Read Our
Join Our
Lucky W
Hoodoo &
The Blues
This online presentation of
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by catherine yronwode
is sponsored by the


6632 Covey Road, Forestville, California 95436
voice: 707-887-1521 / fax: 707-887-7128

Open 7 Days a Week, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Pacific Time
Manufacturers and Distributors of Hoodoo and Conjure Supplies: Oils, Powders, Incense, Baths, Washes, Herbs, Resins, Colognes, Roots, Minerals, Curios, Books, Candles, Statuary, and Amulets.
Be a Fan:
View Your
Readers &
We Pray
For You


"Hoodoo - Conjuration -
Witchcraft - Rootwork"

Harry Middleton Hyatt was an Anglican minister who collected folklore as a hobby. Raised in Quincy, Illinois, Hyatt received his M.A. and D.D. at Kenyon College and Oxford University. He served as assistant rector at the Church of the Holy Spirit in New York City from 1951 to 1965. After his retirement in 1965, he returned to his home-town of Quincy, Illinois.

As a folklorist, Hyatt began this work in his own home-town, and then proceeded onward to collect magical spells throughout the South. His two major works in this field were "Folklore From Adams County Illinois" (1935) and "Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork" (1970). In addition, Hyatt was also a genealogist who published two books on his own family, "The Millers of Millersburg Kentucky" (1929) and "Descendents of John Walton of Baltimore Co. Maryland and Harrison Co. Kentucky" (1950).

The bulk of the Hyatt collection is currently archived at the UCLA Center for the Comparative Study of Folklore and Mythology and in the Quincy [Illinois] University Department of Special Collections.


"Folklore From Adams County Illinois" (FACI) contains hundreds of simple spells, folk-magical beliefs, herb-based medical remedies, riddling rhymes, and folkloric tales. It consists of 10,949 entries on 723 pages, including an index. It was self-published by Hyatt in two editions, the first in 1935, and the second in 1965. Both editions were released under the imprint "Memoirs of the Alma C. Hyatt Foundation." Alma C. Hyatt was his wife. The second edition contains a lengthy illustrated appreciation of the then-late Alma Hyatt, in which Mr. Hyatt explains to the world what an inspiration she was to him.

The section of "Folklore From Adams County Illinois" that deals with witchcraft is the most useful part of the book. It is comprised of brief quotes from unnamed local folks to whom Hyatt assigned cultural ascriptions (e.g. "Irish," "German," "Negro," etc.) so that one can place the speakers in the traditions from which they come. Unfortunately, as Hyatt explains in his preface, the material was edited and "omission of Negro dialect means that colored folk speak the same language as their white neighbors" with the exception of "a small vocabulary peculiar to themselves [of which] examples occur frequently in the text." Even more inexplicably, all "lore definitely Jewish was excluded [and] the same is true of three or four Indian [Native American] sayings." Furthermore, Greeks and Italians living in the area, according to Hyatt, "are newcomers, and have not been approached for folk-lore." Such egregious editorial deletions blemish what would otherwise be a balanced representation of folk-magical practices in Illinois at that time, but if one keeps these exclusions in mind, "Folklore From Adams County Illinois" is still a valuable document. The lengthy section on African-American hoodoo spells, and the unique quality of these spells, is what led Hyatt to undertake his later, more massive, work of hoodoo folk-magic collection in the South.

I am often asked what the differences are between the 1935 and 1965 editions of "Folklore from Adams County Illinois" (FACI). Basically -- they are different, period. The 1935 edition is easier to read (it is a typeset octavo volume), but the 1965 edition is MASSIVE -- presented in typewriter type, like the later "Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork" books, and matching them in size and binding. Additionally, the 1965 FACI is the only place where you can learn more about Hyatt himself -- for it contains a section printed on glossy paper in which he describes his life and his relationship with his wife Alma, who was his muse and financial supporter throughout his long years of dedicated folklore collecting.

The other question often asked is "Why do i need to read FACI when it is not about hoodoo?"

False premise!

A great deal of FACI is in fact about hoodoo.

FACI represents the largest attempt ever to catalogue ALL the beliefs of ALL the people living in one region (Adams County Illinois, like the title says). There are oversights -- Hyatt refused to collect material from Jews or Native Americans, for reasons that defy rationality at this point -- but there were plenty of black people in Adams County, and Hyatt collected all of their hoodoo beliefs, spells, and practices in FACI, and labelled them "Negro" for ease of extraction by researchers.

