An Israeli man claiming to have mystical powers has been accused of tricking a client into giving him sexual favors and money while claiming to cast spells making her ex-lover return.
According to a story in the Jerusalem Post, "the woman found the 39-year-old Golan Heights resident on the Internet and asked him to help her with holistic treatment to recover from emotional despair caused by the break-up.
"Over the coming months the man held a number of meetings with the woman, during which he promised that through the power of sorcery he could make her boyfriend come back to her - all while charging her thousands of shekels in fees."
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One of the rituals allegedly required the woman to have sex with the man, which she did. Neither the woman nor the sorcerer she hired have been named, and police are looking for additional victims.
As bizarre as this situation is, it's not unusual.
Just last year two women accused Karl Lang, a British psychic, of sexual exploitation, one saying that he tricked her into stripping naked during a séance and performing "like a porn star" in exchange for a promise that she could contact her dead grandfather. A second victim claimed that Lang convinced her that her dead father was communicating with him, encouraging her to undress and masturbate to improve her psychic powers.
She said that she felt "brainwashed, manipulated and groomed" by the alleged psychic. In June 2012 Lang was convicted of a dozen counts of causing women to engage in sexual activity without consent and sentenced to two years in jail.
Recipe for Exploitation When those in authority claim to have unproven, special powers and give messages from the dead to vulnerable and grieving people, it's a recipe for manipulation. Even when the exploitation isn't sexual, it can be financial and emotional - and anyone can be a victim, even the rich and famous.
Best-selling romance author Jude Deveraux, for example, recently testified against her one-time psychic adviser Rose Marks, who she turned to when anxious and depressed over her divorce 17 years ago.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, "Marks is fighting federal charges she masterminded a conspiracy that defrauded clients to the tune of $25 million, including about $17 million from the writer. ‘She said money is energy and money is evil and if I had money in my bank account, I was attracting evil,' Deveraux said.
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During this time, Deveraux's 8-year-old son died in an ATV motorcycle accident, and she testified that she had eight miscarriages and suffered through a messy divorce, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
Even more disturbingly, Deveraux claims that after her son's death in 2005, Marks "tormented her with claims that the child had not gone to heaven and that Marks could transfer the child's soul or spirit into the body of another person, reuniting mother and son. ‘She said all she saw were flames and I had to keep him out of the flames,' Deveraux testified."
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In essence, the psychic claimed she could keep Deveraux's son out of hell - for a fee. Marks and others are being tried in Fort Lauderdale on federal charges of fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and income tax fraud. The case is ongoing.
Psychics know grieving people are very generous when they believe they're getting personal, reassuring messages from dead loved ones. Sometimes psychics will refuse payment outright, instead suggesting that "donations" or "offerings" be made to their churches or other organizations. Or they will request jewelry or large sums of cash, which they promise will be returned after a ritual or "cleansing."
Though many psychics advertise their services "for entertainment only," many of their clients take their advice seriously - and wish they had not.