Ossman & Steel's Classic Household Guide to Appalachian Folk Healing: A Collection of Old-Time Remedies, Charms, and Spells Spiral-Bound | August 1, 2022

Jake Richards, Silver RavenWolf (Foreword by)

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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.
Publisher: Red Wheel Weiser
Original Binding: Paperback
Pages: 152 pages
ISBN-10: 1578637538
Item Weight: 0.66 lbs
Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.76 x 8.0 inches
Customer Reviews: 4 out of 5 stars Up to 30 ratings
“Jake Richards has resurrected a book of commonplace remedies, recipes, and rituals that once had a home on many rural Southern family shelves. The book is rich with folklore and folk practices, and Richards manages the difficult task of balancing contemporary knowledge against tradition. The author adds in historical research, but even more, a sense of life through his own familiar recollections of these formulas and practices. This book will easily find a home alongside other classic books of folk medicine and magic on the shelves of new generations.”—Cory Hutcheson, author of New World Witchery
Jake Richards holds his Appala­chian-Melungeon heritage close to his blood and bones. His fam­ily heritage in Appalachia goes back generations; they have lived in southwest Virginia, east Ten­nessee, and the western Carolinas for a good four hundred years. He spent most of his childhood at his great-grandmother’s house on Big Ridge in North Carolina, wading the waters of the Watauga and traipsing the moun­tains by his ancestral home on the ridge. “My family,” Jake writes, “always spoke of the old wives’ tales and folk rem­edies. They were mountain people to the bone; hunters, farmers, faith healers, preachers, and root-diggers.” Jake has practiced Appalachian folk magic for over a decade. Aside from being an author and practitioner, Jake is a member of the Melungeon Heritage Association, holds a seat on the board of WAM: We Are Melungeons, and is the creator of HOM: House of Malungia, Melungeon cultural society. You can find him on Instagram @jake_richards13