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Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Did Patrizia Gucci curse Lady Gaga with a plague of flies? An investigation

As the actor bravely shares her experience of being hexed by the former Gucci wife, a witch explains how to do the same to your enemies

Flies can breed on just the tiniest bit of decaying matter, be that putrefied flesh, rotting food, or a seemingly interminable press tour.

In the three months that Lady Gaga has been speaking about her horrendous experience of filming House of Gucci, she has nobly warned against the perils of suffering for one’s art – AKA the same film that has been compared to Dolmio adverts. So far she has claimed to have lived in character for a year and a half, to have spoken in an Italian accent for nine months, to have convinced herself that she was responsible for the death of Maurizio Gucci, to have written a secret biography on the life of Patrizia Gucci, and to have required an on-set psychiatric nurse, all whilst spending the entire process petrified that Patrizia might show up. “I mean, she’s out of jail. There was a safety element,” she told Variety.

Lady Gaga’s lifelong dedication to “performance art” has seen the actor assume the role of tortured artist on countless occassions, but this time she appears to have enveloped herself in her own hellish mythmaking, which reached its apotheosis this week as she bravely recounted her experience of being hexed with a plague of files to W magazine. “On the last day of filming, I was on the balcony of my apartment in Rome, and I was blasting Dean Martin singing ‘Mambo Italiano’” – because Italians listen to Mambo Italiano – “and I had a cigarette hanging out of my mouth. I was Patrizia. But I knew I had to say goodbye to her. Large swarms of flies kept following me around, and I truly began to believe that she had sent them.” 

Just how easy is it, though, to summon a throng of flies unto one’s enemy? According to Lucya Starza, a witch and author of various titles on divination, it’s very simple. “Even though I don’t curse people, I could think of quite a few ways to do this and I would say Patrizia probably used poppet magic.” Poppets are similar to voodoo dolls, Starza says, the only difference is that, in Europe, the tradition comes from Ancient Greece. The principle remains the same: someone makes a doll in the image of their nemesis and performs rituals of “sympathetic magic” – meaning whatever happens to the doll also happens to the person. “It’s optimum if you've got something that actually belongs to them, like some of their hair or clothes that you can stuff inside.” 

Though she insists that she only uses poppets for positive things, like healing, if Starza was going to send “a load of insects to pester a person” she would probably seal the doll in a jar of dead flies. Fresh larvae come vacuum-packed from pet shops, she tells me, but small paper cut-outs should also do the trick. “After that, you should light some candles and ask all the elements and spirits to perform your wish, visualising the person being hounded by flies in order to affect your will in the real world”. Proceed with caution, though, as many witches believe that ill-wished actions come back to haunt you.

As such, Starza encourages the use of “assertive magic” – spells which don’t actively harm others – because “revenge can be sweet but it doesn’t necessarily get you what you want.” Indeed, this may not have even been what Patrizia wanted, since Starza quite rightly stresses that absolutely anybody could have mobilised the flies. “It’s a very popular form of folk magic, done by witches and ordinary people alike. I will say this though… always think before doing a spell. It can be easy to curse someone in the moment because you’re angry about something but it’s always best to think of the long term results.”

Before hanging up, Starza takes a deep inhale and offers some advice to those on the receiving end of Gaga’s junkets. “Poppets have been used in the past to stop people from talking,” she says, taking extra care of her words. ”You can make a doll of the person, tape their mouth shut, and visualise their chatter stopping. Another way of stopping people acting in a certain way is to put the doll in the back of the freezer and visualise freezing their actions.”