So some of you may remember that back in 2008 I wrote a handful of articles about Internet Spellcasters. For those unaware (or who have started reading my blog because of my comics or something), Internet Spellcasters are exactly what they sound like - people who set up websites and claim they will cast "spells" on your behalf for money. If your immediate thought is "well, that's an obvious scam," you've been given the gift of rational thought.
Now we can talk about how I got started trying to expose these people, and how because there are some articles on Wicca on my site some scam artist bozo ran ads on my website... but you can find all that reading the actual articles (which start here). The reason I bring any of this up though, is because this weekend a new wrinkle developed in one of my later investigations - the now defunct WitchCraftSpellsNow.com.
WitchCraftSpellsNow.com was a site that claimed to be run by someone named Tasha Palladino. Upon employing my standard methods, I dug through to find the site was designed by one Steven Hanna -- who happened to have a girlfriend at the time named, you guessed it, Tasha Palladino. Except rather than the married mother of two who had been practicing Wicca for 20+ years like the website said, this was a then-24 year old young woman...
...who happened to look exactly like the photo on WitchCraftSpellsNow.com.
Gentlemen, for the record, it's probably bad form to imply your girlfriend looks like she could be 15+ years older than she is, okay?
At the time I assumed that Tasha must be in on the scam, because (frankly) her name was being plastered all over the internet. I wrote up the article, we all discussed it, WitchCraftSpellsNow.com responded with a story full of gaping holes, and life moved on for everyone. As time went by, the site eventually disappeared from the internet (just like every other scammer does eventually), and we all thought the story was over.
And then this weekend, three and a half years later, I received an email from the actual Tasha Palladino.
Apparently, Tasha got around to googling herself and didn't exactly like what she saw. According to what she wrote to me, the website had been owned completely by (her now long exboyfriend) Steven Hanna, and while she had known he was using her name for some website... she had no idea the scope of what happened. So now, at 27, she's discovering the articles Steven wrote in her name, the Rip Off Reports that can never go away, and (of course) my article.
Needless to say, like any rational human being, she's unhappy. And honestly, I don't blame her -- and I think I believe her too.
So, because of that, I've now updated the article on WitchCraftSpellsNow.com to include the email she sent me. Like everything else, I leave it to you to make up your own mind -- but her story seems genuine to me.
And with that, I think we've finally closed the book on this one.
Excellent work, as always, Trae. I gave "her" some measure of a leash at the time and had some back and forth discussions with the fake persona. I'm always a 'reasonable doubt' kinda guy, but I never did side with her, per se, as my scam alarm was going off as well.