Trotterhead (trotterkopf in German) is a mysterious entity of Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore. The creature is said to be
related to witchcraft and described similar to the European bedgoblin. Early colonial Pennsylvania was a melting pot of various European religious influences, as William Penn's promise of religious tolerance opened the doors for many Christian sects: the Anabaptists, Quakers, Lutherans, German Reformed, Catholics, and all manner of religious mystics and free-thinkers. This allowed the Pennsylvania German folk magic tradition to be born. According to Patrick J. Donmoyer's book Powwowing in Pennsylvania: Braucherei and the Ritual of Everyday Life, "One of the most celebrated of all written blessings used to protect the house and home from the influence of...an entity known as the Trotterkopf - a name that is not easily translated into English, but has been sometimes called 'Trotterhead'...Among the Pennsylvania Dutch, it was perceived that the Trotterkopf was either the spiritual form of a witch, or a spirit sent by a witch to cause harm (Donmoyer 178)."
According to the seekerspa.blogspot.com, "The Long Lost Friend was compiled and written by Hohman in the early
1800s and published in German in 1820 in Berks County, PA. It was translated into English in 1846, as The Long Secreted Friend, and again in 1856 when it became The Long Lost Friend. Different editions of this volume remain in print to this day. Often called 'The Hex Book of the Pennsylvania Dutch,' The Long Lost Friend is a collection of remedies, prayers, sympathetic magic, and spells - much of the book takes its folk magic from other books or pamphlets of the time...It was a passage in The Long Lost Friend where I first encountered Trotterhead:
'TO PREVENT WITCHES FROM BEWITCHING CATTLE. TO BE WRITTEN AND PLACED IN THE STABLE; AND AGAINST BAD MEN AND EVIL SPIRITS WHICH NIGHTLY TORMENT OLD AND YOUNG PEOPLE. TO BE WRITTEN AND PLACED ON THE BEDSTEAD.
'Trotter Head, I forbid thee my house and premises; I forbid thee my horse and cow stable; I forbid thee my bedstead, that thou mayst not breathe upon me; breathe into some other house, until thou hast ascended every hill, until thou has counted every fencepost, and until thou hast crossed every water. And thus dear day may come again into my house, in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.'
This will certainly protect and free all persons and animals from witchcraft."
Seekerspa.blogspot.com elaborates on the creature, stating that it was the Pennsylvania Dutch's equivalent of the bedgoblin.
SightingsQuaker Cemetery is located along Quaker Church Road in Perryopolis Pennsylvania. According to urban legend this small cemetery which dates back to the early 1700's and was founded by the Quaker pioneers, was once used as a spot for the practice of black magic, as well as a place to kill those believed to be witches. Two dark spirits are believed to inhabit the cemetery. One is said to push anyone to the ground, who either disrespects the graves, or who dares to visit the cemetery alone on certain nights.
- Powwowing in Pennsylvania Braucherei and the Ritual of Everyday Life Book by Patrick J. Donmoyer