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They Opened a Witchy Small Business Offering a Service Beloved By Many. Then a Police Officer Told Them It Was Illegal. Beck Lawrence, 26, just wanted to spread the word about their metaphysical shop in Hanover, Penn.

By Amanda Breen

Key Takeaways

  • Hanover Police told metaphysical shop owner, Beck Lawrence, that fortune-telling is against Pennsylvania law.
  • Lawrence posted about the incident on TikTok, garnering support from the community and an increase in business.

A Pennsylvania entrepreneur got more than they bargained for after promoting their "spooky" small business in an interview with a local newsletter.

Beck Lawrence, 26, owns Hanover-based metaphysical store The Serpent's Key Shoppe & Sanctuary, which offers several types of readings, including tarot — and was recently visited by Hanover Police Chief Chad Martin, who warned that fortune-telling is illegal in the state, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Related: Plans to Sell a 'Witch Kit' Spelled Trouble for Sephora | Entrepreneur

Fortune-telling is a third-degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, though "the average citizen" is typically unaware that charging money for services like astrology and palm reading is illegal, according to McClenahen Law Firm.

Still, the practice can be investigated and prosecuted: Earlier this year, a Lebanon County woman was charged with misdemeanor "fortune-telling" after a customer alleged they paid $500 at Psychic World for services that weren't provided, per ABC27.

Martin, who was in uniform when he visited, said any complaints against the business would lead to a police investigation, per The Philadelphia Inquirer.

"It was kind of intimidating," Lawrence told the outlet.

Lawrence posted about the incident to their almost 200,000 followers on TikTok — and received a lot of support from the pagan community and increased business, according to the newspaper.

@thestitchingwitch Lmao last word was cops but ??♀️ #witch #witchcraft #witchtok #pagan #paganism #witchesofpa #papagans #pennsylvania #pa #christianity #xtian #extian ♬ original sound - The Stitching Witch

Martin wrote a response to the viral TikTok on the police department's Facebook page.

"There was never an investigation, nor was there any threat of arrest in this matter," Martin wrote. "With that being said, if a complaint was made against someone for engaging in acts qualifying as 'fortune telling' in the Borough of Hanover; this department would be obligated to conduct an investigation."

Related: This Halloween Season, Real-Life Witches Share Spells for Money, Confidence and Success

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a senior features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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