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European Journal

Poland: The Healing Power of the Whispering Witches

An area in eastern Poland, not far from the border with Belarus is home to the so-called "whispering witches." They are healers who are very much in demand among the local residents. There are about a dozen of the witches -- and their rituals include the use of prayers, medicinal herbs, wax, bread and water.

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At times, some of the more prominent witches may have long lines of people waiting outside their houses -- "patients" who come from all over Poland. Sometimes, those who visit the witches are desperate; this may be their last hope. The witches consider themselves close to the Orthodox Church, and are said to donate the fees they receive to the church.