Archive for the ‘Witches’ Category

Witch Bullets   2 comments

Witch Bullets in the Ozarks were made from hair, generally horses or black hair, rolled up in a ball with beeswax, and “shot” at people by witches. When the witch bullet would hit an individual, they were either come down sick, immediately faint, or possibly even die. Some witch bullets were said to be able to travel miles to the target, while others were flipped from the thumb directly at the person.  At other times, they would simply be hidden in an individuals pocket or automobile.

Witch bullet sometimes were also shot at animals, such as cows, to make them fall ill. The process by which a witch bullet is made is generally kept a secret amongst those who speak the Devil’s language.

One issue, however, which is very much stressed……the belief is, if the bullet can’t find the target, it will return and hit the witch.

Ozark Spite Dolls   2 comments

Traditional burlap spite doll, made with all the proper fixins’.

Beverly Hillbillies “That Old Black Magic”   Leave a comment

Hoot Owls   Leave a comment

The Hoot Owl has a lot of lore attributed to it in the Ozarks, from being a herald of death, and being connected with witching.

There is a belief that was once widely practiced regarding Hoot Owl eggs. The eggs were said to be able to stop a man from drinking. Women would send children out to fetch these eggs from the nests, and cook them for their alcoholic husbands, believing this to be a sure cure.

The gizzard of a Hoot Owl is said to grant luck, when dried and worn around the neck.

The feet are suspended, claws up, in chimneys, to keep witches and evil spirits from entering the home through the chimney.

The feathers are used by some witches in their workings; sometimes burned and reduced to ashes, and at other times tightly rolled into feather balls for various curses and maledictions.

Note: Owls are a protected species in many areas; this post is again just for the preservation of folklore. Don’t go off killin’ Hoot Owls.

Witches initiations true?   Leave a comment

Are the accounts of Witch Initiations by Vance Randolph true? Are they still going on?

I’ve been getting this question in my emails lately; and I will attempt to answer them.

Are the accounts true? Did they literally happen? Anyone who would have known is long dead and gone by now; and I’ve not been able to personally trace down a single account; nor any old folks alive today that even have heard tell of such things.

Did Vance Randolph make up the whole mess? I highly doubt it, and have no reason to believe Randolph was not retelling an account he had heard, especially when you take into account the other methods he collected for becoming a witch, involving silver bullets and recitation of prayers backwards – this makes total sense, as silver bullets were quite commonly used for apotropaic devices, mainly firing at suspected witches, booger dogs, etc.

Hillbilly Satanism? Most of the old folks would have attributed any witching to a woman being in league with the Devil, the term “Speaking the Devil’s Language” being synonymous with a knowledge of maleficia. But this should not be mistaken as some religious devotion to the Demon, but could only be classified as an application of folk magic invoking the powers of Satan.

What’s the difference between descriptions of witches who undergone these alleged initiations and the average woman who had knowledge of witching? The general belief as recorded in folklore describes these women who have undergone such initiations as particularly tied to the Devil by a pact of sorts; while general knowledge of witching only entails the knowledge of certain charms that cause ill. Either would be classified as a witch, and would be considered in league with the Devil in some form or another.

This whole concept becomes problematic when you have church going women who are known to practice some form of witching, whilst considering themselves Christian.

As a final analysis – we can’t say one way or another as to whether these initiations happened, as most accounts of Ozark witches show them as solitary practitioners, and many individuals who aren’t learned in such matters often confuse a goomer doctor with a witch, especially if the goomer doctor himself also has knowledge of witching. If any such initiations actually took place in the past, it could be said that they most likely do not occur anymore, though the practice of witching still goes on and likely will always go on in this area.

 

Witch Initiations and the Fallacy of Neo-Wiccans   Leave a comment

The few people to come across Ozark Folklore in the Neopagan community will notice very similarities in the lore, specifically material collected by Vance Randolph describing the “Witch Initiation.” They will automatically (and have, which a simple web search will show) declare that it is proof that their neopagan witchcraft is an ancient practice that came to America with the settlers. This is patently false, as there were no pagans in the Ozarks, outside Native American Groups.

A close look through books in Gerald Gardner’s personal library will disclose that he owned a copy of Ozark Magic and Folklore by Vance Randolph, which will completely clear up any speculations about the origin of any similar lore.

The initiations described by Randolph included the sexual initiation, naked rites, and a circle. What isn’t included when individuals grab onto this as some proof to suit their agenda is the mentioning of the Lord’s Prayer being spoken backwards, hanging the person’s clothes in the grave of an infidel, and the conjure of evil spirits and the evil dead by certain quaint old sayings. Obviously, this has nothing to do with Wicca or Neopaganism in general.

Here in the Ozarks, Witchcraft can be best described as Hillbilly Satanism; as even the few self-admitted witches recorded admitted to being “signed up with the Devil.”

Posted June 2, 2012 by drcorbeaux in Uncategorized, Witchcraft, Witches

Working the Poppet   Leave a comment

Another photo from the June 19, 1939 Edition of Life Magazine

Skull and Bible Altar   2 comments

ImageThis particular image comes from the 1939 edition of the Life Magazine; the particular image was set up by Vance Randolph, who spent many years studying and documenting our local folklore.

The set up was an exact production of a ritual Mr. Randolph reportedly saw, that was done by a girl who was witchin’ the girl who stole her man. A real human skull was placed on top of a Bible, and before it were placed two dolls – one to represent her husband and the other to represent the girl. The poppet used to represent the girl had four big nails driven into it’s back.

Graveyard Dust to Kill   Leave a comment

“Some witches are said to kill people with graveyard dirt, which is dust scraped from a grave with the left forefinger at midnight. This is mixed with the blood of a black bird; a raven or crow is best, but a black chicken will do in a pinch. The witch ties this mixture up in a rag which has touched a corpse and buries it under the doorstep of the person who is to be liquidated.”

Ozark Magic and Folklore by Vance Randolph

Those of you familiar with other forms of folk magic will see a great similarity here, especially between this particular spell and the workings of Hoodoo.

Here in the Ozarks, Black Animals are often died to the Devil in folk belief, so the use of a black bird of any sort is understood. I have only heard of this being done with a chicken personally.

 

Posted June 1, 2012 by drcorbeaux in Magic, Witchcraft, Witches