It was Hyatt's realization that Negro magical beliefs differed greatly from his own English American culture's beliefs that led him to go South and work on "Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork", the largest collection of folklore from one cultural group in America.

But FACI is not only important because it served as Hyatt's introduction to hoodoo -- it is also the most thorough and factual record of Irish, English, German, and other white European magical beliefs in America ever assembled, and, as such, it deserves a place on the shelf of any American Neo-Pagan, Wiccan, Fam-Trad or Pow Wow Magic practitioner.


"Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork" (HCWR) is a 5-volume, 4766-page collection of folkloric material gathered by Hyatt in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia between 1936 and 1940. Supplementary interviews were conducted in Florida in 1970.

The "Hoodoo" collection consists of 13,458 separate magic spells and folkloric beliefs, plus lengthy interviews with professional root doctors, conjures, and hoodoos. All but one of Hyatt's 1600 informants were African-Americans, but several narrations by European-Americans (collected for his earlier book, "Folklore From Adams County, Illinois") were also included. Hyatt recorded the material on Edison cylinders and a device called a Telediphone, often without the full knowledge of the participants. He then transcribed and annotated it for publication. Occasionally his equipment failed or was not available and he took hand-written notes instead. The 1930s field recordings have since been destroyed, with the exception of a few cylinders that Hyatt had pressed onto 78 rpm records. The Florida interviews of 1970, recorded on cassette tapes, have survived.

As if to overcome the ham-fisted linguistic editing of Negro dialect that marred "Folklore From Adams County Illinois," this time Hyatt transcribed the speech of his informants semi-phonetically. What may look to modern eyes like "racial stereotyping" or making fun of Southerners was actually his sincere attempt to catalogue variant regional pronunciations. If you read several spells, you will see that he did NOT impose upon his informants one single stereotyped "black dialect" or "Southern dialect" but in fact conveyed, as accurately as he could, the true sound of each person's speech. Reading the spells aloud and noting the location where each informant lived will help you comprehend this. I do not intend to apologize for Hyatt's technique, and i hope that future scholars will not do so either.

The publication of this material was accomplished between 1970 and 1978, again under the imprint "Memoirs of the Alma C. Hyatt Foundation." The first two volumes were issued as a set in 1970, and said to be complete, but then, after a few years, three more volumes were released. Hyatt died before the sixth volume, an index, was prepared.

The contents of "Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork" are about as follows (numbers in parentheses are page number):


Like almost everyone who has followed in Hyatt's shoes, i owe him a debt for his dedication and perseverance in collecting so much magical lore and making it available to all. Although i began my own research into hoodoo in the early 1960s, before the reprint of FACI or the first volumes of HCWR were published, i found Hyatt's work invaluable from the time i first read it. I have made some use of his material to bolster my own presentations, and, for those who are interested, here is a list of Hoodoo in Theory and Practice web pages that contain quoted passages from Harry Hyatt's research:

Aunt Caroline Dye of Newport, Arkansas
Bluestone and Mexican Blue Anil Balls
Body Fluids: Menstrual Blood, Urine, Semen
Crossroads Rituals
Devil's Shoestring
Foot Track Magic
Goofer Dust
Hoodoo History and Definition of Terms
Hoyt's Cologne
Hyatt's African-American informants
Madam Myrtle Collins of Memphis, Tennessee
Nation Sack
Protection Spells
Secrets of the Psalms
Silver Dimes

As you run across Hyatt material at this site, please note:

1) All the transcribed spells quoted in Hoodoo in Theory and Practice are from the 1936-1940 "Hoodoo" sessions unless otherwise noted.

2) The number at the beginning, if any, is Hyatt's spell number. (Interviews were not numbered.)

3) Code numbers at the end of a spell are Hyatt's identification of the informants and the number of the recording cylinder itself.

4) Any words in (parentheses) in the text were spoken aloud by Hyatt during the interviews and any words in [brackets] were his written commentary to the publication. MY OWN further comments, if any, appear in {italics in curly brackets}, and most of them consist of additional information or corrections to Hyatt's characteristic transcription errors (e.g. his invariable mis-transcription of Hoyt's Cologne as "Hearts Cologne" or "herts perfume").

