If you’re a regular Banter reader, you might have noticed our story, “That Which Will Not Go Away,” aka “10 OkCupid Profile 'Don’ts' to Heed If You Actually Want to Get Laid,” in our trending stories sidebar for lo several months now. But you’re probably unaware that the comments section of the story has been blitzkrieged by spambots probing for valid email addresses with promises of romantic reconciliation with lovers who have cast you aside. I.e., love potions.
The bots’ “comments” often begin like comments from regular people, who naturally find the need to point out that they are “From USA”:
“I am Miss JENNIFER from USA, I promise to share this testimony all over the world once my boyfriend return back to me, and today with all due respect i want to thank Dr.ehizojlespiritualfor bringing joy and happiness to my relationship and my family. I want to inform you all that there is a spell caster that is real and genuine. I never believed in any of these things until i loosed my boyfriend, I required help until i found Dr.email@example.com A great spell caster, And he cast a love spell for me, and he assured me that I will get my boyfriend back in just 24hours after the spell has been cast. 24hours later, my phone rang, and so shockingly, it was my boyfriend who has not called me for past 3 years now, and made an apology for the heart break, and told me that he is ready to be my back bone till the rest of his life with me.”
Most of the spammy comments are just like this, except for one that also promises to cure AIDS...
Do people actually sell this crap or are the bots just looking for email addresses? Although most articles I read about spambots are several years old at this point, it appears that even though click-throughs are extremely low, spamming is so easy and nearly free that it’s worth whatever small amount of money can be made by annoying everyone on the Internet.
Research also revealed that there is a good amount of love-potion-related commercial content around.
In a column for Ugandan newspaper The Observer, Carolyne Nakazibwe offers two cautionary tales about love spells, one about a college girl seeking to stop her man from running around. She’s advised to cut off some pubes and brew them in a tea. She serves the tea to her unwitting lover and hilarity ensues:
“When he removed the flask lid, alas! There they were; roasted, yes, but still curly and locky as all African pubes come, floating on top of the milk! I still feel goose bumps when I imagine that girl’s embarrassment! From a relationship that was working like clockwork, to the door slamming hard against her butt as the boyfriend threw her out.”
At least the college student fared better than Nakazibwe’s second example, a woman who received a “thunderous beating” when her husband found leaves she was planning to stuff into her vagina before they had sex.
“Interestingly, [these practices] are no longer about level of education or exposure,” she concludes. “You will be surprised at the number of men and women in the so-called corporate offices who spend their days off in shrines because they want to hook this guy or that chick, or make their spouses love them and desire them, or even make the boss promote them!
Women are ‘marinating’ their meats with menstrual blood for sex solutions; others are boiling used pads with the broth before serving at mealtime. Many weird things by the way… Don’t be shocked when you find half your wardrobe in a witchdoctor’s shrine in a desperate attempt to make a manipulative marriage work.”
I’m pretty sure I don’t know anyone who is preparing menstrual marinades, but there is still evidently a Western market for love spells and potions. In fact, as of Aug. 30, 2012, eBay banned “magikal” wares from its pages. According to eBay’s revised TOS, “The following items are also being added to the prohibited items list: advice; spells; curses; hexing; conjuring; magic; prayers; blessing services; magic potions; healing sessions; work from home businesses & information; wholesale lists, and drop shop lists.”
The ban did cause some to wonder whether the new rules could be construed as discriminatory against Wiccans, but even most Wiccans and pagans didn’t seem terribly concerned about it. In a witchcraft forum, one user wrote on a message board, “This is simply a good business decision to prevent people from being conned and then trying to recoup when they don't feel they get $200 worth of 'male enhancement' from a 'male enhancement spell.' It is an equal opportunity policy--Christian prayers are equally as banned as 'pagan' spells.”
I searched eBay for “holy water” and got more than 3,000 results, however.
But “love spells” generated a lot of listings also.
For a mere $7, you can receive Seduction Passion Oil Love Attraction Spell Hoodoo Conjure Wicca Witchcraft, which you can put a few drops in the tub or anoint your altar with. Listed under the Wicca and Pagan ebay subcategory “incense herbs and oils,” the seller includes a legal disclaimer that the oil is “sold as a curio only.”
Other sellers, however, such as Ohaus2014 from Greece, are more bold. Hawking a “Powerful Black Magic Love Spell,” ohaus promises, “Do not be lonely another night. Let me help you receive what you deserve. I have been practicing the craft for many years, my spells are powerful. I have been offering my services on ebay for many years after some time off I'm back! With a vengence. I care about you and your needs.”
Ohaus’s legal disclaimer is similar to others’ among his love-for-sale eBay brethren, stating that bidders must be 18 years old and that the spell is for entertainment purposes only. After the disclaimer, however, ohaus adds “My services do not require consultations first quite simply because my black magic spells can and WILL change and transform your situation, black magic can transform any circumstances.”
Other sellers, such as that of this Magickal talisman, adhere to the letter of the law while violating the spirit of it, to use a well-worn phrase:
"In order to comply with Trading Law, we are obliged to state that this item is for decorative or entertainment purposes only, and any claims as to any other attributes cannot be substantiated...though your own experience may well differ!”
And still others don’t bother with the disclaimer at all.
Do a little more digging online and you can force people to love you for mere pennies, however.
One spell recipe I found has the light-hearted name Love Me or Die: A Jack Ball to Goofer a Man for Love. If you already have a John the Conqueror root lying around, all you need is to order some “Goofer dust,” or graveyard dirt, and you’re good to go.
Mix your hair and his in a slit you’ve made in a root (which symbolizes the vagina), then soak it with your urine. (For more instructions, click the link.) The “influence sachet powders,” are $5 plus $10 for shipping. As the name implies, the target will either love you or become extremely ill; but in the latter case, you get to nurse him or her back to health. Everyone wins! Well, you do, anyway.
Before you run out and start collecting roots to pee on to make others love you, be aware of some love potion etiquette. Lucky Mojo users explain in one interesting thread that trying to lure a straight person into a gay relationship with you could be construed as rape.
If you’re certain that your target is attracted to whatever sex you are, balm of gilead is said to be helpful when sprinkled into the four corners of your bedroom to bring “peace to the home” and end marital and sexual problems.
Spikenard is said to have similar powers.
In the “make someone think of you” forum, users explain how to make a picture box. The process involves creepily printing out the photos of your love target and glueing them together to make a little ornament to hang in a Mason jar, which you then surround with alluring photos of yourself.
Another option is to put a “doll baby” in a box with pictures of yourself. One forum poster adds that alternatively, you can stash the doll baby in your underwear and wear your spell all the livelong day. Presumably, it’s best to choose a small doll baby for this purpose.
Lucky Mojo also offers detailed instruction on how to make Honey jars to attract love and harmony.
Surprisingly, you can even cast a sugar spell to help secure Section 8 housing:
“Because there are no down-home or old timey hoodoo spells for getting HUD, HUD-VASH, or Section 8 Housing, some modern workers advise clients to treat these cases the same as for anyone wanting to move in to a new apartment or house. However, there is an additional issue, namely the bureaucracy and red tape associated with governmental assistance -- and we do have a hoodoo heritage of spells for breaking through governmental and bureaucratic logjams. In doing this work, you will call upon God's help and ask for compassion from specific people, in an attempt to get someone at the housing agency to act on your behalf.”
Stop laughing – this might be our answer if rental rates continue to skyrocket.