Ozark Encyclopedia – D – Dishrags

Dirty or stolen dishrag for curing warts – “One school of wart catchers place their trust in dirty dishrags, and some healers say that they require stolen dishrags. After touching each wart with the rag, one either buries it secretly in the earth or hides it under a flat rock, being careful to replace the rock in exactly the position in which it was found. Sometimes the patient is told that the wart will disappear in three days, or seven days, or nine days, or twelve days. More conservative practitioners say rather that as the dishrag decomposes, the wart will grow smaller and finally disappear. A variation of this procedure is to steal a dishrag and burn it secretly, then rub the ashes on your warts, and rest assured that they will soon be gone. But it is essential to avoid telling any- body that you have done this, else the warts are likely to come back.” ~Randolph OMF 128

“If you have warts, steal a dishrag, tie knots in it, and bury it so the drip of the house falls on it. As the dishrag rots, so will the wart.” ~Parler FBA III 3634

“To get rid of a wart on your hand take an old dirty dishrag, put it under the back steps, and don’t tell anybody that you did it. Then your wart will disappear.” ~Parler FBA III 3635

“Steal a dishrag –then bury it in a secret place after rubbing the wart. As you bury it, say Go, wart, go follow your master.” ~Parler FBA III 3636

Dishrag milked by a witch – “A schoolmaster from Pea Ridge, Arkansas, used to tell the story of two young women who lived alone in a nearby farm. They owned no cattle and were never seen to do any milking but always had plenty of butter and homemade cheese. Finally a farmhand peeked in at their window and later swore that he saw these girls hang a dishcloth on the pot rack and squeeze several gallons of milk out of it. Turning about, he looked at the cows in a neighbor’s pasture and saw that their udders were gradually decreasing in size.” ~Randolph OMF 270

Dirty dishrag buried for warts – “Had lots of cures fer warts. Rub them with a dishrag, and then bury the dishrag in the corner of the barn, an’ the warts would disappear.” ~Pompey GG 10

Burned for a bruise – “My dad had a bruised foot one time. My step grandmother set some woolen rags on fire, got them just smoking and put those rags in the bottom of this big deep vessel. He put his foot up above those rags and she covered it to keep the smoke coming onto his foot. The heat off those smoking woolen rags did something to his foot, helped it. He got all right.” ~Carter and Krause HRIO 15


Carter, Kay & Bonnie Krause Home Remedies of the Illinois Ozarks (HRIO)

Parler, Mary Celestia Folk Beliefs from Arkansas (FBA)

Pompey, Sherman Lee Granny Gore’s Ozark Folk Medicine (GG)

Randolph, Vance Ozark Magic and Folklore (OMF)

Source: Ozark Encyclopedia – D – Dishrags

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