5) I have occasionally broken some of the book's run-on paragraphs into shorter chunks, for easier reading.


Search All Lucky Mojo and Affiliated Sites!

You can search our sites for a single word (like archaeoastronomy, hoodoo, conjure, or clitoris), an exact phrase contained within quote marks (like "love spells", "spiritual supplies", "occult shop", "gambling luck", "Lucky Mojo bag", or "guardian angel"), or a name within quote marks (like "Blind Willie McTell", "Black Hawk", "Hoyt's Cologne", or "Frank Stokes"):


Contact-the-Lucky-Mojo-Curio-Company-in-Forestville-California copyright © 1994-2019 catherine yronwode. All rights reserved.
Send your comments to: cat yronwode.
Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to catherine yronwode for the creation and maintenance of this site.




LUCKY MOJO is a large domain that is organized into a number of
interlinked web sites, each with its own distinctive theme and look.
You are currently reading

Here are some other LUCKY MOJO web sites you can visit:

Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic by cat yronwode:a materia magica of African-American conjure
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy and sacred geometry
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
The Lucky Mojo Esoteric Archive: captured internet text files on occult and spiritual topics
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive:FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century occultist
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, and more
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races

Hoodoo and Blues Lyrics: transcriptions of blues songs about African-American folk magic
EaRhEaD!'S Syd Barrett Lyrics Site: lyrics by the founder of the Pink Floyd Sound
The Lesser Book of the Vishanti: Dr. Strange Comics as a magical system, by cat yronwode
The Spirit Checklist: a 1940s newspaper comic book by Will Eisner, indexed by cat yronwode
Fit to Print: collected weekly columns about comics and pop culture by cat yronwode
Eclipse Comics Index: a list of all Eclipse comics, albums, and trading cards

Hoodoo Rootwork Correspondence Course with cat yronwode: 52 weekly lessons in book form
Hoodoo Conjure Training Workshops: hands-on rootwork classes, lectures, and seminars
Apprentice with catherine yronwode: personal 3-week training for qualified HRCC graduates
Lucky Mojo Community Forum: an online message board for our occult spiritual shop customers
Lucky Mojo Hoodoo Rootwork Hour Radio Show: learn free magic spells via podcast download
Lucky Mojo Videos: see video tours of the Lucky Mojo shop and get a glimpse of the spirit train
Lucky Mojo Publishing: practical spell books on world-wide folk magic and divination
Lucky Mojo Newsletter Archive: subscribe and receive discount coupons and free magick spells
LMC Radio Network: magical news, information, education, and entertainment for all!
Follow Us on Facebook: get company news and product updates as a Lucky Mojo Facebook Fan

The Lucky Mojo Curio Co.: spiritual supplies for hoodoo, magick, witchcraft, and conjure
Herb Magic: complete line of Lucky Mojo Herbs, Minerals, and Zoological Curios, with sample spells
Mystic Tea Room Gift Shop: antique, vintage, and contemporary fortune telling tea cups

catherine yronwode: the eclectic and eccentric author of many of the above web pages
nagasiva yronwode: nigris (333), nocTifer, lorax666, boboroshi, Troll Towelhead, !
Garden of Joy Blues: former 80 acre hippie commune near Birch Tree in the Missouri Ozarks
Liselotte Erlanger Glozer: illustrated articles on collectible vintage postcards
Jackie Payne: Shades of Blues: a San Francisco Bay Area blues singer

Lucky Mojo Site Map: the home page for the whole Lucky Mojo electron-pile
All the Pages: descriptive named links to about 1,000 top-level Lucky Mojo web pages
How to Contact Us: we welcome feedback and suggestions regarding maintenance of this site
Make a Donation: please send us a small Paypal donation to keep us in bandwidth and macs!

Arcane Archive: thousands of archived Usenet posts on religion, magic, spell-casting, mysticism, and spirituality
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: psychic reading, conjure, and hoodoo root doctor services
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic, plus shopping
Crystal Silence League: a non-denominational site; post your prayers; pray for others; let others pray for you
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Hoodoo Psychics: connect online or call 1-888-4-HOODOO for instant readings now from a member of AIRR
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith; prayer-light services; Smallest Church in the World
Mystic Tea Room: tea leaf reading, teacup divination, and a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Satan Service: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including ex-slave narratives & interviews
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective, plus shopping
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Yronwode Institution: the Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology