Ozark Encyclopedia – H – Hair

Dog hair for rabies – “‘A hair of the dog that bit you,’ in the Ozarks, does not mean simply a morning shot of whiskey to repair a hangover. People actually do swallow hair from a dog that has bitten them. I once knew a man who was in some doubt as to which of two dogs had bitten his little girl; finally he killed both of the animals, and forced the child to eat a few hairs from each dog’s tail. This man would not admit that he believed such a procedure would prevent rabies. He said that the dogs ought to be killed anyhow, and that the business of swallowing the hairs was a very old custom, and there might be something in it.” ~Randolph OMF 142

Burning cow’s hair to remove a spell – “Some witch masters cure a witched horse or cow by snipping off a bit of hair from its head and burning the hair, the idea being that this will make a sore place on the witch’s head and thus cause her to remove the spell.” ~Randolph OMF 296

Burying to promote growth – “A mountain girl of my acquaintance placed a lock of her hair under a stone in a running stream, believing that the water would make her hair glossy and attractive. Another way to promote the growth of hair is to bury a ‘twist’ of it under the roots of a white walnut tree, in the light of the moon.” ~Randolph OMF 165

Hair and fingernails used to summon a future husband – “Some hillfolk say that a girl can call up a phantom of the man she is to marry by wrapping a lock of hair with some of her fingernail clippings in a green leaf and thrusting them into the ashes in the fireplace. Then she sits down before the fire. When the hair and fingernails begin to get warm, the ghostly appearance of her future husband is supposed to rescue them from the fire. Sometimes several girls try this at once. The door must be left open, and everyone must maintain absolute silence.” ~Randolph OMF 177

Hair sewn into a wedding dress – “Mountain girls sometimes conceal a lock of their own hair in the hem of another girl’s wedding dress, or thread a fine needle with a single hair which is then sewn into some inconspicuous part of the bride’s outfit. Exactly what sort of ‘conjure’ this is I can’t say, but it is akin to witchcraft, and somehow benefits the owner of the hair at the poor bride’s expense. I know of one girl who borrowed a reading lens and examined her wedding garments very carefully, to make sure that the women who helped make the dress had not surreptitiously sewn some of their hair into it.” ~Randolph OMF 189

Hair nest causes headaches – “If a bird builds a nest with hair that comes from your head, you’ll have a headache until the nest falls apart.” ~Parler FBA II 2383

Hair tied to tree for love – “A girl will obtain a lock of hair from the man she loves and, along with a lock of her own hair, tie it to a limb of a tree with a piece of ribbon.” ~Parler FBA VII 7057

Parler, Mary Celestia Folk Beliefs from Arkansas (FBA)

Randolph, Vance Ozark Magic and Folklore (OMF)

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