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Ossman & Steel's Classic Household Guide to Appalachian Folk Healing

Ossman & Steel's Classic Household Guide to Appalachian Folk Healing

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A long-treasured but forgotten classic of folk healing, with an introduction and commentary by the author of Backwoods Witchcraft and Doctoring the Devil.

Ossman & Steel’s Guide to Health or Household Instructor (its original title) is a collection of spells, remedies, and charms. The book draws from the old Pennsylvania Dutch and German powwow healing practices that in turn helped shape Appalachian folk healing, conjure, rootwork, and many folk healing traditions in America. Jake Richards, author of Backwoods Witchcraft and Doctoring the Devil, puts these remedies in context, with practical advice for modern-day “backwoods” healers interested to use them today.

The first part contains spells and charms for healing wounds, styes, broken bones, maladies, and illnesses of all sorts. The second part includes other folk remedies using ingredients based on sympathetic reasoning, including sulfuric acid, gunpowder, or other substances for swelling, toothache, headache, and so on. These remedies are presented here for historic interest, to help better understand how folk medicine evolved in America.

It is Jake Richard’s hope that reintroducing this work will reestablish its position as a useful household helper in the library of every witch or country healer.

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