BUCHAREST, Romania — There’s more bad
news in the cards for Romania’s beleaguered witches.
A month after Romanian authorities
began taxing them for their trade, the country’s soothsayers and fortune
tellers are cursing a new bill that threatens fines or even prison if their
predictions don’t come true.
Witches argue they shouldn’t be
blamed for the failure of their tools.
“They can’t condemn witches,
they should condemn the cards,” Queen witch Bratara Buzea said.
Superstition is a serious matter in
the land of Dracula, and officials have turned to witches to help the
recession-hit country collect more money and crack down on tax evasion.
In January, officials changed
labour laws to officially recognize the centuries-old practice as a taxable
profession, prompting angry witches to dump poisonous mandrake into the Danube
in an attempt to put a hex on the government.
The new draft bill passed in the
Senate last week.
It still must be approved by a
financial and labour committee and by Romania’s Chamber of Deputies, the other
house of Romania’s parliament.
Bratara called the proposed bill
overblown. “I will fight until my last breath for this not to be
passed,” she said.
Sometimes, she argued, people don’t
provide their real identities, dates of birth or other personal details, which
could skew a seer’s predictions.
“What about when the client
gives false details about themselves? We can’t be blamed for that,” she
The bill would also require witches
to have a permit, to provide their customers with receipts and bar them from
practicing near schools and churches.