Video: Hanover tarot reader talks about encounter with police over a law from 1861

Beck Lawrence, in their Hanover business the Serpent’s Key. (Photo: Beck Lawrence/Instagram).

By Graham Harrington

October 13, 2023

Beck Lawrence, owner of the Serpent’s Key, a Hanover business billed online as a “witchery and apothecary,” received a warning last week from police that she could face charges under an antiquated law outlawing fortune telling for profit in Pennsylvania.

Did any of you have “police target village witch” on your 2023 bingo card?

We sure didn’t, and Beck Lawrence, owner of the Serpent’s Key, a Hanover business billed online as a “witchery and apothecary,” was equally surprised to find the chief of police at their doorstep recently after the shop was featured on social media by a local business organization.

The reason for the visit? Hanover police were there to inform Lawrence that the tarot readings offered at their store violated an obscure state law from 1861 banning fortune telling for personal gain — this despite the numerous “for entertainment only” disclaimers on display throughout the shop.

While the interaction was short, according to Lawrence, because police chief Chad Martin refused to be filmed, they were still scared at the possibility of losing their livelihood. That is until a TikTok they made following the police visit went viral, prompting an uptick in business.

@keystonenewsroom

The thing they don’t tell you about targeting witches is that they always roll with a coven, something Hanover witchery and apothecary owner Beck Lawrence is beyond grateful for. Lawrence was worried they’d have to survive on “ramen and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches” after their shop, the Serpent’s Key, received a warning from the local police chief that Tarot reading services violated an obscure state law from 1861, right in the middle of a slow business season. Thankfully, the metaphysical community offered its support to Lawrence once news of the police visit got out. Watch as Lawrence explains what happened. ✏️: Graham Harrington 🎥: Graham Harrington/@the_serpents_key #Pennsylvanialife #Pagan #Paganism #Pennsylvanian #HanoverPA #NewsUpdate #LunarWitch #Tarot #TarotReadings #Wicca #SmallBusinessOwners #MetaphysicalShop #PaganSanctuary #YorkCountyPA #Queerowned

♬ original sound – Keystone Newsroom – Keystone Newsroom

“On Monday before all of this had happened, I was freaking out because I was like ‘I am going to have to live off of ramen and peanut butter just to afford rent,’” Lawrence said. “And since then we made rent for the shop after paying out all of our vendors. We did that in less than 72 hours.”

Watch Lawrence explain the interaction with police below:

@keystonenewsroom

Did any of you have “police target village witch” on your 2023 bingo card? We sure didn’t, and Beck Lawrence, owner of the Serpent’s Key, a Hanover business billed online as a “witchery and apothecary,” was equally surprised to find the chief of police at their doorstep recently after the shop was featured on social media by a local business organization. The reason for the visit? Hanover police were there to inform Lawrence that the tarot readings offered at their store violated an obscure state law from 1861 banning fortune telling. Seriously. Watch to find out more, and follow the Keystone Newsroom to see the rest of this interview tomorrow. ✏️: Graham Harrington 🎥: Graham Harrington/@the_serpents_key #Pennsylvanialife #Pagan #Paganism #Pennsylvanian #HanoverPA #NewsUpdate #LunarWitch #Tarot #TarotReadings #Wicca #SmallBusinessOwners #MetaphysicalShop #PaganSanctuary #YorkCountyPA #Queerowned

♬ original sound – Keystone Newsroom – Keystone Newsroom

Author

  • Graham Harrington

    Graham Harrington is The Keystone's social media manager. As a multimedia journalist, he has written for the Denisonian, PAC News, and Today’s Patient. Graham lives in Delaware County and is a graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio.

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