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Hex (or Hexerai)

Hex (or Hexerai)

General term for witchcraft spells among the Pennsylvania Dutch settlers of America, especially those of southeastern Pennsylvania. Beliefs in magic were brought to the area in the later seventeenth century and given focus in the Rosicrucian group that settled on Wissahikon Creek in Germantown. The group, generally referred to as the Woman in the Wilderness, dissolved in the early eighteenth century, but its members became practitioners of magic, astrology, and healing in the area and were the forerunners of the later hex meisters.

The standard textbook of hex spells and folk remedies used by hex meisters, The Long Lost Friend or Pow-Wows, was published by John George Hohman of Berks County, Pennsylvania, in 1820. The book includes instruction for a variety of magic formulas to accomplish practical tasks, as indicated by some of the topics covered: "Against Mishaps and Dangers in the House," "Treating a Sick Cow," "To Stop Bleeding at Any Time," and "To Charm Enemies, Robbers, and Murderers." Many Pennsylvania barns are still decorated with "hex signs," known as hexafoos, originally placed to keep away evil spirits, but today largely a decorative addition.

Sources:

Hark, Ann. Hex Marks the Spot in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1938.

Hohman, John George. The Long Lost Friend or Pow-Wows. N.p., 1820.

Lewis, Arthur H. Hex. New York: Pocket Books, 1972.

Sachse, Julius F. The German Pietists of Provencial Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, 1895. Reprint, New York: AMS Press, 1970.

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hex

hex, witchcraft or one who works it. The word is of German origin, and beliefs connected with it spread from Europe to the United States, especially to the Pennsylvania Dutch country. The hex can be worked by either sex, but more commonly by a man, usually an amateur or professional hex "doctor." Such a person is thought to be able to control the forces of nature, cure sickness, and thwart the intentions of evildoers by means of magic formulas handed down from the Middle Ages and from Romani (Gypsy) practitioners. The colorful, geometric hex signs found on Pennsylvania Dutch barns are meant to protect the animals within from malicious curses, spells, and the evil eye.

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hex

hex1 / heks/ • v. [tr.] cast a spell on; bewitch: he hexed her with his fingers. • n. a magic spell; a curse: a death hex. ∎  a witch. hex2 • adj. & n. 1. short for hexadecimal. 2. short for hexagonal (see hexagon).

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hex

hex a magic spell, a curse. The word comes (in the mid 19th century, as a verb) via Pennsylvanian German, from German hexen (verb), Hexe (noun).

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hex

hex Short for hexadecimal.

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hex

hexaxe (US ax), Backs, Bax, fax, flax, lax, max, pax, Sachs, sax, saxe, tax, wax •co-ax • addax • Fairfax • Ceefax •Halifax • Telefax • Filofax • banjax •Ajax •pickaxe (US pickax) • gravlax •gravadlax • poleaxe • toadflax •parallax •battleaxe (US battleax) •minimax • climax • Betamax • anthrax •hyrax •borax, storax, thorax •syntax • surtax • beeswax • earwax •Berks, Lourenço Marques, Marks, Marx, Parks, Sparks •annex, convex, ex, flex, hex, perplex, Rex, sex, specs, Tex, Tex-Mex, vex •ibex • index • codex • tubifex •spinifex • pontifex • Telex • triplex •simplex • multiplex •ilex, silex •complex • duplex • circumflex • Amex •annexe • Kleenex • apex • Tipp-Ex •haruspex • perspex • Pyrex •Durex, Lurex, murex •Middlesex • unisex • Semtex • latex •cortex, Gore-tex, vortex •vertex • Jacques •breeks, idée fixe, maxixe, Weeks

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hex

hex (hɛks) Computing hexadecimal (notation)

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