For A Twitch An Itch Seek A Witch

Dennis F. Redmont

LISBON (AP) ... Wherever everything has failed to solve a love affair or cure a sickness in Portugal, the best bet is to go see "the witch."

The witch lives in every town of Portugal. Sometimes she operates a flashy office in the heart of Lisbon. Other times she sets up a makeshift altar crowded with canes, crutches, statues and candles in her tiny country shack.

But whatever the formula, thousands flock to see the "wise woman" who prescribes everything from simple gymnastics to a yellow spider dipped in butter to solve a problem.

Lisbon's most famous witch, Dona Silvina, receives about a hundred clients a day. Her bedroom gets so jammed that an aide distributes numbered cards at the entrance and she treats her patients five by five.

Dona Silvina claims to reincarnate a famous Lisbon physician, Dr. Sousa Martins, who died 70 years ago after a life of good works among the poor.

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