Kathleen Stokker culls from hundreds of original documents and first-hand accounts to detail the ingredients, customs, and histories behind natural remedies, potions, whispered spells, and the infamous 'black books' used for centuries by Norway's folk healers. Stokker also illuminates the surprising personalities of those who risked imprisonment and persecution to help fellow Norwegians throughout the nineteenth century, as well as the often reluctant healers in the US who continued to treat immigrants living in rural communities beyond the reach of doctors. Dodging harsh criminal laws championed by formally trained doctors, these rebel practitioners drew on ancient written and oral sources to treat everything from burns, broken bones, and whooping cough to difficult labours and emotional stress.
Kathleen Stokker is a professor of Norwegian at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. She is the author of "Folklore Fights the Nazis: Humor in Occupied Norway, 1941-45" and coauthor of "Norsk, nordmen og Norge", a Norwegian language textbook.