SALEM — The city's Licensing Board has taken disciplinary action against a prominent Salem witch and psychic who allegedly made threats on Facebook and other places against several city fortunetellers and store owners.
Following a closed-door hearing Tuesday night, the board voted to suspend Christian Day's fortunetelling license for six months. However, the penalty was put on hold for one year as long as there are no similar incidents.
"If any substantiated threats happen again within one year, he will be called in, and the suspension will be imposed," City Solicitor Beth Rennard said.
Some of the alleged threats stem from business disputes over which psychics can work in stores and exclusive vendor deals to sell wands and other items, according to several people at the hearing.
Day owns two witch shops in the downtown and runs Festival of the Dead, a series of balls and related events at Halloween. He also is on the board of Destination Salem, the city's tourism agency.
"I respect the decision of the board, even though I may not agree entirely with it," he said.
Day said he does not believe anything that he wrote constituted a threat.
"There were arguments on Facebook," he said. "I don't believe they rose to the level of threats."
The hearing, which was closed to the public and press, was called after an investigation by Lt. Andre Ouellette, a special police investigator assigned to the Licensing Board. In addition to Ouellette, two police detectives attended the hearing, Detective Sgt. Jim Page and Detective John Doyle.
Rennard, who spoke for the board, said Ouellette had received "complaints from some of the licensed fortunetellers and/or (owners of fortunetelling businesses) that one of the license holders, Christian Day, was making threats to them on Facebook and/or emails ... and they took these threats as both harassing them and also physical threats."