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Ozark Lore

witchccraft folklore.

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#1 violetstar

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 10:50 AM

I am very interested in witchcraft within the Ozarks and would love to hear from anyone who could add to what has been written by Vance Randolph on the subject.

Not too interested in the superstitions and folklore of the area unless it relates to witches.

Edited by violetstar, 18 June 2017 - 10:51 AM.

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#2 dogstar

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 03:41 AM

Since I know little on this subject,I took to Google,and found this.
https://traditionalw...zark-mountains/

Not sure about its authenticity,it was the first one to come up.

Also the link for that sites main page.
https://traditionalw....wordpress.com/

Edited by dogstar, 19 June 2017 - 03:43 AM.


#3 Oroboros

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 09:28 AM

This is just another google find. But it does look rather "authentic", not that I would know personally.

https://ozarkmagic.wordpress.com

#4 violetstar

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 10:38 AM

Thanks.Not sure they are authentic.Hard to find info and quite strange that when I speak to Americans about the subject they seem to view it as Hill-billy or they walk away.May as well be talking about the Plague!
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#5 monsnoleedra

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 11:14 AM

That really doesn't surprise me. I imagine it's the same as researching Appalachian & Allegheny witchcraft lore. A lot of it was passed down via familial lines and keep inside families or viewed as folk tales and superstition. If superstition then it's not really talked about as it's folk lore, for many of the families it wasn't talked about because it's still kept as a family secret. Like recipes, some are never given out to anyone outside the family, to include even women who marry into the family lines. Well not until they have daughters and have been accepted into the family and that can take years in some locals. Other areas, well lets say you might be there for many years but still be seen as an outsider because your family line doesn't go back generations in that area.
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#6 Morrigan

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 12:02 PM

The problem here is that most folks in rural America don't care to share when it comes to this stuff. Appalachia, like the Ozarks has a deep and present folk craft tradition. Its present in everyday life and not seen as witchcraft. Using the 'w' word is a major social no no. These folk are usually good Baptists and will shit a blue brick at the mere mention of witchcraft. These practices are not magic, but real Ole fashioned medicine and 'ways'. Unless you live in these communities and are present to witness the craft in action you'll probably get more myth than fact.
Most publications on the subject over simplify and make sweeping generalizations about the people there.
Furthermore there isn't a real codified tradition. Rather there are interconnected and overlapping traits to the craft. It varies by region, holler, and county.
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#7 violetstar

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 02:15 PM

@Mons and Morrigan

This has been really helpful.I had suspected a veil of secrecy similar to some similar stuff in the UK.One of the reasons for my interest in the subject is that I have found a parallel within Randolph's accounts of Initiation and those of the older groups in Britain.Some of the specifics suggest what Randolph discovered was a form of witchcraft that had been imported from Britain.
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#8 wren

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 03:50 PM

Yep. I imagine most Americans just don't know. I don't.

#9 violetstar

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 05:05 PM

I think I;m concluding that.Some folk over there probably find the subject objectionable.I have never been to USA so my idea of what its like there is likely in my imagination based on tv.

I would not object to going topless in a '65 Mustang.Buts thats just me.
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#10 Imperial Arts

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 05:30 PM

I was born in Nashville and lived there a few years, then lived for 20 years in Memphis, and went to college in Knoxville. I spent my summers in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana. It's not exactly Ozark, but I suppose it counts as southern US.

Talking about witchcraft in the US is usually non-productive, and in rural areas it can be damaging to your reputation. Whatever else is believed about the subject, the general assumption is that witchcraft involves deliberate attempts to commune with the supernatural in ways that the religious authorities disapprove.

"Gifts" and folks charms don't always fall into that category, and calling them witchcraft confuses the locals. I recently took a vacation to the Smoky Mountains, and out there it's easy to find hex-marked barns, luck charms, weather charms, pregnancy and protection amulets, and all sorts of odd superstitions. They don't think of it as witchcraft.

