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A Milton, Ont. woman has been charged with extortion, fraud over $5,000 and pretending to practice witchcraft (yes, witchcraft).

Dorie ‘Madeena’ Stevenson was arrested after a five-month police investigation. One of her alleged victims said that they had been defrauded more than $60,000 after being consulted by her and her business, Milton Psychic.

Witchcraft is defined in Section 365 of Canada’s Criminal Code as: “Every one who pretends to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration; undertakes, for a consideration, to tell fortunes; or pretends from his skill in or knowledge of an occult or crafty science to discover where or in what manner anything that is supposed to have been stolen or lost may be found.”

However, there is proposed legislation to strike witchcraft (along with sorcery, enchantment, duelling and conjuration) from the Criminal Code.

As obsolete as it may sound, Stevenson isn’t the only one in recent history to be charged of witchcraft. It’s more common in Canada than you would think. Here are a few cases of others who have allegedly defrauded people using witchcraft in Canada over the years:

  • A Spanish newspaper publisher was charged with witchcraft after allegedly promising a Mississauga woman that he would lift her family curse for $14,000. He first convinced the woman that her family was cursed and then told her he could remove it if she gave him the money.
  • A Mississauga man was charged with witchcraft after telling the two victims to give him $23,000 for remedies like blood-stained eggs, worms and black coal to lift curses. The charges were later dropped after he agreed to pay back the victims in full.
  • Toronto police charged a man with pretending to practice witchcraft when he allegedly made a customer pay him $100,000 to remove an “evil spirit”. After a consultation, the victim was told their sick family member had a spirit and was asked for the payments to remove it.
  • A Toronto woman was accused of defrauding a Toronto lawyer of tens of thousands of dollars after claiming she was the spirit of his dead sister, here to help with business. She faced charges of pretending the practice witchcraft. This happened back in 2009 when it was very rare to charge someone under this law.