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Public hearing set on Deadwood's ban on mystics and psychics

DEADWOOD (AP) — The Chamber of Commerce in the western South Dakota gambling town of Deadwood is pushing city officials to lift an ordinance banning mystics, psychics and soothsayers.

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Repealing the ban that has been in place for more than two decades would be an opportunity to expand the town's offerings beyond gambling, Chamber Events Coordinator Sarah Anderson said.

Two nationally syndicated TV shows have featured purportedly haunted hotels in the Old West town in recent years, she said.

"I think we have a lot of hauntings in Deadwood that people would be interested in," Anderson said. "Visitors are drawn to mystery. They're just naturally curious. This is an opportunity to explore other options for our visitors."

Mayor Chuck Turbiville said he thinks the ordinance is "antiquated," but resident Ardene Lance said she doesn't think fortune tellers and psychics present a family friendly environment.

"I wouldn't bring families to something like this," Lance said. "Fortune tellers or psychics . I don't want someone in my family to go down this path. I think another path should be taken and that should be in the religious realm. What are we leaving for our children? Ouija boards and something like that, I don't think that is the answer."

The City Commission has scheduled a Feb. 3 public hearing on the matter, the Rapid City Journal reported. Turbiville said a representative of a local ministerial association that opposes repealing the ordinance will be asked to testify.

"What is unholy about a ghost tour?" he said.

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