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Signs, Cures, & Witchery

Published 1 year ago

"Signs, Cures, & Witchery" provides a fascinating glimpse of some little-known Appalachian beliefs and practices among descendants of early German pioneers. This hour-long documentary traces Germanic belief systems from Europe to West Virginia, from the fifteenth century to present-day practitioners. "Signs, Cures, & Witchery" opens a window into our ancient past, revealing the courage and resourcefulness of people whose survival depended on their ability to "read signs," cure their own ills, and find explanations for life's mysteries. Local community practices in West Virginia such as witch doctoring, "belsnickling," "shanghai," and folk healing are connected to their medieval counterparts in woodcuts and other works of art. In tracing immigration to remote mountain communities, we learn how expressions of folk art and occult belief survive. This work specifically examines aspects of Appalachian oral tradition and folklore that draw from German culture. This informative, entertaining film is an invaluable aid to all who have interest in religion, psychology, folklore, metaphysical, regional, gender, and ethnic studies.

An Augusta Heritage Recording
Researched, produced, and edited by Gerald Milnes.
Photography by Gerald Milnes, Jay Kelly, Jimmy Triplett, & Bob Campbell.
Narrated by Judy Williams.
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