When I was younger, there was a guy near Little Rock who was famous for telling fortunes. He kept and butchered goats, and would tell your future for two silver dollars. One of those silver dollars he would bury in a shrine covered in decorated goat skulls, and the other he would keep. He was ancient back then, and I'm guessing he's dead now, but it would have horrified his fans to connect his goat-skulls-and-fortune-telling thing with witches of any type.

A lot of what does pass for witchcraft in the south isn't the kind of Caribbean-influenced stuff you find in stores, with lucky amulets and magic oils. The traditions of witches in the South tend to be much closer to their European roots, with ideas of spirits etc left undefined. A woman might take all her clothes off and dance in the moonlight on a particular night of the year, but it's not for any particular deity. She might makes spells and invocations, or sympathetic magic, but they don't usually reference specific spirits. There isn't much of a structure or system to the idea of witchcraft, which in the South retains much of its medieval shroud of mystery and has defied academic efforts to codify its practices.
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#11 violetstar

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 05:43 PM

That is fascinating information.I know its a subject that many academics will not tackle and now I can see why.I had got onto my high horse and thought I could do it but maybe not after all due to its complex diversities.The anecdote of the guy with the Goat Skull may be of immense importance to a friend of mine so I will pass it on.
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#12 monsnoleedra

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 10:29 PM

I know a lot of "Granny Magics" are as likely to have bible verses used as witchy things in them. In some ways it's like PowWow magics yet dissimilar in that each family or area has a different slant upon how they do things. Heck even in the same family it can be rather different between how things are done between one area and another. But the term "Witchcraft" was never heard unless it was used for someone doing what was perceived as bad workings. Otherwise it seemed it was always Medicine, treatment, granny's stuff, folkys stuff, protections, getting knots or cords or something similar.
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#13 wren

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 10:58 PM

Old timer's stuff is my favorite.

#14 monsnoleedra

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 11:47 PM

View Postwren, on 19 June 2017 - 10:58 PM, said:

Old timer's stuff is my favorite.

It can be interesting but can't count the number of times I asked about something only to be told "That's women's stuff son don't worry your head about it!" or hear my sisters be told "That's man' stuff don't worry your head about it!" Yet then have my aunts, grandmother or mom hover over me when it came to going over to another girl's house. The list of do's and don't about eating, taking things from her or her female elder's, etc. And if you did how they would check them with a fine tooth comb when you got home. Especially if they were hand crafted, had to make sure nothing was sewn in, knitted in.

Compared to today sort of funny I suppose but back then not to much. City folk didn't understand but once you went back to the mountain area's or really remote rural area's it was a different world even as late as the early 1970's.
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#15 wren

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 12:42 AM

As exasperating as that must have been, I can see the value in that attitude. We could use a broader awareness of "magic" as a culture. It'd give the newb a place to start without the Hollywood glamour organized around Place. It'd also be a bit of a paliative to those poor folks who always think they are cursed. Help to spot real magic too if the practioners shared a Root.

The gender segregation of women's mysteries and men's mysteries has its place too, though it could certainly be a lot looser than was/is traditional.

#16 violetstar

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 11:09 AM

Just like to once again thank everyone for their input here.The crucial element underpinning the whole is that these people of the Ozark-and probably elsewhere,would be horrified to be thought of as 'witches'.This was a problem in medieval and early modern Britain where the perimeters of witchcraft practices and those of Cunning Folk and even Herbalists were extensively blurred.
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#17 Spida

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 09:13 PM

I found this. You can figure out if it's something you're interested in or not.


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#18 violetstar

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 09:49 PM

Thanks for taking time to search that out Spida.Quick skip through prompts me to strengthen my belief these people are best described as 'Community Cunning Folk' especially in the context of their anti-witch stance,This does not of course preclude the existence of witchcraft in that region but in fact makes it more likely.
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#19 Spida

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 09:02 AM

View Postvioletstar, on 20 June 2017 - 09:49 PM, said:

Thanks for taking time to search that out Spida.Quick skip through prompts me to strengthen my belief these people are best described as 'Community Cunning Folk' especially in the context of their anti-witch stance,This does not of course preclude the existence of witchcraft in that region but in fact makes it more likely.

i.e. the are trying too hard to keep a secret, ergo, more reason to believe they are hiding something.
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