Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble no more on eBay after August 30th.
Sales of all potions, psychic readings, voodoo dolls and “powerful money and wealth” spells will no longer be sold by eBay.com, the online auction and shopping website founded in 1995, one of the most noted success stories of the original dot-com era and a multi-billion dollar global business.
Gone, gone, gone will be a “magical demon destroyer potion” ($51), “Windfall Money Riches Fortune Gambling Good Luck Spell” ($8.99), a “djinn genie potion” ($14.97), “powerful spell of vampire transformation” ($15.68), and the “powerful female succubus lover spell” ($24.99).
Any attempts (no matter their sphere of origin or personage) to sell items of this nature will be blocked, and by September 1, eBay.com will return to selling flatware, toys, garden supplies, and the other pedestrian paraphernalia of this planet.
Here's eBay’s statement about the decision:
We want customers to have great experiences on eBay, and we regularly review categories and update policies to deliver the best shopping and selling experience possible. Based on our long-standing policy restricting the sale of intangible items on eBay, we are discontinuing a small number of categories within the Metaphysical category, as transactions in these categories can be difficult to verify and resolve. We believe this update will enhance the experience on eBay and benefit our customers.
The news was delivered in the annual Fall Seller Update. A petition against the ban was quickly circulated, garnering thousands of signatures:
There are so many people that work so hard to do this everyday, and countless more people who depend on our services! For the few bad apples and problems ebay may have.... is a thousands even millions more successful and happy clients every day!
Ebay don't ban our metaphysical services! fight for the psychics and the tarot readers, the witches, wiccans, pagans, new age, healers, blessings, spells, voodoo, items of magic ++++++++ and most of all our clients and friends!
The new policy specifically bans sales of "advice, spells, curses, hexing, conjuring, magic services, prayers, blessings; Psychic, Tarot, Reiki, and other metaphysical readings & services; magic potions [and] healing sessions," while still allowing sale of energy crystals, Feng Shui items…and rosaries.
As eBay spokeswoman Johnna Hoff explained, "items that have a tangible value for the item itself and may also be used in metaphysical rites and practices (for instance, jewellery, crystals, incense, candles, and books) are allowed in most cases."
Protest is bubbling on eBay forums: "What is alarming now is that the blanket term of 'intangible item' is being used to ban actual items,” notes the petition’s creator. "What concerns me is your purposed selective enforcement of what you (eBay) terms 'intangible'. It seems you only have targeted those sellers who offer items of a certain occult or esoteric nature -- for instance, pagan beliefs and witchcraft."
Craft community Etsy recently issued its own ban on sales of items that include "human remains or body parts" including "things such as skulls, bones, articulated skeletons, bodily fluids, [and] preserved tissues or organs."
As for the larger issue, user stinky felix commented:
I think it is presumptuous to state that anyone whose communication may transcend our abilities is a liar. After all, wouldn't Moses and the prophets fit in that category?
For those left at the altar by eBay’s ban, Craigslist is still an option. Better yet, perhaps it's time to take conjuring into one’s own hands and invoke a Harry Potter enchantment, Prior Incantato, causing an echo of the last spell cast by a wand to emanate from it.