“Woo hoo, witchy woman
See how high she flies
Woo hoo witchy woman
She got the moon in her eye.”
- The Eagles
I've written about witchcraft in the old Ozarks before, but it's an interesting subject. Folklorist Vance Randolph spent a fair amount of time researching the topic firsthand from folks directly involved in one way or another, via stories or experiences. It's funny how the culture in our part of the world has changed so drastically in the last 100 years or so. Nobody I know believes in this sort of thing anymore – or maybe they do, but don't say so.
Mr. Randolph (1892-1980) collected stories from people he interviewed both formally and in casual conversation over the years, writing it all down and filing it away to eventually be compiled into book form. All of the following information comes from him.
To kill a witch, draw a basic picture of the person on the north side of a blackoak tree and drive a nail through the heart of the picture and leave the nail. The witch will soon die unless he or she finds the nail and pulls it out of the tree. Then you probably better watch yourself, if they have any idea who did that.
Witches can kill you in many ways, but one is to scrap graveyard dirt with the left forefinger at midnight. She then mixes it with the blood of a black bird, preferably a crow, but a black chicken can work too. She then ties the death concoction up in a rag that has touched a corpse and buries it under your doorstep.
Witches can also kill by walking three times clockwise around a sick person's bed – and simply walking around the house the person is in is an acceptable method.
A witch can give you a cold by placing a lock of your hair or even your photo under the eaves of a house so they rain will fall on it.
When a witch enters your home, any peeled onions in sight will instantly become poisonous. Throw them out. If you suspect someone of being a witch, put a little salt in their chair. If she is a witch, the salt will melt and their clothes will stick to the seat. It's a known fact that witches don't like salt, so if someone complains their food is too salty, when no one else seems to think so, that may be a sign you have a witch on your hands.
Keep witches away from your house by hammering three nails, in the shape of a triangle, into your front door. The nails represent the Holy Trinity. You can also string the entrails of an owl over your door. I think I'd try out the nail method first, though.
Children are protected against witches if they wear a necklace of dried burdock roots, cut up into pieces and strung like beads.
Clothing that has been bewitched should be buried. Or it can be washed in milk and hung up to dry in below freezing temperatures.
The remedy for cream that won't readily churn into butter because it has been witched is to drop a silver coin into it. A hot horseshoe has also been known to work. Whoever is witching your butter will feel it!
There's more I could share, but I'll leave with this for now. To empower yourself against someone you feel is being assisted by dark forces, repeat this rhyme:
God the Father is with me,
God the Son may be with thee,
The Holy Ghost is with us all
But I will rise and you will fall.
- Wes Franklin writes That History Guy column each week for The Neosho Daily News.