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Hidden power of ‘the black book’

by Anne Polta

Even in modern-day Norway, skepticism and superstition still linger around “the black book.” When Kathleen Stokker traveled to Norway to research folk medicine practices, she was surprised to learn the extent to which it persists in the national psyche. The black book is “much more a part of Norwegian culture than most would admit,” she said.

What was the black book? Part legend, part superstition and part melding of pre-Christian and Catholic beliefs and customs, the black book was a compilation of folk remedies, rituals, prayers and incantations. “No single black book did exist — hundreds of them did,” Stokker writes in her recently published book, “Remedies and Rituals: Folk Medicine in Norway and the New Land.” Most black books “were hand-written compilations of advice and magical cures, items people copied down as they came across them by word of mouth or in written form,” she writes.

Read the original article at: West Central Tribune

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