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The struggling Nicole Richie has reportedly hired the services of a shaman to help rid her of the bad luck curse she fears hangs over her.

In Nicole-speak, “Vicodin,” “marijuana” and “bad luck” are apparently synonymous.

Seriously. We couldn’t make this stuff up. Well, we could, but that’s not what we’re all about. Besides, real news such as Nicole’s DUI arrest is usually a lot stranger than fiction.

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The socialite has told friends she’s convinced all her 2006 troubles, which culminated with the pre-Christmas DUI arrest (wonder if this Nicole Richie mug shot was used in her Christmas cards), came about after someone in her social circle “hexed” her.

Determined to break the purported spell, Nicole Richie had a witch doctor perform a $1,000 spiritual cleansing of her West Hollywood apartment on December 15. The shaman reportedly chanted, danced and burned sage in every room of the star’s home for two hours.

Now that there is money well spent. Joel Madden has to be wondering what kind of idiot he’s dating. Then again, at least she puts out. Sorry Hilary.

“She’s very superstitious and believes in this stuff. It’s a very personal thing for Nicole. Nicole believes in curses but would never put one on anyone, not even her worst enemy,” a friend told Life & Style weekly.

Richie’s run of bad luck in 2006 includes her split from fiancé Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein, some serious eating disorders that landed her in a rehab center desperate to gain weight, and the horror of her cat plunging 10 floors from the balcony of her apartment onto the street.

Not to worry, though. While Nicole’s feline fell far, it sustained only a broken leg. And Paris Hilton’s pussy remains in fine physical health.

Speaking of Ms. Hilton, she’d be the prime suspect if Nicole were indeed cursed. Goldstein would be a possibility as well, although he’s kind of a dweeb. Also a possible hexer? Brody Jenner.

The Prince of Malibu dated Nicole last year, and then showed a vengeful side by hooking up with Lauren Conrad shortly thereafter in a shameless attempt to make Kristin Cavallari jealous. Not that we blame him. Just saying.