Bloodstoppers, a type of faith healer, were thought to have the miraculous power to stop bleeding in both humans and animals, and this belief persists today. Bloodstopping is a term used to describe a traditional faith healing custom in the northern U.S. forests (such as Wisconsin), Canada, the Ozark Mountains, and the Appalachians. The most popular practice was to walk towards the East while reciting Ezekiel 16:6. This is known as ‘the blood verse.’
And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.
Some blood stoppers could recite it just once to get the bleeding to stop, while others might recite it three times or more. Some people included the name of the bleeding person, while others didn’t. There are stories of faith healers who would insert the client’s name into the verse in place of the word ‘thee.’
Nose bleeds were a common theme in stories about blood stoppers. There is an account of a healer who could stop a child’s nosebleed by taking a drop of the blood and making the sign of the cross on their forehead with the blood. Incidentally, she did not use the Bible verse, just the sign of the cross.
Blood-stopping was said to be a supernatural ability that could be passed on to others, but only to a very small number of people. According to some practitioners in the Ozarks, the secret could only be given to people of the opposite sex. Some say that when it is passed down to each generation, it should always be given to member of the opposite sex. A few blood-stoppers told him that it could only be “told” to three people, and that the third person would “take the charm.”
Many faith healers believe that the power of the blood verse comes from its connection to God. They believe that when they speak it over an injury or wound, they are invoking God’s power to help with healing.