Holidays

The World's Creepiest Places

by Ralph Martin

Sonora Witchcraft Market, Mexico City, Mexico

Witches packed into tightly spaced stalls proffer advice and spells for $10, promising quick ends to poverty and spousal infidelity, while some rather unhappy-looking exotic animals—iguanas, frogs, and wild birds—are for sale in cages. This is the Sonora Witchcraft Market, open daily to pilgrims from Mexico City and far beyond who come to have their fortunes read and attempt to find a shortcut to a better life. The market is a labyrinth of stalls that cover a few city blocks, and it's the regional source for "spiritual" stuff ranging from potions derived from ancient Aztec recipes to Buddha statues. For hard-core enthusiasts, perhaps some rattlesnake blood or a dried hummingbird will give your fortunes a jolt. But you should be aware that witchcraft in Mexico is no joke: The National Association of Sorcerers has weighed in on presidential elections, casting spells to make them free and fair. And of course there's a dark side, such as bad-luck charms from the Santeria religion that scares the daylights out of locals—and don't give anyone in Mexico a black candle unless you really, really mean it.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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