They said they'd cleanse his soul, but instead they just cleaned him out.
According to KOAT, a Santa Fe, N.M., man was leaving Walmart when three "witches" approached him and offered to cleanse his soul of a dark spirit that was following him.
Amazingly, the man went for their offer and followed the women to a white van, where he turned over jewelry and cash after they allegedly told him that money was the root of his problems. The man even went so far as to cash a $500 check at the Walmart, then return the money to the women, whom he said tore it up and kept it.
"At one time or another we are all gullible, but that was a little over the top," Walmart shopper Joy Dale told KOAT.
The supposed cleanse must not have worked, because the victim of the scam reported the incident to police a few days later. The women were traced to a hotel, where they said the man had voluntarily given them the jewelry. There was no cash. Police returned the jewelry to the owner, but couldn't charge the women because they hadn't technically committed a crime.
Although most people would spot a scam like this a mile away, other people have used fear of demonic possession as a way of exorcising money from the purses of believers.
In 2011, a New York artist began selling $197 pendants to ward off demons that possess pets. She claimed to have designed the charm after her pet poodle became inhabited by an evil spirit.
Sadly, tales of demonic possession have turned deadly in the past. In 2012, a man and his family were convicted of killing a six-months pregnant English woman because they thought she was possessed by a demon.
According to prosecutors, Mohammed Mumtaz told police that his wife "started to grab her own face and was screaming in anger... [then] suffocated herself by putting her hand in her mouth and she tried to strangle herself."
The jury did not believe that the woman had killed herself, and found Mumtaz, his parents, and his brother guilty of murder.