In southern China’s Hainan province, a mother’s hope to cure her child’s recurring headaches and mend her strained marital ties led her into the deceitful web of a so-called “feng shui master.” The case has ignited a buzz on social media, highlighting the vulnerability of those seeking spiritual remedies.
The tale begins in late 2019 when Ms. Li, the concerned mother, frequented a local wellness salon seeking therapy for her child’s persistent headaches. During one of these visits, she was introduced to a purported feng shui expert, Mr. Wang, by the salon owner, Yao. This introduction would soon steer Li’s life down a tumultuous path.
A meeting was arranged at Yao’s residence in November 2020, where Li and her child encountered Wang. Merely moments into their meeting, Wang, exhibiting a theatric display of his supposed powers, clasped the child’s hands, alleging to be channeling spells. “Had you sought me out sooner, your child would’ve been relieved from this suffering,” he confidently asserted.
Desperate for a solution and having already held the belief that her child was afflicted by an undisclosed malady, Li was easily swayed by Wang’s fraudulent diagnosis. He continued to weave his fabricated tale, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive evaluation the next day.
When Li revisited Wang for this assessment, he presented her with a fabricated theory: the root cause of her child’s headache was a supernatural entity “sitting” on the child. Wang cunningly spun a narrative of impending doom. He prophesied that if a powerful ritual wasn’t promptly executed, the child would be prone to a perilous fate, like a grave accident. To further sink his hooks, Wang also offered to resolve Li’s marital troubles through a similar mystical ceremony.
Li, deeply ensnared in Wang’s manipulations, consented. She handed over a staggering sum of 200,000 yuan, equivalent to US$27,500. To secure this amount, she resorted to obtaining a loan online. Wang, ensuring his tracks remained covered, cautioned her against disclosing details of the ritual to anyone until its completion.
In December 2020, merely a month after their initial encounter, Wang reassured Li that the ritual had been successfully concluded. However, the curtain only lifted on this charade when Li’s husband stumbled upon the details of the transaction. Recognizing the signs of a scam, he confronted his wife. Initially in denial and fiercely protective of Wang, Li even considered severing ties with her spouse. Nevertheless, her husband’s persistent efforts eventually prevailed, convincing her to notify the authorities in May.
Subsequent investigations by the police affirmed Li’s misfortune: she had been ensnared in a fraudulent scheme masterminded by Wang and the salon owner, Yao. The culprits were detained, and Li’s money was retrieved.
This incident, when disclosed by local media outlets, resonated widely on mainland social media. Several netizens voiced their astonishment at the persistence of deep-rooted superstitions in contemporary society, with one questioning, “Why didn’t she consult a hospital?”
This isn’t an isolated incident in China, a country rich with tales of magic and spirits, and where many harbor strong superstitious beliefs. Numerous narratives revolve around frauds exploiting these sentiments, preying on desperate souls with promises of spiritual healing and magical remedies. In a similar vein, a Shanghai woman was swindled out of 13,000 yuan (US$1,800) by fraudulent fortune-tellers who claimed to wield “black magic.”