Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/173

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169
MAGICAL MEDICAL PRACTISE

appropriately included in the same list. One of them is used when the first collar is placed upon a colt's neck, and it is supposed to prevent the equine vice known as 'balking,' and to cause the animal to work satisfactorily. It is as follows:

Refuse not to pull while the Jews keep Saturday for Sunday. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.

The other is used to prevent the depredations of thieves and burglars and the approach of deadly enemies. If one has a house or a field which he wishes to protect he should walk around it three times, repeating the incantation each time. It is thought that any one attempting to cross the line thus made will be paralyzed, in his tracks, and will have to stand there until released by the sorcerer. This must be done before sunrise; otherwise the offender may die. The charm is as follows:

When Mary lay in child-bed and Joseph was about to flee away, Joseph cried out and said: 'There goes a thief in our house who wants to steal the child.' And Mary said: 'St. Peter bade, St. Peter said, "I have bound him in God's hand." Whosoever would, in twenty-three hours, steal from me or do any hurt to my life shall stand there till I tell him to go away.' In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.

About seventy years ago the writer's grandfather removed his family from South Carolina to the west, and on the eve of his departure a neighbor gave him this charm for the protection of the wagon-camp at night, but its virtue was never tested. In South Carolina it seems still to be used, and there are two or three recent stories of watermelon thieves having been caught in this way. One relates that at daybreak the thief was seen standing, unable to move or even to drop the bag of stolen melons on his shoulder.

There are also formulas for the cure of cancer and for the removal of warts, but these the writer has not been fortunate enough to secure. A very old lady of his acquaintance, Mrs. R, from whom some of the formulas mentioned were obtained, says that she was cured of cancer many years ago by one Adam Boland, of Newberry County, who was a famous 'user' in his day. In her case the 'using' was done when she was not present. She says that Boland, after repeating the charm and the name of the patient three times, always took an axe and cut into the heart of a pine tree in order to ascertain whether the treatment would prove successful. If the tree lived the patient would recover; otherwise, the charm was powerless. Mrs. R gives some further particulars of interest. Her daughter learned a few of the formulas when a child and used them frequently and successfully to relieve her father's illness, although he had no faith in the practise. The charms lose their force if taught by a younger person to an older one; the learner should always be younger than the teacher. The point of view from which many persons look on these superstitious methods of treatment is well illustrated by a remark of Mrs. R. She says: