I am often asked, “Are you a witch?” I’ve convinced myself that this question probably has less to do with my long pointy nose (hey, I’m Italian), my unruly black hair (can’t find the comb) and my cackle-y laugh (I prefer to call it a giggle), and more to do with my profession. I am a Psychic Medium. I am not a witch. And yes, there is a difference. I don’t have a broomstick-- in fact I can’t even remember the last time I swept the kitchen floor. There are no cauldrons in my kitchen, only an array of “As Seen on Screen” gadgets like the Magic Bullet, Pasta Pot and Ove Glove. And my relatives are from Cincinnati, not Salem. Instead of casting spells and creating potions, I receive messages from spirits. I guess you could say I talk to the dead. More often than not, they talk to me.

I have nothing against witches. Growing up, I wanted to be a witch and have powers like Samantha on the television show Bewitched. Or like Jeanne on I Dream of Jeannie. Magic was cool to me. What could be better twitching your nose and being able to fly through the sky? And I identified with most witches, except for Glinda---why was she the only witch in The Wizard of Oz to be given a name? How unfair is that! And she looked more like a badly aging Barbie Doll-Fairy-Godmother-Miss America-Wanna-Be than a witch. Witches don’t wear crowns. Even as a child, I saw the injustice in that movie. The Witch of the East is crushed to death by a falling house. Before her body is even cold, a gang of munchkins gleefully breaks into song, celebrating her demise. The Witch of the West appears, grief-stricken, merely wanting to know who killed her sister. Instead of answers or sympathy… POOF, the shoes are stolen off of her sister’s corpse. And then Witch of the West is threatened and chased out of town, before she has time to mourn. Bullies. They were all bullies.

After school, while the other kids played kickball and made dresses for their paper dolls, I became the Wicked Witch of the West. A green towel pinned to my shirt was my cape. A piece of rope on the back of my purple banana bike was the tail of a flying monkey. I rode as fast as I could up and down the street, because the faster I peddled, the more it felt like flying. And I laughed and screamed as loud as I could, and it felt wonderful.

I knew I wasn’t a witch, and eventually I stopped pretending. But I was convinced I had special powers. I heard voices and songs when no one was speaking. And I saw beautiful colors around people’s heads. The teachers said I had a vivid imagination. And when I described the blurry colors, I was fitted with glasses.  So I did what any eight-year old who wanted to fit in would do, and I said nothing.

Not too much has changed from my childhood days. Though I no longer have a banana bike, I still think it would be amazing to be able to fly, and I still stick up for the underdog.  The big difference is that now I understand that I am in touch with the spirit world. Those beautiful colors I see are auras.  The voices I hear are from angels.  I am able to deliver messages to those in need.   And that is truly magical.