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Witches of Pennsylvania, Occult History and Lore

The Exile

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~ Witches of Pennsylvania, Occult History and Lore by Thomas White




Just ordered this book, don't know if it will be a good one.









The description at Amazon.com about the author:


"Thomas White is the university archivist and curator of special collections in the Gumberg Library at Duquesne University. He is also an adjunct lecturer in Duquesne's history department and an adjunct professor of history at La Roche College. White recieved a master's degree in public history from Duquesne University. Besides the folklore and history of Pennsylvania, his areas of interest include public history and American cultural history. He is the author of Legends and Lore of Western Pennsylvania, Forgotten Tales of Pennsylvania, Ghosts of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Forgotten Tales of Pittsburgh and Forgotten Tales of Philadelphia(co-authored with Edward White.)"




And the only feedback left at Amazon.com for the book so far:


"This is a great book, and a rarity for the subject of witchcraft in Pennsylvania because it is academically and culturally reliable. I enjoyed this book, it backs up my own research and knowledge of the subject, as well as offers me a lot of new information. As a collector of powwowing information, I found this to be a great addition to my collection. The views expressed in the book are unbiased and based on the recorded information that we have available, with references to academic and historical resources in the back of the book. A must read for anyone studying powwow, PA folklore, witchcraft, or the Pennsylvania German culture."






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Witches of Pennsylvania

Occult History & Lore

By Thomas White


Got the book today and will read it soon.

It looks interesting to me as I don't know anything about the topics in this state.

But don't know how the book will be to a person that already knows about the stuff written about.  Will it be more like a summary of stuff to those people?


The book is rather on the thin side 111 pages.



I enclosed a scan of page 36 and 37, so you can see the way the author writes, to me it is easy to read.














The content of the book.  I went through the book to get the contents of each chapter.




Acknowledgements 9


Introduction. Witchcraft, Folk Healing and Hex in the Keystone State 11


1.  William Penn's Witches 15


2.  Powwow and Hex:  The Pennsylvanian German Tradition 21

          Powwows, Hex Doctors, & Witches

          The Performance of Pennsylvania German Folk Magic

          Grimoires and Magical Books

          Hex Signs


3.  Accounts of Witchraft from Around the State: 1780-1920 35

          A "Witch Trail " in Allegheny County

          Clinton County's Witches

          Hexenkopf and Witches in Northampton County

          The Many Witches of Berks County

          Lancaster's Witches

          Moll Derry, The Witch of Fayette County

          Identifying a Witch in Montgomery County

          Witch Doctors Convicted in Cumberland County

          A Witchcraft Accusation in Fulton County

          Strange Tales of Somerset County

          Dauphin County Witches

          A Troublesome Witch in Venango County

          The Witch Killer of Warren County

          Killing a Witch in Susquehanna County


4.  The Hex Murders and Their Afterfmath 71

          The Murder of Nelson Rehmeyer

          The Hex Panic

          The Shinsky Case

          The Fate of Folk Magic in Pennsylvania


5.  The Witch in Urban Legend 83

          Mary Black's Grave and the Cemetery Witches

          Witches Houses and Covens in the Woods


Conclusion.  Why Witches Won't Go 95


Selected Bibliography 97


Index 107


About the Author 111





Edited by The Exile
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It has a section on Brauche? This might be hard for me to wait for you to finish, lol!


Thanks for keeping us up to date on this book. I bumped it up to the top of my book list. :]

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  • 2 months later...
  • 1 month later...

I purchased the book.  As Exile stated, it is a thin book, which meant a quick read.  The author's writing style is a little disjointed, leaving big gaps in the information with minimal or confusing connections between concepts.  It reads like a high school book report, which is not necessarily a bad thing, as it gives you an opportunity to reflect on the content without having to look up 5-syllable words. 


The best thing about the book were the various stories of alleged Witchcraft within Pennsylvania.  In many cases, I was left wanting more details, which may or may not have been the author's intent.  Needless to say, there were no big revelations in the text, but still some things caught my attention.  I will likely make note of those in the corresponding threads on the TW Forum, as I like a good 'bump'. 


It is a relatively enjoyable and inexpensive book; two characteristics that get my vote every time.  I paid $14.95 for the book.  For those interested, you will probably see even more used copies on sale soon, making it an even better value. 

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I agree with Jevne's comments on it.


As I got the book, it was with no knowledge of the Pennsylvania's stuff.  So it was a good starting point and outline or summary of what was believed there and in it mentioned some other books that I can later get.


.Liked also the stories from the counties of Pennslyvania

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I found 2 things very intriguing about the book. 1, they had their own toad bone rite and they brought it with them. Maybe the rite was being practiced here in the states by other groups but this is the first time I've seen it in print that the rite was being used here in the US. 


2, the hexafoos or Witch's foot was employed by them. Although it was used to keep witches out, which is probably the story they used so as not to reveal the true meaning, imo :). 


Does anyone here know if these things were in use here in the states before this time period?

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited) · Hidden by Mountain Witch, February 9, 2014 - No reason given
Hidden by Mountain Witch, February 9, 2014 - No reason given

No idea - I don't have a lot of info on the USA especially Pensylvania. The only thing I know about it is that a Singer from my area - I lived over the road from him in Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear, before I moved here., Mark Knoffler, did a CD of songs called Sailing To Philadelphia which is also the song that included  Jeremiah Dixon - who was a Geordie boy (that is, from the area that I now live in) and mentions his friend Charlie Mason from the West Country, and the two of them were responsible for the Mason - Dixon Line! foxy

Edited by foxman
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  • 2 weeks later...

I really enjoyed this book as I feel a special connection to PA. I have to say that I agree with Jevne, though. While it was informative, it did leave me wanting more.

Edited by OpheliaRose
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