VI and VII Books of Moses in folklore

Hyatt, Harry Middleton, Folk-Lore from Adams County, Illinois. 2nd and rev. ed. [n.p.] 1965.

15606. "Did you know the ocean is full of money, the richest place in the world. When I was young a German man told me if he could get two more people with as much nerve as I had, we could all get rich, but he was afraid he could not get two more like me. This is what he told me he would do. Get two white turtledoves, then he would open a window and put a table against it, then one would sit at each end and one in the middle as the table would be against the window, then he would lay the Book of Seven Moses on that table, then he would pull off one of the heads of the white doves and take that blood and start at one end of the table and go all around until he got to the other end, then he would pull the head off the other dove and mark the blood around again, then he would pick up the Book of Seven Moses and read one hour, then the one at the end read an hour until all read in that circle. You would only have to sit there a few minutes when you would hear an awful noise coming in that window. If you could stand the noise, you could get what you wish for. If the money from the ocean, it would just come rolling in that window. Anything you wished for would come in that window. This man's grandfather had brought a Book of Seven Moses from the old country and he could get anything he wanted."

Hyatt, Harry Middleton, Hoodoo-conjuration-witchcraft-rootwork; beliefs accepted by many Negroes and white persons, these being orally recorded among Blacks and whites. 5 vols. Hannibal, Mo., Western Pub. 1970.

Popular beliefs and superstitions: a compendium of American folklore: from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett / edited by Wayland D. Hand, Anna Casetta, Sondra B. Thiederman. (Boston, Mass.: G.K. Hall, 1981.)


25600. (The following beliefs about the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses came from Rosy, a self-confessed witch.) "It's a German origin, but this not from the authentic Bible. It's a magician Moses, and a lot of people think it's from the Bible, but it's not. She (Rosy) practiced practically everything that she did from the Seventh Book of Moses. But she claimed to be a seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, which I don't believe she was. She died when she was about sixty."

NNP: "Did she tell you anything about how a person might go about getting to be a witch? Was there anything you had to do or anything of that sort?

Inf.: "No. The only thing she says was to consult this book and follow the practices, particularly read in backwards first. Start at the back of the book — at the bottom of the last page and read it upward, every word backwards, else you would become insane. And never divulge anything I have to the like sex, for instance, a man. If I was to tell a man any of these things — just re­peat them to him, even though it wasn't for information, I would lose all power to per­form this act, whatever it might be, and might lose my power altogether to him and be be subject to him. The needle trick (explained elsewhere), the mannikins — sticking pins in them and repeating people's names — she practiced all. of them, and all the recommended arts and conjures in the Sixth and Seventh Book of Moses, which was their bible" (F.S., M, 56, machinist and psychologist, Fr.-Ger., Louisville, 1956).

25601. "Another thing that the informant's aunt was reluctant to tell -- and something that had a great following among the old German population was something about 'the Seventh book of Moses.' It seemed that a few, select people —- usually old wierdies, I guess — had come somehow to own this mysterious old book, and it gave them great supernatural power. I can remember hearing grown men whisper about this when I was a child (L.W., F, Cleveland, 1958).

25602. The Seventh Book of Moses was lost from the canon, and was never incorporated in the Bible. Some people have copies. It tells how to call up spirits, contact the dead, and gain the powers of sorcery. When anyone died in the area, when her father was young, they stated it was because the woman in the county had a copy of this book, and wanted this person dead (L.H., F, 23, student, Ger., Alliance, 1965).

25603. The Seventh Book of Moses is supposed to be part of the Bible expurgated, because of its dangerous powers. Priests and witches all must have one. (Note: It is a magician's book of sorcery, not by Moses, the prophet to the Hebrews.) Priests dare not read it, nor the laity except if spe­cial dispensation was given, I believe only by the Pope, and that not for study, but reference in psychical research or other approved profound reason. All powers of a Priest are conveyed to him only by a bishop at Ordination only -- never by study or practices. All other doctrines must be superstitions (F.S., M, 56, machinist and psychologist, Fr.-Ger., Louisville, 1956)

Becoming a Witch

25776. "There's a certain book in the Bible that you would read backwards to become a witch. It's something to do with Moses (probably the Seventh Book of Moses, MP), but I never was that inquisitive to find out what it was... It was considered the book of the devil. What it was I don't know" (Mrs. M.S., F, 49, h.wife and pract. nurse, Penn.-Ger., Lakewood, 1958).


29343. If you walk along a cemetery at a cer­tain time in a certain direction and read from the Seven Books of Moses, things will happen (J.J., M, 59, waiter, Negro, Cleve­land, 1958).