Melissa and Vanessa, two self-professed witches were detained in Romania on blackmail and extortion charges last week in a high-profile case involving a TV star and reportedly other public figures.
According to police spokesman Christian Ciocan the two witches approached public figures promising to help them overcome work or love difficulties, and help them break curses.
Christian Ciocan said witches Melissa and Vanessa initially charged very little, but then, as their victims became hooked on their services, increased their prices.
Police spokesman cited one case where the victim – who later publicly identified herself as TV star Oana Zavoranu – handed over 450,000 Euros ($630,000) in cash and property in exchange for spells.
Christian Ciocan said the witches practiced voodoo, and sacrificed animals in graveyards and near rivers, claiming this would protect Oana Zavoranu from her mother and in-laws who had put a curse on her.
The witches, however, claim Oana Zavoranu is being vengeful because she asked them to cast a spell on her mother that would kill her, but the mother is still alive.
It was also reported that the ex-wife of businessman Cristi Borcea, one of two owners of Romanian football team Dinamo Bucharest, was cited as a victim, but she has neither confirmed nor denied the case.
Christian Ciocan said if the victims tried to cease payment, the two women would threaten to put a spell on them, or disclose details of their personal lives.
Melissa and Vanessa were released last Wednesday, following a court ruling that they should not be detained awaiting trial.
The decision has been appealed today.
Romania has recently been trying to introduce legislation to limit witchcraft, as Member of Parliament Nicolae Paun, who represents the Roma, or Gypsies, said legislation must be enacted to stop what he called “backward practices”.
Generally, the self-professed witches in Romania are gypsies.