Salem: Curse victims, meet Adam Smith

Fatima’s: rates vary.
Jonathan Wiggs/Globe staff
Fatima’s: rates vary.

Have you been struck down by a malevolent curse? Unfortunately, you may have to go out of state to get that vexing hex lifted. As the Globe’s Billy Baker recently reported, police cracked down on Fatima’s, a psychic studio in Salem, in October for charging exorbitant fees for removing curses from clients. According to a Salem town ordinance and Massachusetts state law, mediums are only allowed to read the past and see the future. The casting or removal of curses is not covered by their license.

The fracas began when a tourist named Ryan Reid allegedly paid a medium at Fatima’s over $16,000 to remove a curse that had been placed on him. Salem police became involved when Reid made a formal complaint claiming the psychic had defrauded him. Yet it’s hard to imagine a scientific standard that justifies letting mediums peer into the future but not remove curses. To be sure, $16,000 seems like a stiff price, but the law makes it difficult for curse victims to shop around. Allow more mediums to get into the business legally, and it’s safe to predict that costs will come down.