todeskun (todeskun) wrote in little_details,

American Folk Rituals/Folk Beliefs in the 19th century

Writing a story set in America in the 1870s and I need some examples of folk rituals/folk beliefs for cures of spiritual/supernatural ailments. I have vague recollections of things like leaving a silver coin in the hollow of an old tree from Mark Twain's works, but my cursory research (Googling using "folk rituals" "folk beliefs" "cure for curses") has mostly brought up either Wiccan beliefs or general articles about folklore. I'm hoping that the collective knowledge of this comm can help me find more concrete examples of actual practices and rituals. Given the melting pot nature of the United States, I'd happily accept folk rituals from any Western European country, but preferably UK or Germany.

ETA: Per mod note, I'm providing some additional information. The setting is the New Mexico/Arizona territory, but the characters who would be providing examples of folk beliefs are a 2nd generation Irish immigrant from New York City and a vagabond cowboy who was raised in a brothel in Kansas. Since this is primarily flavor text (the characters are trying to break a curse and are spit-balling ideas) I think I have enough wiggle room to work in any ritual or belief that might be brought up.
Tags: 1870-1879, usa: folklore

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