The devil himself or any unfriendly spirit that is bringing on bad luck or any kind of calamity needs to be conjured away or, as this title, phrases it, needs to be doctored into ceasing and desisting. The author of this book learned traditional magic practices especially from older relatives as he grew up in East Tennessee. He feels these practices and superstitions are a crucial part of Appalachian culture. He seeks to build awareness of them not only through the books he writes, but also through his business: Little Chicago Conjure, a supplier of Appalachian folk magic supplies located in Jonesborough, Tennessee. “In this keen handbook, Richards (Backwoods Witchcraft), an Appalachian native and practitioner of folk magic, elucidates his techniques of healing, conjuring, and herb (“yarb”) doctoring. Part anthropological survey and part manual, the book pays tribute to Richards’s own family line of healers, dowsers, and witches, as well as to lore of other healers and seers throughout the mountains of Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia. The charms, spells, and healing recipes show the influence of different cultures, with Cherokee herbal practices blending seamlessly with Christian scripture. For instance, Richards recommends a Cherokee conjure bag of tobacco, powdered clay, mustard seed, and ginseng root for luck in hunting, and Christian verses to bless the spirit of the dispatched animal. Richards’s encyclopedic knowledge of the subject and deep commitment to it make this a great starting point for those hoping to practice Appalachian folk magic.” ― Publishers Weekly.
Newburyport, Massachusetts: Weiser Books/Red Wheel-Weiser, 2021. 265 pages with a bibliography and two appendices. Trade paperback.