The Romanian government has changed its labour laws, and in doing so has added a number of professions which weren't previously recognised but which are now subject to tax. Car valets, embalmers and driving instructors are unhappy to be added, but their protests aren't likely to be as scary as those of the...witches
Romanian witches are now regarded as self-employed, and subject to income tax and health and pension payments. Rather than marching or writing stern letters, they have threatened to curse the government, throw poisonous mandrake
plants into the River Danube, and conjure spells using cat faeces and a dead dog.
This isn't the first time recently that witchcraft has figured in Romanian politics: when Mircea Geoana lost the presidential race in 2009, he blamed supernatural interference
: "People who were working for Basescu in this domain were present to the right of the camera [during a TV debate]" Mr Geoana told local television. Mr Geoana was mocked in the press for being a bad loser, but the subsequent publication of photos showing a well-known clairvoyant and parapsychologist
(whose specialities are said to include deep mind control, clairvoyance, and hypnotic trance
) in the President's close company throughout the campaign. The President and his aides have also been known 'to wear purple on certain days in an attempt to ward off evil
In 2007 a judge was alleged to have attempted to cast spells on court staff, other judges and prosecutors
. She was relieved of her position as court president and had her salary reduced for three months (although it's less clear how much of this was due to sorcery and how much to 'misplacing an important document'.
Not all witches are upset about the change, though. Gabriela Ciucur lobbied the government for professional recognition, and has become the first
to officially register a company dealing with 'astrology and contacts with the spiritual world'.