The Long Lost Friend
Johann Georg Hohman's Long Lost Friend compiled practical uses of mysterious folk magic and rural home remedies rooted in medieval Europe. First published in America in 1820, these methods derive from Christian theology and shamanistic practices often credited to German immigrants. The chapbook exposes the spells, charms, benedictions, incantations, amulets, talismans, palindromes, herbs, elixirs, potions of animal parts, and herbal remedies that might cure all manner of human afflictions, guard against witches and robbers, and protect cattle and crops. Legend has it that simply carrying this book of Christian magic helped to ward off supernatural forces.
The treatments featured in the book reflect the transfer of European culture and concerns to pastoral life in early Pennsylvania. What has become known as the art of powwow among Pennsylvania Dutch citizens and scholars is still practiced in some rural areas of the state. The collection is cited widely, from enthusiasts of African-American Hoodoo to theology scholars, and it preserves a fine example of ethnic heritage.
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