Ozark Encyclopedia – A – Axes

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Mountain Man Traditional Healing

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 bed.” ~Randolph OMF 146

Under bed to cut birth pains – “Near Pineville, Missouri, I once sat with a neighbor out in a woodlot, while his wife was giving birth to a child in the house. This man had a regular physician in attendance, but one of the neighborhood granny-women had arrived ahead of the doctor. The patient screamed several times, and then the granny-woman came out to the wood pile and picked up the ax, which she carried into the house. I was horrified at this, but the husband sat unmoved, so…

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