19.11.17

Going Dutch

Richard T. Orth. Folk Religion of the Pennsylvania Dutch: Witchcraft, Faith Healing and Related Practices. McFarland (24 Nov. 2017)
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There has long existed among the Germanic Pennsylvania Dutch people a belief in white and dark magic. The art of white magic in the Dutch Country is referred to by old-timers as braucherei in their unique dialect, otherwise known as Powwowing. Hexerei, of course, is the art of black magic. Powers used to heal in the art of braucherei are derived from God (the Holy Trinity), but the powers employed in hexerei are derived from the Devil, in the simplest of explanation. Therefore, one who engages in the latter has bartered or "sold his soul to the Devil," and destined for Hell!

For nearly three centuries, the Pennsylvania Dutch have not hesitated to use braucherei in the healing of their sick and afflicted, and regionally, the culture has canonised early 19th Century faith healer, Mountain Mary (of the Oley Hills), as a Saint for her powers of healing. Furthermore, contemporary of hers, John Georg Hohman, has published numerous early 19th Century books on the matter still in use today. Both their form of faith healing has many counterparts in our civilisation, however, the subset of hexerei, witchcraft, or black magic was always considered of utmost evil here in the region; and only desperate people, and those with devious intentions, have resorted to its equally powerful and secret powers.