Most countries don’t view the occult as a potential government revenue source, but then again, Romania isn’t most countries.
The land that gave us Vlad the Impaler and his fictional descendent, Count Dracula, has always seemed to border Hungary and Serbia on one side and the Astral Plane on the other. If you follow Romanian politics–and who doesn’t?–you’re probably still fascinated with Romanian Presidential runner-up Mircea Geoana’s accusations in January that President Traian Basescu won reelection by subjecting Geoana to a telepathic “negative energy attack” that disrupted his concentration during a key debate. Before you laugh, there’s evidence that the winning candidate may have employed a consultant whose skills reportedly include mind control, clairvoyance and hypnosis. As the Associated Press reported:
...the recent publication of photos showing well-known parapsychologist Alidor Manolea close to Basescu during the campaign has caused Romanians to wonder whether the President really did put a hex on his rival. The photos show Manolea, a slightly built, bearded man with a round face and cropped receding hair, walking yards behind Basescu ahead of the debate.
You’d figure that with magic being such a potent force in electoral politics, seers and sorcerers would get preferential treatment from the officials that they may be helping to put in office. But instead, the occultists may need to form their own version of the Tea Party. In January, the Romanian government changed labor laws, officially recognizing witchcraft as a taxable profession. And now, the AP reports that the Romanian Senate has passed a bill that would threaten soothsayers with fines and even jail time if their prophecies don’t pan out as promised.
Romania’s witches, who’ve already put a hex on the government by dumping mandrake root into the Danube, are even more outraged by this latest attempt to rein in their otherworldly activities. “Queen Witch” Bratara Buzea, the apparent head of the ethereal fraternity, told the AP that she would fight “to my last breath” to prevent the law from being promulgated. She insisted that soothsayers’ miscues are caused not by human error, but by faulty equipment.
“They can’t condemn witches, they should condemn the cards,” she complained. Additionally, she claimed, the fault sometimes belongs to the clients, who sometimes are reluctant to reveal their identities or needed personal information. “What about when clients give false information about themselves?” she challenged. “We can’t be blamed for that.”
Other provisions of the proposed law would require witches to have a permit and to provide their customers with receipts. They also would be barred from practicing near schools and churches.