Herbert Hummel

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angels, folklore, Joseph Heckman, Bernville, witches, sewing, Christmas, whistling


A handwritten letter from Herbert Hummel addressed to Alfred L. Shoemaker, dated December 29, 1948. Within, Hummel writes to provide Shoemaker with a few old folk beliefs he learned from his grandfather in Bernville, Pennsylvania. Topics range from witches and sewing to beliefs surrounding Christmas and whistling on Sundays.


Herbert Hummel


Alfred L. Shoemaker

Corresponds to:

Packet 288-2


Stony Creek Mills, Pennsylvania


Dec. 29 1948

To Dr. Alfred Shoemaker

I follow your old Berks Folklore in the Eagle and like it very much. I am going to give you a few old folk beliefs my grandfather use to tell me many years ago. His name was Joseph Heckman he was born in Bernville Pa about 100 years ago.

1. He said to find out when a witch came to the house just lay a broom at the door entrance when she came she would pick up the broom to step over it would mean death in this way they would know who the witch was.

2. Don’t sew on Good Friday to do so means that lightning will strike any article sewed.

3. On Xmas night all the dead turn over in their grave.

4. On Xmas night all the animal talk to each other.

5. Don’t whistle on Sunday to do so makes the angels weep.

6. Don’t talk about the dead it disturbs their rest.

7. Don’t let a knife lay on the table you can’t sleep well if you do.

Herbert Hummel



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Letter From Herbert Hummel to Alfred L. Shoemaker, December 29, 1948



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