History Of Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Magic Tradition

History Of Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Magic Tradition May 21, 2024
  • Introduction to Pennsylvania Folk Magic

The enchanting world of Pennsylvania Dutch culture has often gone unnoticed by many, preserved by the German community, and therefore few outsiders have truly had the opportunity to experience it. The Pennsylvania Dutch are Germanic-speaking people who immigrated to the New World in the 17th century, bringing with them diverse backgrounds and cultures from Switzerland, Germany, and Austria-Hungary. However, what truly sets them apart is their religious beliefs.

When German-speaking immigrants settled in Pennsylvania, they formed sects and chose to live ascetic lives, separate from the rest of the world. One of the notable traditions they brought with them from Eastern and Central Europe was faith-healing or folk magic, also known as Powwowing. Powwowing, or Braucherei, is often considered a form of folk magic due to its use of folk cures. However, powwowers typically utilize the Bible and invoke the “power of the Jesus Christ.” To be a powwower, one must have a belief in Jesus Christ, which is non-negotiable.

Descendants of the early German immigrants may have a particular interest in learning more about their heritage. Although Powwowing is based on Christianity Braucherei also employs other ancient magical systems. 


Part One. In the Name of Jesus Christ. 



or Long-Lost Friend

By John George Hoffman




Like unto the prophet Jonas, as a type of Christ, who was guarded for three days and three nights in the belly of a whale, thus shall the Almighty God, as a Father, guard and protect me from all evil. J. J. J.


With this switch and Christ’s dear blood,
I banish your pain and do you good!
Mind it well: you must in one cut, sever from a tree, a young branch pointing toward sunrise, and then make three pieces of it, which you successively put in the wound. Holding them in your hand, you take the one toward your right side first. Everything prescribed in this book must be used three times, even if the three crosses should not be affixed. Words are always to have an interval of half an hour, and between the second and third time should pass a whole night, except where it is otherwise directed. The above three sticks, after the end of each has been put into the wound as before directed, must be put in a piece of white paper, and placed where they will be warm and dry.

Power, hero, Prince of Peace, J. J. J.


Pray early in the morning, and then turn your shirt around the left sleeve, and say: Turn, thou, shirt, and thou, fever, do likewise turn. (Do not forget to mention the name of the person having the fever.) This, I tell thee, for thy repentance sake, in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen. If you repeat this for three successive mornings the fever will disappear.


Thou horseman and footman, you are coming under your hats; you are scattered! With the blood of Jesus Christ, with his five holy wounds, thy barrel, thy gun,. and thy pistol are bound; and knife are enchanted and bound, in the name of God the Father. the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.

This must be spoken three times.




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