Witches' Market in Bolivia Sees Brisk Sales in Spells

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"My plants help in many ways," says Angelica Duran Murillia, a medicine women with a booth at the Witches' Market. "But they can only do so much. A serious problem also requires offerings and prayers to the great Mother Earth to be free from bad spirits."

Bewitched Tourists

Black and white magic apply. For the right price, a sorcerer will cast a spell to avenge an oppressive boss's behavior—or to grant a child good marks in school.

Shop shelves display shriveled llama fetuses with bulging black eyeballs. "I've made ceremonies and burnt llama fetuses to help out a troubled marriage within my family before," says Ancelma Gongora Viuda de Morales, who casts spells in the Witches' Market.

Another presence on Calle Linares is the honking taxis that unload tourists from throughout the Americas and then speed off.

Tourists now are the Witches' Market vendors' largest source of revenue, according to Acho. Tourists have another impact, too.

"It used to be only regular Bolivian customers coming to me for cures to health and spiritual problems," Acho says. "Now much of the money I make is from selling my goods to tourists who take them home as souvenirs. I feel something is lost in being a witch."

But nobody is complaining too loudly about the tourist influx, another result, perhaps, of the llama fetus offerings at Cerro Cumbre.



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