Archive for the ‘Ozark Magic’ Tag

Sin Eaters   Leave a comment

This subject came up in conversation between a few friends of mine; and seeing as it’s a major theme in a new book that a woman wrote, centered in the Ozarks, I thought I’d say a bit about it.

Most folks, who even know the term, attribute the practice to Ireland, Wales, or the Appalachia, not being aware that the practice also happened in the Ozarks.  This is to be expected, as the people in the Ozarks came here by way of Appalachia, and from Appalachia, a large number were Scottish and Irish, with a sizable German population as well. So it would only be expect, especially with so much shared folk lore between the Ozarks and Appalachia, that Sin Eating would also be carried here.

Here’s a link on Sin-eating in Scotland

And here’s one about Sin Eaters in Appalachia

I was asked if I had any personal experience with Sin Eaters and the answer is yes, in fact I’ve performed sin eating myself and will describe one particular incident, without divulging anything that would break confidentiality.

I had a relative who was, on and off for years suffering from leukemia. To spare the details, his final trip was quite bleak, and he was out of it for quite some time. A preacher from a sect that isn’t the norm for our family was called in, to make his ministrations and prayers.

This relative suffered long and heard, being unable to let go, and knowing a bit about the person’s life, it was assumed that he feared for his soul and that kept the individual hanging on. So in the presence of his wife, I performed the ceremony of sin-eating. His labored breath ceased and a distinct calm came over him. He slept in a calm for the night and the next morning passed.

This is by no means to say that sin eating is still a common practice here. Like a lot of our old traditions, they’re dying and seldom made use of by anyone anymore. But dying doesn’t mean dead, and it still is practiced.

That’s all I’ll say for now, I may continue this subject later, should folks be interested.

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.

Book Review: Signs, Cures, and Witchery   1 comment

Ozark Spite Dolls   2 comments

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

The Head Incident….   Leave a comment

Beverly Hillbillies “That Old Black Magic”   Leave a comment

For a Girl to get back her Lover   2 comments

From “Ozark Magic and Folklore” by Vance Randolph


“If a girl has quarreled with her lover, she may get him back by taking a needle and drawing a little blood from the third finger of her left hand. Using the needle as a pen, she writes her initials and his in blood on an ironwood chip, draws three circles around the letters, and buries the chip in the ground. The recreant boy friend will be hangin’ round again in three days, or less.”

The Bible – for fevers   Leave a comment

Matthew 8: 14-15

“And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever.”

“And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.”

This verse is written on a piece of paper and the verses are prayed over the paper three times. The paper is then suspended from the neck of the sick person.


Note: This charm is not intended as a replacement for professional medical advice or attention, and is posted only as a reference for the preservation of folklore.

Goomer Bible   2 comments

Bible used for Goomering and Doctoring

Each Goomer Doctor and Power Doctor keeps a Bible for religious devotions and as part of their work. In the Old Days, many families only had a family Bible, which would have been what the goomer or power doctor used. However, some were lucky enough to possess personal Bibles as well.

This particular Bible was one of two Bibles given to me by my grandmother, which makes it very special to me. This is the Bible I use for Goomering and Doctoring, and the other Bible I use for Hoodoo when practicing that art.

This Bible is a hardback copy, and as you can tell by the photograph, red in color. The red color of this Bible makes it particularly significant in many folk magic practices.

I have post-it notes on the inside cover with notations of specific verses for specific conditions – such as blood stopping, drawing rain, drawing out fever, conquering enemies, taking off spells, and other similar uses.

Any individual who wants to pursue the practice of Ozark folk magic will need a Bible that holds particular importance to them. The more special the Bible, the more effective a tool it will be, and the Bible given as a gift is the best of all, especially given by a loved one, or family member. The Bible is definitely the most important book in our folk traditions and magical practices.


Pawpaw Bottoms   2 comments

Pawpaw Bottoms, Oklahoma, which no longer exists, – the ruins of a few old buildings remain, the Church and houses long gone, is a place familiar to me, as most of my sister’s paternal family are buried in the cemetery. Up until recent years, the cemetery was surrounded by trees and swamp-like land and accessible only by a one land trail barely large enough for a car. It gave the whole area quite a mystique until the trees were hacked down, the old wrought iron fence removed, and the whole area turned into farm land. Since this was done, there has been a lot of desecration in the graveyards, especially since the family moved away.

My sister’s father is buried there, who died under questionable circumstances, and I’ve been in the habit of always accompanying my sister to his grave, for reasons that safety’s sake and length I can’t explain. Just about any given night out there, individuals are cooking dope, and I have been stopped and hassled by one policeman who definitely seemed under the effects of aforementioned substance.

But to get to the point of the whole matter – even when my sister’s father was alive, folks always came home before sunset. Dangers were never spelled out, but were understood to be normal and paranormal. Individuals have been seen conducting rituals out in the bottoms (I’ve done my fair share, but of a vastly different type), reckless youths go out to shoot random animals and objects and raise all kinds of hell, and full body apparitions have been seen on numerous occasions. I can state that I have never been to the area, especially around the cemetery, and not have had some sort of experience.

Take into account a long gone town, the cemetery, and the bodies over the year that have been dumped there, or even buried, and occult rituals; it makes for a particularly unusual place for paranormal activity.

The link at the top of this post gives a short history of the town of Pawpaw, which some of you might find of interest.