Deep into a maze of narrow corridors in the Sim Lim Square electronics mall is where Singaporeans go to explore the world of witchcraft.
Its alluring neon storefront might be mistaken for another sex shop but step closer and find a coven selling books of spells to satisfy desires, from talking to the dead to cursing the living, all under the all-seeing eye of a woman who says she’s parleyed with Satan himself. (He wasn’t that bad, and she’ll teach you how for S$360.)
Bambi Leong, who also goes by the name DarkWitchBambi, is the head witch at The Love Witch. The self-proclaimed clairvoyant says she earns over S$70,000 a month casting spells, reading tarot, selling haunted dolls, and making genitalia-shaped candles. On other days, she grooms the next generation of witches at her “School of Witchcraft.”
One a recent afternoon, Leong sat near a collection of vintage dolls dressed in elaborate, old-time frilly costumes with large piercing eyes that stared unblinking at this reporter during a recent interview.
In the street, no one would guess what this free-spirited 28-year-old does for a living. There were no pointy hats, no brooms, no crooked nose, no black cats, and definitely no full moon bonfire dancing – common misconceptions Leong hopes to banish as she grows her occult empire.
“People give this concept about witches via Harry Potter movies, TV shows, and shit like that,” she said. “But witches are essentially just like any pastors, you know like we talk to babies and we help you channel. We’re like mediums.”
Very profitable mediums, if the S$250,000 in receipts this year since March seen by Coconuts are to be believed. But some kind of magical immortals?
“You can’t say that if I jump off a building, I wouldn’t die,” she said.
Instead, Leong promotes a seemingly endless list of spiritual and sex-positive services, where she probably has something in her bag of tricks for every modern-day problem – with prices to match.
Standard New Age supplies include ritual oils (S$35/US$25) which occupy the left wall upon entering. Labeled with phrases like “Make You Love Me,” “Lust for Me Only,” and “Break Up,” these are some of Leong’s best selling items, with about 2,000 sold worldwide, she said. There are more than 20 types of oils, including those meant for fame and fortune.
There are also rows of candles shaped like penises and vaginas (S$45/US$33). They’re not sex toys, but required components for love or sex spells, Leong said. You will also find the usual crystals and figurines of angels and demons. The demons don’t seem very creepy compared to what’s nearby: Leong’s lifelike dolls. They were made possible with the help of a man who says he’s related to the American couple The Conjuring movies are based on.
Taking it seriously
Skeptics would find the unorthodox items and their outlandish promises at home in a mall notorious for shady sales tactics.
But those sellers are unlikely to enjoy the nearly 50 perfect Google reviews from The Love Witch’s patrons.
Patrons like Sherry and Kara had nothing but praise for the shop. They told Coconuts that they went with an open mind and trusted the “art.” Both declined to give more than their first name due to privacy reasons.
The saleswomen purchased energy-cleansing candles and oils to gain luck, beauty and wealth. Did they work? Yes, more deals were scored, and Kara’s family struck the lottery. But only because they took it seriously, she noted.
“Of course, it’s also important to put in the action and work instead of just blind wishings. Nonetheless, it’s possible to just follow the instructions, believe and let the magic happen,” Sherry, 27, wrote.
“I must say I’m spellbound by the formula of Magic. Pun intended!” Kara, 25, wrote.
It’s fair to say that most of Bambi’s clientele are female. In fact, she says her sensitivity to the spirit world has a pedigree passed down by the women of her family. She remembers her mother and aunts reassuring a young Bambi that the dead people she saw were just deceased family and friends coming back to visit. She can also look into the past and future, she said, a skill that has enabled her to scry backstabbing friends and cheating lovers.
“You kind of ignore it, and you kind of want to believe in good in people, but then there’s a lot of signs that just keep coming back into my mind. And when I investigate further, that’s the truth already,” she said.
Love seems to be at the root of most of her clients’ problems – and her revenues. When casting love spells, Leong will carve their target’s name and birthdate into a candle, then slather it with one of her special oils. Red candles ignite desire; black candles are for curses.
“If you get a red dick candle, you are spelling for a guy to lust for you so you’re going to carve his real name and date of birth, on the candle and coat it with like maybe the ‘Lust For Me’ oil or ‘Make You Love Me’ oil, depending on whether you just want the sex, or you want sex plus love,” she said. Speaking of dicks, a customer from the United States once asked Leong to cast a spell on his junk to make it bigger. It apparently worked by half an inch.
Leong hesitates when it comes to revenge spells, which she claims takes about five weeks to work.
“First of all, ask whether it’s justified or not, because if it’s a very petty thing, it’s going to backfire a lot in terms of karma,” she said. “It’s not immediate also, not like you’ll see results in five weeks. It’s just a curse set in place, and it will just bloom over time.”
All candles contain natural ingredients like soy or coconut wax and about 10 candles and nearly 20 bottles of oil are made every week using induction cookers and metal kettles.
Leong also connects her lonely clients to spirit companions who conveniently inhabit dolls sourced from an online community with Chris McKinnell, whose grandparents were paranormal investigators Lorraine Warren and Ed Warren, who inspired films such as The Amityville Horror and The Conjuring.
The dolls cost hundreds, presumably for one hell of a powerful ghost doll (Leong insists some of the haunted dolls can cure depression. She selects ones that aren’t too spooky).
“Most of the dolls actually come from their grandparents so it’s a long line of witches that they transfer it down, and the grandkids just want to sell all these things away,” she said. She owns over 100, some of which are displayed in her room and kept well-groomed.
But the life of a witch isn’t all child’s play.
Leong said she once astral projected – think Zoom, but for your soul – to ask Satan himself for permission to conjure the demons a customer requested. Though the devil wasn’t as harrowing as she expected, Bambi said she steers away from the black arts due to the distressing reality of Singapore’s overly superstitious.
“I guess I don’t want my shop to be burned down by extremists,” she said.
Still, she will help people make their own pacts with the devil to secure “fame, money, protection and luxury” for S$360 (US$266) online. It’s literally sold as “Demon Pact with Satan.”
But not to worry.
“My pact does not mean you will sell your soul because this is practically impossible and is very falsely hyped,” she advertises.
Instead of arranging Satanic hookups, she’s busier these days training would-be witches and warlocks.
At S$1,250 (US$930), it’s more profitable and doesn’t risk a pitchfork-wielding mob. Add a few hundred dollars for an advanced course on how to curse, heal, invoke spiritual entities, or speak with the dead.
Or go cheap and, for S$25 (US$18), study astral projection or learn to augur the future with a procedure called Third Eye Opening Surgery. But this might not be for the faint-hearted. One guy came back asking her to close it again because he felt too overwhelmed by his new abilities, Leong said.
Another saw an alien afterward, to which a disbelieving Leong responded: “Dude, I can’t even see an alien and you can?”
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This article, The Craft: Sex spells and a curse or two stir Singapore witch’s brewing business, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.