Long-Time Ban on Magic Arts, Fortunetelling Splits Va. Town

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Northern Virginia reporter David Culver reports on city leaders' efforts to remove a decades-old ban on witchcraft and fortune-telling practices in Front Royal. (Published Thursday, Aug 21, 2014)

    A heated debate is brewing in a quaint Northern Virginia town, where many residents worry striking down an archaic law banning magic arts and fortunetelling could expose the area to crime and corruption.

    For decades, the town of Front Royal has had a code listed among its ordinances that bans  fortunetelling and the practice of magic arts. Understandably, the ban's legality and use of offensive terms like "gypsies" has come under fire.

    More than 50 supporters and opponents showed up at a hearing last week to voice their concerns, after a local tarot card reader was allegedly asked to stop practicing her craft because it violates city code.

    The town council voted to remove the section of the code that prohibits fortunetelling and the use of offensive terms, but a second reading of the motion will be heard at their next meeting. 

    Despite recent plans to repeal the ban, many in the small town are calling for it to stay in place "out of fear" of harboring "Satanism," the Northern Virginia Daily reported.

    Some residents, like Mary Stanford, think striking down the law would bring chaos and crime to the small town. Stanford said she chose to live in Front Royal to keep her kids from these so-called temptations.

    "These kinds of businesses do tend to attract, in part, a criminal element," Stanford said. "I don't like the idea of my kids walking down Main Street and having possibly criminal people lurking around."

    During a recent work session, the council also discussed making changes to a code that requires fortunetelling businesses to pay a fee with their business licenses. The fee is currently $400.