Michael Jackson has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on blood-soaked voodoo rituals in an attempt to create money "out of thin air" and place curses on his perceived enemies, who include David Geffen and Steven Spielberg, according to the latest edition of Vanity Fair.
Just when it seemed the stories about Mr Jackson could not be any weirder, the glossy celebrity magazine has unveiled lurid tales involving the ritual slaughter of dozens of cows, sheep and chickens, a witch doctor from Mali and a mysterious Egyptian woman claiming links to the ruling élite of Saudi Arabia.
In a ceremony in Switzerland in 2000, the magazine reported, Mr Jackson was told that 25 people he had listed as his enemies would all soon be dead. These included the music impresario Mr Geffen and Mr Spielberg, who once turned down Mr Jackson for the part of Peter Pan in his unsuccessful fantasy film Hook.
"David Geffen be gone! Steven Spielberg, be gone!" the article quoted the witch doctor as saying. The session involved the slaughter of 42 cows and apparently cost Mr Jackson $150,000 (£95,000), which his business manager wired to a bank account in Mali.
On another occasion, the Egyptian woman, called Samia, took Mr Jackson to a basement in Geneva and showed him what she said was $300m in cash. He could have the money, she said, with a villa and a yacht, if he did she what she asked. Subsequently, three men were flown from Switzerland to California at Mr Jackson's expense to discuss the deal.
Mr Jackson, the article continued, arranged for $1m in cash to be brought to his Neverland Ranch for the meeting. The pop star's business manager at the time, Myng-Ho Lee, later reported receiving a $20,000 bill for the armoured truck that brought the money.
Mr Lee was subsequently sent back to Geneva to see another voodoo doctor, who put on a show of sound, lights and pigeons before opening the door to a bathtub filled, he said, with $50m. The voodoo man said the money would disappear unless Mr Jackson paid thousands of dollars for the slaughter of poultry and other animals.
The piece in Vanity Fair was written by Maureen Orth, who has run many investigations into Mr Jackson. The picture she paints is of a man becoming deluged in debt – some $240m, according to the piece – and incapable of cutting his expenses, which have peaked at more than $1m a month. Among his legal papers, Ms Orth found a $10,000 monthly charge from a chemist's in Beverly Hills.
Ms Orth also provided more details on what she said was a pattern of intimidation and monetary compensation for anyone who has referred to the child sex abuse issue.
She quoted one of Mr Jackson's maids, who said in an affidavit that Mr Jackson bleached his skin "because he does not like being black and he feels that blacks are not liked as much as people of other races".
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