The ire of the world's witches, warlocks, and other practicers of the psychic arts will be focused on eBay shortly, after the company banned a range of intangible mystic items from its site.
According to the Fall Seller Update, from September "advice; spells; curses; hexing; conjuring; magic; prayers; blessing services; magic potions; healing sessions" won't be listed for auction. The sale of potions, providing remote Tarot readings and online faith healing are also facing the chop.
Considering some of the claims made by those offering such services eBay could be in for a rough ride. A quick scan shows the majority of the spells on offer involve either the making or breaking of love, which might give the marketing department a hard time. Others offer vampyric transformation, which could cause problems for HR in setting work schedules.
Others, like a Magus called Aries who claims he is "trained in many forms of Extreme Dark Magic, Divination, Occultism, and Forbidden Ritual," promises "Break-ups, Glamour, Hexes, Infidelity, Lust, Power, Revenge, Sex, Wealth, And So Much MORE!!", which is a pretty inclusive list that might cause John Donahoe and the eBay board some worries. Given the price tag of $6.66 for such awesome power, however, maybe they shouldn't worry too much.
Even as powerful a figure as Aries does, however, have to include a disclaimer for his services. "Law requires me to state that this is for entertainment purposes only. Metaphysical and paranormal services have not been scientifically proven. All sales are final! No refunds!" he helpfully notes, as do almost all advertisers of such arts.
Lest you think this is some kind of a crusade against the fairy folk on eBay's behalf, the sale of some occult materials will be allowed, regardless of their efficacy.
"It's important to note that items that have a tangible value for the item itself and may also be used in metaphysical rites and practices [i.e. jewelry, crystals, incense, candles, and books] are allowed in most cases,” eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff told the Los Angeles Times.
It's easy to mock such beliefs (and a surprising amount of fun) but living in California has taught this El Reg hack that there are plenty of people who believe in this stuff and are willing to pay for it. Maybe eBay has decided that these sellers are more trouble than they are worth, but they look likely to migrate to other areas of the web. ®