Ozark Encyclopedia – M – Madstone

For treating rabies – “The madstone treatment for rabies was once popular in many parts of the United States and is still well known in the Ozarks. The madstones I have seen are porous and resemble some sort of volcanic ash, but the natives all claim that they were taken from the entrails of deer. These stones are rare now, and they are handed down from father to son, never sold. No charge is made for using the stone, although the patient may make the owner a present if he likes. I have never seen the madstone in actual use, but they tell me that if the dog was really mad the stone sticks fast to the wound and draws the ‘pizen’ out. After awhile the stone falls off, and is placed in a vessel of warm milk, which immediately turns green. The stone is then applied to the wound again, and so on until it no longer imparts a green color to the fresh milk. Virtually every old-time hillman believes that if the madstone is applied soon enough and sticks properly, the patient will never suffer from rabies, even if the dog was mad.” ~Randolph OMF 140

More madstone lore – “Homer Davis, of Monett, Missouri, used to have a madstone, shaped like a half-moon. The old-timers say that it was always dipped in hot milk before applying it to a wound. It was a porous stone, said to have been taken from the stomach of an albino deer more than seventy-five years ago.” ~Randolph OMF 141

Curing bite from a rabid mule – “In 1931 Mr. S. T. Dailey of Strasburg, Missouri, was bitten by a rabid mule. The stone adhered to Dailey’s wound for nine hours. Jackson says the stone is often applied to the same patient several times. In the case of a little girl from Independence, Missouri, it stuck for fifty-five minutes and then fell off. Jackson cleaned the thing in sweet milk, dried it carefully, and two days later he applied it again. This second time the stone adhered for thirty-five minutes. Several days later it was tried again, but failed to stick at all, which the neighbors regarded as evidence that the child was safe from rabies.” ~Randolph OMF 141

For rabies – “A madstone for rabies. Got that stone from a deer, not all deer has it, but they’d find one that happened to have that in it. Keep it. They claimed they’d put that on a mad dog bite and it’d draw out the rabies poison. I know a fellow they claimed they used that on. He’s ninety years old and he was bit back in these hills, right back over yonder. Back in the woods, he was hunting and this dog bit him. They claim it was a mad dog, had rabies, and they used that madstone on him.” ~Carter and Krause HRIO 19

“Treat a mad dog bite with a mad stone. Everyone in the community where I lived believed this. The mad stone was obtained from the entrails of a deer and was a prized possession.” ~Parler FBA II 2493

“Back in the old days, it was some kind of stone or something that you put on mad dog or mad fox bites. I remember my father talking about people, when bitten, going to Little Rock to the mad stone. On some people it would stay on different length of time, and people would say that he (a person bitten) had a lot of poison in him if the stone stuck on him for a considerable length of time.” ~Parler FBA II 2498

Carter, Kay & Bonnie Krause Home Remedies of the Illinois Ozarks (HRIO)

Parler, Mary Celestia Folk Beliefs from Arkansas (FBA)

Randolph, Vance Ozark Magic and Folklore (OMF)

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