Ding Dong the … Oh, Never Mind

Whoa whoa whoa it's magic, I know, never believe it's not so ...
Whoa whoa whoa it’s magic, I know, never believe it’s not so …
If you click this link it will take you to a list of scientific discoveries. Like any list it’s more of a conversation starter than immutable dictum. I found it a little too Eurocentric, but that’s not the point. The point is that, without much effort, they were able to assemble a list celebrating rational thought, research and the human spirit. All things that seem more and more like after thoughts these days. Robert Heinlein once opined that in the 1920’s astrologers and psychics were, at best, oddities and lived on the fringe. By the 1960’s people were asking him his sign and seriously using this bit of useless knowledge to make judgments on what type of person he was. There are apocryphal reports that he would reply “Not an idiot” when asked. Which is a very good reply in my book. Anyway one would think that, by now, people would have put the superstitions of their youth behind them. You would be wrong but you could be forgiven got thinking so. A while back I wrote about how James Fox, a scam artist and charlatan, offered $100,000 to anyone who could prove they had alien technology. This generous offer blithely ignores the fact that any possessor of true alien tech would be a billionaire. Of course he also offered to sell you his DVD that proves that aliens exist. One is funny because the evidence that he’s wrong is actually an integral part of his last cinematic effort. In case it gets confusing, just remember the phrase “human DNA” and you’ll be fine. Alien life wouldn’t be blessed with that particular anomaly. That’s why it would be alien.

But, while I can understand why the uneducated might think the lights in the sky are from Alpha Centauri, I am completely baffled by people like guy who paid for a soul cleansing at Wal Mart.

Yes, you read that right.

They said they’d cleanse his soul, but instead they just cleaned him out.

According to KOAT, a Santa Fe, N.M., man was leaving Walmart when three “witches” approached him and offered to cleanse his soul of a dark spirit that was following him.

Amazingly, the man went for their offer and followed the women to a white van, where he turned over jewelry and cash after they allegedly told him that money was the root of his problems. The man even went so far as to cash a $500 check at the Walmart, then return the money to the women, whom he said tore it up and kept it.

“At one time or another we are all gullible, but that was a little over the top,” Walmart shopper Joy Dale told KOAT.

The supposed cleanse must not have worked, because the victim of the scam reported the incident to police a few days later. The women were traced to a hotel, where they said the man had voluntarily given them the jewelry. There was no cash. Police returned the jewelry to the owner, but couldn’t charge the women because they hadn’t technically committed a crime.

Although most people would spot a scam like this a mile away, other people have used fear of demonic possession as a way of exorcising money from the purses of believers.

In 2011, a New York artist began selling $197 pendants to ward off demons that possess pets. She claimed to have designed the charm after her pet poodle became inhabited by an evil spirit.

Sadly, tales of demonic possession have turned deadly in the past. In 2012, a man and his family were convicted of killing a six-months pregnant English woman because they thought she was possessed by a demon.

According to prosecutors, Mohammed Mumtaz told police that his wife “started to grab her own face and was screaming in anger… [then] suffocated herself by putting her hand in her mouth and she tried to strangle herself.”

The jury did not believe that the woman had killed herself, and found Mumtaz, his parents, and his brother guilty of murder.

Believe it or not, even though we have a socialist Muslim president, it is still not illegal to just randomly do stupid things with your money. Although I have long posited that if we did make that illegal and made pot legal the whole economy would right itself in 3 weeks.

And I don’t smoke pot, that’s how you know it’s a good idea.

Now the above story is slightly different than the below. What Stephanie Thompson did was malicious and illegal. Even in Florida.

This just keeps happening again and again. This week, Boca Raton Police tossed the cuffs on another psychic accused to using her connection to the spirit realm to line her pockets with cash. Stephanie Thompson — who did her cosmic business under the name Stephanie Lee — had a plan of attack that was so textbook, it’s like reading a primer on psychic scams.

According to the Palm Beach Post, Lee first met her victim in May 2012 at the Psychic Tea Room on North Federal Highway in Boca. Below we’ve broken Thompson’s scam down into the familiar particulars.

The Curse. Thompson sank the hook into her client by announcing that the woman was cursed and that she’d need $2,000 to complete the psychic work necessary to smash the spell.

