Witches' Night on Hexenkopf Rock back patch
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Five witches dance merrily around a sacred Oak on Hexenkopf Rock and sing an ominous song. This Pennsylvania Dutch inspired drawing and screenprint is an ode to Hexenkopf Rock and the mysteries and legends which surround it. Hexenkopf, meaning “Witch’s Head,” is a stony summit in William’s Township in the Northampton County of Pennsylvania which was an area first settled predominantly by German immigrants. Coming from a superstitious and witch-fearing culture, the settler’s brought their unique fears and myths along with them and found equivalents in their new land. In Northern Germany the Brocken mountain, highest of all peaks in the Harz mountain range, had been the known meeting place of ill-intended witches and it is thought that these myths found their American equivalent in Hexenkopf Rock, another stony summit above all the rest. Over three centuries, reports of witch's sabbaths, hexed crops and livestock, and numerous sightings of apparitions have all contributed to Hexenkopf Rock's legend. Furthermore, Braucherei, or pow-wow magic, first developed in this area thanks to Johann Peter Seiler, an 18th-century healer and Braucher famed for curing hundreds if not thousands of people in his lifetime. A unique aspect of Braucherei is that once a sickness is drawn from a person it must be placed into something else. In the case of Brauchers around Easton Hexenkopf Rock became that receptacle only furthering its ill-begotten legend. The text in ‘Witch’s Night on Hexenkopf Rock’ is from a witch's song recorded by a nervous onlooker who was allegedly lured to the rock by the melodic singing of a concert of witches one dark Walpurgisnacht (Meaning “Witch’s Night,” April 30th, May-Eve). A special detail is the white fox in the lower right corner. There are numerous stories of a white fox seen about Hexenkopf that would cause trouble for trappers and mischief-makers who ventured near the area. It was believed the white fox was the embodiment of witch spirits past who had gathered there at the stony summit. Trappers reported strange occurrences when they saw the fox and often their bait went missing but the trap remained untouched. Many superstitious hunters tried to leave poisoned food out for the elusive animal but it, too, went untouched. Days later the Trapper’s dogs would eat the poisonous food and perish. Such ill-happenings were often blamed on the white fox and the animal's accompanying witch spirits!
Witch’s Night on Hexenkopf Rock is drawn in the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition with motifs such as hex signs, hearts, tulips, and hand-written calligraphy. The witches dance and sing surrounded by their animal familiars as well as local crops picked from the farmer’s fields. Cauldrons and broomsticks flank the witches, the former springing with life as a symbol of the hearty fruits of meddlesome labors and the latter alluding to the magical creed of balance and duality (as above, so below) and fertility of spirit. On the ground lay loose horseshoes freshly filched from the doors of superstitious neighbors. It is believed that an upturned horshoe placed above the entrance to a house or barn would protect from malevolent witchcraft. ‘Witch’s Night on Hexenkopf Rock’ was inspired by the rare 1965 book The Hexenkopf: Mystery, Myth, and Legend written by Easton resident Ned D. Heindel.
Following is the full song of the witches:
CONCERT OF WITCHES:
“Merrily dance we, merrily dance we, round this old Oak tree,
Full many will dance this terrible night, but none will be merry but we;
The ships shall dance on the yeasty waves, the billows shall dance and roll,
And many a screech of despair shall rise from many a sin-sick soul.”
“I saw Dame Williams sitting alone,
And I dried up the marrow within her hip-bone,
When she arose she could scarcely limp —
Why did I do it? She called me “an Imp.”
CONCERT OF WITCHES:
“Be merry, be merry, the lightning’s gleam itself were sufficient light,
But we’ve got us a phosphor-gleaming corpse to be our candle to-night;
There never was night more foul and black, there was never fiercer blast;
Oh! many a prank the winds will play, ere this terrible night be past.”
“I scratched the justice’s swine on the head,
When he wakes in the morning he’ll find them dead;
And I saw a rich villain, at his house door,
Loaded with gold, but crimson’d with gore.”
CONCERT OF WITCHES:
“Be merry, the fiends are roving now! and death is abroad on the wind,
Join hands in the dance, to-morrow’s light full many a corpse shall find;
Our sisters are out, on mischief bent, the cows their milk shall fail,
The old maid’s cat shall be rode to death, and her lap-dog lose his tail,
The farmer in vain shall seek his horse, who fasten’d his stable-door
With lock and with bolt, if he has not nail’d a horseshoe firmly o’er.”
Witch’s Night on Hexenkopf Rock is original artwork drawn and screenprinted by Adrienne Rozzi.
Measures approximately 10.5" x 13"
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