via Necromance’s Instagram page. Pygmy seahorse pendants the store was selling.

A woman whose Hollywood dead-animal store “Necromance” specializes in animal skulls, dried or preserved bats, spiders and other creepy, crawly items, probably won’t serve any jail time after she pleaded guilty Thursday to violating the Endangered Species Act by knowingly importing protected seahorses and bat skulls without the proper permits.

Nancy Delap Smith and her store, Necromance, were each charged in January with misdemeanor counts of violating the federal statute.

Smith and a store representative entered pleas to unlawful trade in protected species before U.S. Magistrate Judge John E. McDermott, who set an Oct. 5 sentencing hearing.

“The laws are designed to protect plant and wildlife that is threatened,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis Mitchell said after a previous hearing. “In this case, documentation is needed to bring these items into the country.”

According to, “Necromancy” is a “method of divination through alleged communication with the dead; black art.”

The case stems from packages sent from Indonesia and intercepted, before reaching the store, in March and May 2011 by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection international mail facility.

Mailing labels identified the contents as containing keychains and freeze-dried bats “for educational study,” according to the declaration of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent who investigated the case.

Upon examination, the first package contained dozens of dried seahorses – – attached to keychains — mantises, scorpions, tree frogs, sleeping fruit bats and hanging fruit bats, the agent wrote.

via Necromance’s Instagram page. A bat skeleton the store was selling.

The package also included a document “which incorrectly or falsely” stated that the shipment contained no species on the CITES  — Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora — checklist.

The international agreement aims to ensure that trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

The agent wrote that the second package, intercepted two months later, contained additional seahorse keychains and numerous bat skulls found to be protected under CITES.  An invoice described the seahorse keychains as a non- CITES item, according to the agent’s declaration.

Prosecutors said Smith was aware that the contents of the Indonesia shipments could contain protected wildlife products.

In exchange for Smith’s guilty plea, prosecutors have agreed to recommend fines and a probationary sentence that would include 200 hours of community service, court papers show.

–City News Service 

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