Touched to cure warts – “There is a widespread belief that warts can be ‘charmed off’ by touching them with the hand of a corpse. I have seen this tried several times. The warts disappeared after a while, just as they generally do under any other treatment, or with no treatment at all. On the other side of the balance, I have met an undertaker who handles many bodies every year, and both his hands are covered with warts!” ~Randolph OMF 131

To treat a goiter – “Some people believe that the only way to cure a goiter is to rub it with a dead man’s hand. A small town undertaker tells me that an old woman in the neighborhood is always coming to his place, wanting to try this.” ~Randolph OMF 148

Touching to take away blemishes – “The touch of a dead man’s hand is popularly supposed to discourage moles, blackheads, enlarged pores, and other facial blemishes. I have seen a little girl, perhaps three years old, dragged into a village undertaking parlor and ‘tetched,’ in the belief that a large red birthmark on the child’s face might thus be removed.” ~Randolph OMF 163


Randolph, Vance Ozark Magic and Folklore (OMF)