In 1819 James Madison was President. Napoleon lived in exile on Saint Helena. And John Hohman published his book of folk remedies. Today, Madison and Bonaparte are relegated to history, but powwow healing is still practiced in parts of the United States.
Over the years Powwows, or The Long Lost Friend has gone through innumerable printings. Long a reference book for back-country faith healers, the advent of modern medicine promised to render the book a harmless reminder of the past. Then, in the 1920s, Hohman’s book was connected to a bizarre murder. It quickly fell into disrepute. The book, and the practice of powwowing, were driven underground.
This edition of Hohman’s Powwows, prepared from original texts, with a new introduction, remains a quaint reminder of days gone by. Among its more questionable suggested remedies:
-- To cure whooping cough, thrust the afflicted three times through a blackberry bush.
-- To grow hair, pound up peach kernels, mix them with vinegar, and place mixture on bald spot.
Despite these unlikely “cures,” today there is a renewed scholarly interest in the benefits of powwow healing. Quite simply, this is a book that faith has kept alive.
This edition features a new introduction by William Keisling.