284: Ozark Taboos

There are a great many taboos in the Ozarks, inherited mostly from European traditions but with a few indigenous beliefs scattered in. The world of the Ozark hill person was a constant battle against nature, sickness, and the forces of evil. A simple misstep could potentially cause great strife to one’s family and home. The... Continue Reading →

279: Fingernails

Fingernails have long been used in folk traditions for both healing and magical purposes. The fingernail, much like hair which is often used in a similar way, is a symbolic connection between the healer and the patient. Through the manipulation of the fingernail the patient is thereby manipulated as well, for good or bad depending... Continue Reading →

278: Wart Cures

The first post I wrote in this series was about warts, and since then I’ve discovered that wart charming and curing represents one of the largest classes of healing magic in the Ozarks. Why? Probably because it was at one time a common problem among hillfolk, one that wasn’t life threatening but a nuisance nonetheless.... Continue Reading →

277: Thrash Charming

“Thrash” or “thrush” was a common infection among hill children. Today it’s fought with antifungal mouth washes or lozenges, but in the Ozarks, long ago, it was mostly cured using a “thrash doctor”. This was a person, most often male, who had never met their father. Sometimes it was as simple as that. If your child had thrash... Continue Reading →

276: Sty Charming

If you’ve ever had a stye on your eye you will know how painful and annoying they can be. Before modern medical techniques hillfolk had their own magical cures for the infection. Most often the stye, much like the wart, was symbolically left at a certain location (like the crossroads) or “passed” onto a unknowing (and... Continue Reading →

274: Blood Stopping

Blood stopping by Bible verse, charm, or simply a look, is the realm of the Granny and Power Doctor, inherited down through a long and prestigious line from folk healers across Europe. A gesture with the hand over the wound, some mumbled phrases, and maybe a long stream of air blown from the mouth of... Continue Reading →

273: Moon

Ozark hillfolk have traditionally had a very close relationship to the Heavenly Bodies, especially the moon. Seeds were planted under certain signs of the Zodiac, plants and crops harvested under others. The Almanac was an important item in the cabin, it told the people the best and worst days for cutting hair, buying land, sheering... Continue Reading →

272: Nails

Nails have been used in Ozark folk healing and magic in a variety of ways. There’s a belief among Hillfolk that the object that hurt the individual was just as important to the healing process as the medicine put onto the wound. Knife blades, bullets, and nails were often treated with healing salves and plants... Continue Reading →

271: Axes

Axes, much like knives, have been used in Ozark folk healing as a method of symbolically “cutting” maladies like fever, cramps, or birth pains. They’ve also traditionally been employed by weather conjurers to “cut” through storms and cyclones. Under bed for chills – “Some families are accustomed to treat chills-an’-fever by placing an ax under the patient's... Continue Reading →

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