Shhhhh. The psychic then allegedly kept asking the woman for more money for the work. She also told the victim not to tell anyone else about the payments. Spreading the word would ruin everything, the psychic said.

You’ll Get It Back, No Worries. Besides, the sales pitch went, the psychic was just going to pray over the money and give it back to the victim. Once this was all over — the curse broken and happiness restored — the victim would have the money back.

The Cancer. Oh, but if the woman didn’t hand over the money, she might get the same cancer that befell her mother, the psychic promised, not only sinking that hook but twisting it a couple of times to prove the point.

In the end, the victim allegedly forked over somewhere in the neighborhood of $108,000. Thompson is being charged with grand theft and organized fraud. The 23-year-old psychic reportedly told police she lost the money at a casino (Peanut gallery: NOT VERY GOOD AT PREDICTING THINGS, RIGHT? RIGHT?).

One thing we’d like to point out here is that a year or so ago, very few psychic scams ever made it inside a courtroom. In part, this was due to the hurtles prosecutors faced — in the end, this is a crime in which the victim willingly handed over the money. But since the prosecution of Rose Marks, not to mention increased attention to the trend, more psychic cases are going to court.

Another problem is that people who believe in psychics don’t believe they’ve been conned. They naturally assume they did something wrong. And those rare ones who do realize they’ve been had often hate being humiliated in court.

This next con is actually impressive. It has been going on for years, is clearly financial fraud on an epic scale and this dude still walks among us right here in Chicago.

Say hi to the Ed Hubbard With School.

Witch School AKA Ed Hubbard Witch School, The cons and scams of Ed Hubbard Chicago, Hoopstown, Illinois Illinois

Witch School actually does have a valid teaching program for those interested in Wicca and the craft, it is the management that uses the good faith of students to solicit illicit gain. Here are a few points of fact.

Witch School owner, Ed Hubbard placed Witch School for sale on eBay in 2007. He became irate when it was suggested that he would not go through with the sale and that it was a sham. Several days later he stated that his computer crashed and prevented the sale never explaining how his computer mishap affected eBay’s servers. According to eBay the sale was pulled by the lister.

The real reason for the phony eBay sale came to light shortly thereafter in early 2008. After causing considerable concern among students who had purchased a “lifetime” membership Ed announced there was another way. He would incorporate and sell shares, which he did with great success. As of yet no one has received a dime in dividends and holders promised a buyback are still waiting. Stock reports have not been published for years.

Ed then tried to re-incorporate as non-profit. When he learned that would not relieve his financial misdeeds of the past the plan was dropped.

Ed’s next plan was to exploit a small group of young women in what he called the “Young Witches Project” or “Young Witches of Salem”. The young women worked for little or no pay, were forced by circumstance to live in less than suitable conditions and even work other jobs to help support the project. All the time being fed a series of lies by Ed Hubbard concerning interested producers and writers, along with movie and television companies promising big money just around the corner. Of course there were none.

Ed Hubbard says his latest project will cost $20.000 and he already claims to have collected half of that from donations. It is a book he wishes to put together although true to character he will not actually write any of it. He is looking for authors to donate all of that as well. Some of us know that Amazon has a company called “Create Space” that allows you to publish a book at little or no cost. I wonder what will happen to the rest of the donations and if we will in fact even see a book.

Ed Hubbard has recently announced his retirement as CEO of Witch School. This is more than likely to install a “Fall Guy” in that position while Ed retains the leadership.

Okay, let’s count the myriad problems with this story;

(1) No actual charges have been filed although I counted, at least, a dozen violations of the law, the least of which was the stuff with the money.
(2) The author has been a willing, if angry, participant since the beginning.
(3) Someone actually believed there was a school for witches in Chicago. Because nothing says “getting in touch with nature” like a day at the Willis Tower.
(4) While the address of the witch school mentions Hoopstown, a quick search there is no such town or neighborhood in Illinois. There is a Hoopestown, which is in east central Illinois and has nothing to do with witches. Or basketball for that matter.

In other words, had these bright and beautiful leaders of the future Wiccan movement spent 10 minutes of research they could have avoided this whole mess.

Joint Fighter Wing Strike Witches Ki AMV NSFW from Al Eclumie on Vimeo.

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