Some To Court

Occasionally an unsatisfied patient brings the witch to court on extortion charges.

Maria de Lourdes, a handsome black-haired woman, left a Lisbon prison recently after serving a five-year sentence for extorting $10,000 from an actress.

Her trial, considered as a landmark in the official war against witches, brought nearly 100 witnesses to the stand. They told how Maria de Lourdes convinced her clients to jab knives into wax images or to shower spirit messages on pieces of paper around the "victim".

"Maria de Lourdes is probably back in business again, comments a leading doctor. "Medics and nurses are so rare and superstition is so rampant, that it seems unavoidable."

The above article was illustrated by a photo of Dona Silvina with the caption: "WHO NEEDS A BROOM? Witches do a thriving business in Portugal, a land of too few doctors and many superstitions. Here Dona Silvina, one of Lisbon's most popular witches, shouts "take your turn" at an impatient patient."

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