Body used in treating cancer – “The body of a buzzard is somehow used to treat cancer, but this must be done secretly, for the killing of a buzzard means seven years of crop failure for the whole countryside, and the man who shoots one of these birds is naturally unpopular. Dr. Oakley St. John, of Pineville, Missouri, tells me that a farmer who killed a buzzard some years ago, to treat his daughter’s cancer, so enraged his neighbors that they threatened him with bodily harm, and several people came into town to see if he could not be punished by the county officers.” ~Randolph OMF 135

Feather carried for rheumatism – “Others think that a buzzard’s feather is best of all, a belief attributed to the Cherokees; an old woman near Southwest City, Missouri, painfully bent and twisted by rheumatism, assured me that the black feather she always wore in her hair ‘had done more good than twenty year o’ doctorin’!’” ~Randolph OMF 152

“Wearing a buzzard feather in one’s hatband will ward off rheumatism.” ~Wilson BA 52

Blood used in curing cancer – “The blood of a buzzard is a cure for cancer.” ~Parler FBA II 1672

Feather down for eye trouble – “The way to cure bad eyes is to collect the down under a buzzard’s wing and put it on the eyes.” ~Parler FBA II 2160

Grease for rheumatism – “Grease from a baked buzzard is a cure for rheumatism.” ~Parler FBA III 2989

“…kill a buzzard, bury it for 3 days, dig it up, pluck off the feathers, boil the meat and take the grease off and use this.” ~Parler FBA III 2990

To ward off smallpox – “The indians believe that to ward off smallpox they should eat the flesh of the buzzard.” ~Parler FBA III 3114

“Some indians believe that the buzzard was exempt from smallpox because its foul smell keeps the disease-spirit at a distance.” ~Parler FBA III 3115

Bad luck to kill – “By killing a buzzard it means seven years of crop failure for the whole countryside.” ~Parler FBA XII 10037


Parler, Mary Celestia Folk Beliefs from Arkansas (FBA)

Randolph, Vance Ozark Magic and Folklore (OMF)