Supernatural Lore of Pennsylvania: Ghosts, Monsters and Miracles by Thomas White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Pennsylvania is land or state deeply entrenched with the supernatural. Founded by William Penn, the state was open to followers of all faiths and many people came from Europe to settle there. Coming from places like Ireland, Scottland, Deutschland etc. these people brought with them not only material goods but also many folkloric beliefs. This produced in some cases a folkloric religion and in other a set of legends.
Penn state is home to many supernatural oddities, some like ghosts can be found elsewhere while others like the squonk are found only in Pennsylvania. THE state is home to ladies in white, ghosts, werewolves, sea serpents and and perhaps a few others. Pennsylvania is also the home of some spiritual practices as well. Most noted are thee practices of pow wow, more properly called brucheria, and it is the home to a practice called letters from heaven.
Letters from heaven were sup[posedly letters from saints, angels or even Jesus Christ himself, usually filled with biblical phrases and quote it is meant to ward off negative things like illness and lawsuits. Pow wow is a faith healing where in the healer will put hands on and quote from the bible in order to effect a cure or remedy. Sometimes they even write out a charm. For more information one should read "LOng Lost Friend" by George Hohman. A drive through the Pennsylvania Dutch country one will see Hex signs painted all over their barns.
In Pennsylvania the supernatural reaches out in a variety of ways. It could be someone having a dream about where two lost children maybe found after wandering away from home. It could be miners chancing upon illustration etch in mine wall which depict scenes . Mess with those illustration and you are courting disaster. Some miner trapped inside a mine reported seeing every strange sight. Were wolves wil wander about sometimes attacking livestock and sometimes attacking people. When werewolves are shot often times later in the day one will hear about a person who was injured in the same area the werewolf was shot. Ghosts will haunt mines after they were killed with burning slag. Ape people live in the forest. Squonks ugly dog like creature though harmless will turn into a puddle of tears in order to avoid capture . Ghosts will haunt libraries searching for lost lovers and seeking vengeance from wrongs committed while alive on this planet.
Editor Thomas White has done a good job collecting work from a variety of contributors. He offers good explanations about the historical aspect of each phenomena talked about and the essays have sources for further reading and research on the back of each essay. quick easy read and very informative. Very enjoyable .
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