A collection of European magic spells and folk healing, the Pow-wows or The Long Lost Friend was first published in German language in 1820. The book contains healing spells, binding spells, protective spells, talismans, and benedictions.
The original title of the book was Der Lange Verborgene Freund, or The Long-Hidden Friend. John George Hohman, a German-American writer and publisher who immigrated to United States in 1802, wrote the book and later made a crude translation in English in 1846. The looming spiritualism in the United States in the nineteenth century began the incorporation of the word Pow -wow in the title of the subsequent reprints.
Pow-wow is a combination of Christian and shamanistic belief system associated with the Pennsylvania Dutch, who came from Germanic tribes and immigrated to Pennsylvania. Many of these immigrants are believed to have come from radical Christians.
They say there are five vital sources of spells in pow-wow. The Bible is the most common source of incantation. Another is the abovementioned book containing a collection of recipes and procedures. One more is The Long Lost Friend’s main source, the Egyptian Secrets of Albertus Magnus, who is a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. Other significant sources are the Sixth and Seventh books of Moses, who many say gained power through magical procedures. Lastly, the Secrets of Sympathy by William Wilson Beissel was republished in 1998 as a section of the book Pow-wow Power by Beissel’s great nephew.
In teaching the Pow-wow belief system, certain procedures are being followed. For instance, a student and teacher should come from different sexual orientations. Meaning, a male can only teach a female and vice versa. Breaking this rule will lessen the healing powers of both the student and the teacher. Pow-wow’s rituals and traditions mix prayers, incantations and ceremonies for home remedy purposes.
The book Long Lost Friend wrote the following instructions as a remedy to a sick person: without talking to anyone, the sick person will put water in a bottle before sunrise then close it up tight and place the bottle immediately in a box. Only the sick person should carry the key to the box for three days.
In eliminating pain or healing a wound, the pow-wow suggests rubbing the end of each three small twigs in the wound. Each twig should be cut in one smooth method. After rubbing it, wrap the twigs separately in a piece of white paper and put them in warm and dry place.
If a person has a whooping cough, a pow-wow practitioner would usually do a procedure different from the regular. First, they cut three small bunches of hair from the crown head of a child who has never seen his father. Then the hairs are sewn in an unbleached rag. This will be then hanged around the neck of the person having a cough. The thread used in sewing is unbleached too.
There is another procedure in curing cough. It is to thrust the sick person three times through a blackberry bush without saying anything. After which, the bush must grow fast at two ends and then thrusting is done on the second time.