Minnow in whiskey for alcoholism – “Another way of curing drunkards is to put a live minnow in whiskey and let it die there. The poor chap who drinks this contaminated whiskey doesn’t notice anything wrong with the taste, but it is supposed to destroy his appetite for liquor.” ~Randolph OMF 151

Minnow swallowed for whooping cough – “A great many Ozarkers believe that a live minnow swallowed by a baby will prevent it from ever having the whooping cough. Miss Jewell Perriman, Jenkins, Missouri, tells me that this is not a superstition but a well-known fact, and she has seen it demonstrated several times. Other hillfolk think that it isn’t necessary for the child to swallow the minnow; they just put it inside the infant’s mouth and pull it out again by a string attached for that purpose. Once, in Washington county, Arkansas, I saw a power doctor put a live minnow into a baby’s mouth; his purpose in doing this was not made clear to me, but the child did not catch whooping cough. It died about four months later from some other ailment, which the parents diagnosed as ‘summer complaint.’” ~Randolph OMF 156

Fish head in bag against convulsions – “The child won’t ever have convulsions if you put a fish head in a bag and hang it around the waist of the child.” ~Parler FBA II 1927

Catfish for whooping cough – “Children having whooping cough, cough in the face of a live catfish.” ~Parler FBA III 3876


Parler, Mary Celestia Folk Beliefs from Arkansas (FBA)

Randolph, Vance Ozark Magic and Folklore (OMF)