October 31, 1995
Web posted at: 2:00 a.m. EST
From Correspondent Mary Ann McRae
NEW YORK (CNN)-- Halloween is here so it's time for witches to make their public appearance. One woman takes her witchcraft seriously, and counsels people from all walks of life.
Phoebe Ungerer is a witch and she's teaching Brian Pilling to cast a spell on himself.
"You're going to be taking a bath with these bath salts," she tells Pilling, "and during this, you're going to meditate and clarify and direct your intentions on peace and protection at home, in your life, on the job."
A peace and protection spell. That's what Brian, who's in law enforcement, is seeking.
"Peace and protection shall keep me free from turmoil, sadness, anger and confusion. Peace and protection surround me in great profusion. That sounds nice," says Pilling.
Ungerer can't simply wave a wand and cast her spell to help a person but what she can do, she says, is help people direct their energy and make things happen for themselves. A modern- day spell with some old-fashioned tools.
"What makes a witch a witch? That's kind of like what makes a Christian a Christian. It's a religion. It's another denomination of earth-based spirituality, like Native American or Buddhism," says Ungerer. (363K AIFF sound or 363K WAV sound)
Religious scholars say witchcraft is considered a bona fide religion and a growing number of people are turning to this alternative faith.
"Unfortunately, with witchcraft, people immediately want to say you're a Satanist. We're not Christians. We don't have Satan," she says. (208K AIFF sound or 208K WAV sound)
Her mixing spoon is a Cuisanart, her cauldron is a saucepan on a stove and her mixtures aren't exactly a bubbling brew. But she does have dragon's blood.
Stores like Ungerer's, which specialize in the occult, attract a diverse clientele.
"Professionals, Wall Street, artists, doctors, exotic dancers..." and journalists. "But I'm not going to say from what publications," she says.
Witches have suffered an image problem through the centuries but Ungerer, who says she doesn't do bad spells, just might help turn that around.
Pilling thinks she can, "I think a lot of it is a misconception. Phoebe's the first witch that I've ever met and she doesn't strike me to be anything like that I've ever seen on TV before."
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