(ECNS) -- A number of online shops are touting magical powers such as offering curses, casting spells and making voodoo dolls, reported Beijing Youth Daily.
Shop owners often claim they are Taoist priests or Buddhist masters and charge from 20 yuan ($1.50) to 2,000 yuan for one product or service. Buyers are asked to provide a targeted person's birthday, name or picture.
A self-claimed master from Hong Kong offers a wide range of services such as breaking up a relationship or getting back money owed and making someone sleepless. His voodoo dolls were said to ward off villains and bring good luck to the buyer within 49 days. Data showed 1,115 monthly deals via his shop.
Another seller who depicts himself as a Taoist priest in Guizhou Province said he can cast spells on mistresses to end extra-marital relationships. He promised to exert his magic power on a chosen d day, make a video recording and send it to the buyer.
The service is priced at 198 yuan. If it fails to exhort the woman to leave a married man, the priest said he would return the payment.
One comment left on the online shop page said, "it's embarrassing to set fire to the charm in the office because it smelt like burning and my colleagues thought me abnormal."
It's hard to know if the message was authentic as some online shops used fake deals to cheat consumers.
Xiao Rao, a professor of sociology at Sichuan Administration College, said laying a curse on someone is not a practice of Taoism but instead witchcraft without any scientific foundation. The purchase of such online supernatural services is just one sort of psychological comfort, he added.