Monday, December 19, 2011

The Family Witch

Grandmother Scheufele in her "church room"
Years ago, I interviewed my grandmother for an Anthropology project.  The topic was my great-great-grandmother who was reputed with being a psychic-medium.  Grandmother Scheufele had a room in her home that was called her "church room".  Here she would conduct services.  My grandmother Pauline remembered attending one or two of these services where she witnessed Grandmother Scheufele going into a trance and speaking in a voice that was not her own.  Mt grandmother claimed these "services" were actually seances.  Later in my grandmother's life, when she was married, she was having some health issues.  Her mother took her to the doctor, but nothing seemed to be helping.  Finally, they went to talk to Grandmother Scheufele. It was suggested (by Grandmother Scheufele) that someone (my grandmother's mother-in-law) had placed a curse on her.  She told my great-grandmother to cut open my grandmother's pillow and there she would find a hard lump of feathers.  They were instructed to burn the lump of feathers in an outdoor fire while saying an incantation.  Unfortunately, my grandmother was unable to remember what the specific incantation was, but did say that it was to take place during a specific time of day and month.  After burning the feathers as instructed, my grandmother began to heal. 

Another story involving Grandmother Scheufele had to do with my grandmother's cousin Will.  Will lived with his grandparents because of his stepmother (who, according to my grandmother, did not like Will and was not very nice to him).  Will was described as something of a daredevil.  He like to torment the bull at the nearby farm and generally wasn't afraid of anything.  One night while he was downstairs at Grandmother Scheufele's house, he saw a face looking in the window at him.  He screamed and threw the closest weapon he had- a hammer- right through the window.  Grandmother Scheufele came to see what the problem was, and after Will told her what happened, she told Will that his stepmother had sent the devil after him.

The paper I wrote for my class was titled "The Family Witch" though my grandmother took offense to that reference.  She would get downright angry if she heard me refer to Grandmother Scheufele as being a witch.  Not that it is meant in any derogatory way.  However, recently I discovered that Grandmother Scheufele had a book (or possibly more than one) that was written in German (she came from Germany) that contained recipes for potions.  She also had a crystal ball.

It's unfortunate that I was never able to meet this fascinating woman.  Though I am thankful that was able to record some of the stories about her before my grandmother's passing.