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The Dreaded Witch Wreath

The following is an excerpt from my new book Witchcraft in Illinois: A Cultural History. Part Two explores beliefs about witchcraft, including a witch’s powers and abilities, which were surprisingly specific. Order it today on Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com Witches also allegedly used wreaths, birds, and other figures made from pillow feathers to torment their victims. […]

Abandoned Paper Mill in Deferiet, New York

In 1899, the St. Regis Paper Company built 52 homes, a general store, and a hotel on a manmade island in the Black River and called it Deferiet. The St. Regis Paper Company at one time employed hundreds of Italian, Hungarian, and Polish immigrants, and up to 1,500 people lived in Deferiet. Today, Deferiet is […]

The Melrose Park Witch

The following is an excerpt from my new book Witchcraft in Illinois: A Cultural History. The case of the “Melrose Park Witch” shows not only that witch beliefs were common in urban areas, but that witch doctors, or white witches, sometimes ran afoul of the law, despite good intentions. Order it today on Amazon.com or […]

Witches in Illinois Folklore

The following is an excerpt from my new book Witchcraft in Illinois: A Cultural History. In this chapter, I discuss popular legends involving witches and “witch graves” that sprang up in the later half of the nineteenth century. Order it today on Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com No exploration of witchcraft in Illinois would be complete without […]

Folk Magic in Illinois

The following is an excerpt from my new book Witchcraft in Illinois: A Cultural History. In this chapter I discuss folk magic, or popular charms and conjurations similar to witchcraft, intended to bring good fortune to oneself and suffering to an enemy. Order it today on Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com The work of folklorist Harry Middleton […]