this one give a lot of credence to the notion that a significant percentage of those who claim such powers are little more than hucksters looking for a quick buck. A psychic working in Palmdale, California has been arrested and charged with convincing a 12-year-old girl to steal $10,000 worth of jewelry for her in exchange for lifting a curse that the psychic claimed had been placed on the girl's family.

Jackeline Lopez is accused of convincing the girl that horrible things would happen to her -- and her family -- if the so-called curse was not removed, Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said. Lopez told the girl that she could remove the spell for a monetary price, officials added.

Over the course of a month, Lopez encouraged the girl to bring jewelry from her parents' home in order to perform a ritual, officials said, adding that Lopez continually claimed the amount provided was not enough to remove the curse.

"Lopez allegedly conducted these psychic readings in her home's garage which she had decorated with numerous candles, chalk outlines, black caldrons, replicated human skulls, beads, dolls, and other similar items consistent with psychic readings," sheriff's officials said in a news release.

Eventually, the girl's parents noticed the missing jewelry and confronted her about it.

Lopez was arrested on charges of extortion and booked on $35,000 bail.

There are two big red flags here, which is probably why the victim of this scam is only twelve years old. First of all, there's no evidence whatsoever that prior to the diagnosis of the "curse" the girl and her family encountered any sort of unusual misfortune. Second of all, if a twelve-year-old girl came to me terrified that a curse had been placed on her I might just go ahead and perform a ritual to counter it for free, or at most charge an hourly rate similar to what I charge my IT consulting customers. It certainly would come to a lot less than $10,000.

After all, it's not like the spirits need the money. But apparently this confidence artist did.

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