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One of my favorite witch anecdotes from Vance Randolph is about old Granny Whittaker. She falls in with many other famous Ozark Granny women like Gram French, who were both feared and sought after for cures and remedies. Here’s what Randolph has to say about Whittaker:

“I have met elderly folk near Marionville, Missouri, who remember the doings of Granny Whittaker. On one occasion she asked a neighbor’s daughter to hold the Whittaker baby for a few moments, but the little girl refused to touch the infant. ‘It stinks,’ she said bluntly. ‘All right, young lady,’ cried the Whittaker woman, ‘you’ll suffer for them remarks!’ From that day forward the girl had fits, sometimes three or four fits in a single day. The poor child always cried out that she saw ‘old Granny Whittaker, in the shape of a turkey’ just before the attacks came on. The girl’s father could see nothing, but he often fired his pistol in the direction of the phantom turkey pointed out by the ‘fitified’ girl. Once old Granny Whittaker lost a finger in some mysterious accident, and the neighbors thought that one of this man’s bullets might have somehow struck her hand. The local conjurers and power doctors ‘sot up spells’ against Granny Whittaker for years, but without any visible results. It is said that one famous witch master came all the way from Little Rock, Arkansas, to match magic with the Whittaker witch but accomplished nothing.”