The Good Witches Of Pennsylvania

Rachel Yoder at Harper’s Magazine:

What the old Amish woman named Rachel Smoker and others like her practice is called, depending on whom you ask, powwow or Braucherei or pulling pain or active prayer or witchcraft or folk-cultural religious ritual, though Rachel Smoker would never call it any of these things. She prefers “natural healing” and “reflexology.”

I came to find her because of a book of spells. And I sought out this book because it seemed to me one of the more compelling corners of my Amish and Mennonite heritage, though it had never once been mentioned to me growing up. The book—The Long Lost Friend: A Collection of Mysterious and Invaluable Arts and Remedies, also called the “Famous Witchbook of the Pennsylvania Dutch”—was compiled in the early nineteenth century by John George Hohman, a German-speaking immigrant.

more here.