DOUBT NOT—AS SURE AS CANDY CORN will cause cavities, witches shall take to the air. At least that's the case in Albany, N.Y., where a self-declared witch has become the hot feature of the popular Grego and Barrow radio show on WPYX-FM. But for Antonia Jones, 56, who goes by the nom de demon Tita, witching hour is 7 A.M. each Thursday, when she proffers advice and performs over-the-air healings.
A typical exchange: Caller Kathy is worried about her father's impending CAT scan. "Will they find something major?" she asks. "I don't think it's malignant," answers Tita, who claims clairvoyance. "Tell him to relax." Listeners are apparently bewitched. "The phone goes wild," says cohost Nancy Barrow. As All Hallows' Eve falls on a Thursday this year, Tita's show has been expanded to four hours. "Halloween is one of the highest days of power," she says.
The oldest of three children, Tita was reared Roman Catholic in Albany, where her father was a barber and her mother a state employee. She says she learned at age 5 that she possessed unusual talents, such as healing wounds and reading minds. The discovery didn't thrill her parents. "When I would pick up someone's thoughts," she recalls, "my mother would say it was a sin."
Changing course, Tita earned a Master of Fine Arts from New York University, then studied opera in Rome. When her father died in 1964, she returned home and worked as a secretary in the Department of Motor Vehicles until May 1990. It wasn't until 1988 that Tita, who had studied witchcraft in the '70s, visited celebrity witch Laurie Cabot in Salem, Mass., and came out of the broom closet.
Going public wasn't easy. She didn't tell her husband, Wally Jones, 49, a senior clerk at motor vehicles, that she was a witch until four years after their 1979 marriage. Spooked at first, he came around. "Witchcraft is beautiful," he says. "Now I'm steeped in it." Tita too hopes to change witchery's dark connotations. "It's harnessing psychic energy," she says. "I want to keep putting out positive vibes about the craft."
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