The Southern Appalachian mountains have their own kind of magic. It evolved out of multiple traditions and the need to survive amidst poverty and a harsh landscape. But much of this magic has been lost through the ages, buried and swallowed by the mountains that birthed it.

Today, on the H Files, we piece together legends, superstitions, and Becky’s own memories from growing up in this region to give you an overview of some of the magic and lore surrounding this area that still continues to be isolated from the rest of the world. Let’s talk about Appalachian Witchcraft.

Listen to “The H Files Episode 6: Magic in Appalachia, or Shearer Terror” on Spreaker.

The H Files

Welcome to The H Files: a limited-run miniseries where we delve deep into the folklore and science behind ghostly sightings and urban legends. This series began September 1 and will run every other Tuesday until November. If you would like to discuss anything you hear on the episode, please reach out to us in our Facebook Group or through Instagram. And, as always, if you have something you’d like to contribute to the show, you can always email us at


Vance, Zach. “Appalachian Witchery: How Modern Witchcraft is Practiced.” APNews. Nov. 5, 2017. Accessed 5 Nov. 2020.

Granny Witches of Appalachia” Booneville Sentinel. Sept 7, 2019. Accessed 5 Nov. 2020.

Richards, Jake. Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic from Appalachia. Newburyport, MA: Weiser Books. 2019. Find it on Amazon at

Flannick, Jake. “Superstition in Southern Appalachia.Smoky Mountain Living Magazine. Oct. 12, 2014. Accessed 5 Nov. 2020.

Wigginton, Eliot. The Foxfire Book: Hog Dressing, Log Cabin Building, Mountain Crafts and Foods, Planting by the Signs, Snake Lore, Hunting Tales, Faith Healing, Moonshining, and Other Affairs of Plain Living. Anchor Books: New York. 1972. Find it on Amazon at

Manget, Luke. “Sangin’ In the Mountains: The Ginseng Economy of the Southern Appalachians, 1865-1900.” Appalachian Journal, vol. 40, no. 1/2, 2012, pp. 28–56. JSTOR, Accessed 5 Nov. 2020.

Manning, M. Chris. “The Material Culture of Ritual Concealments in the United States.” Historical Archaeology, vol. 48, no. 3, 2014, pp. 52–83. JSTOR, Accessed 5 Nov. 2020.