Monday, December 8, 2014

Southern baby superstitions

            In the old days, out in the countryside, it might be a day's ride or more to get to the nearest doctor. That's why many Southerners took to doctoring themselves, using herbs to cure sickness. Or maybe something else.
            A 1980 article in the Baton Rouge State Times lists some area folklore used on babies to cure illnesses. Have you heard of any of these?
            To stop hiccups, cross two broom straws in the crown of a baby’s head.
            To cure whopping cough, ride a stud horse until he gets real hot, then let him breathe in a baby’s face.
            Mullin leaves soaked in water and wrapped around a limb will ease joint pains and strains.
            Babies born with veils over their faces will see ghosts.
            Boiled and steeped bitter weed used to bathe a child with malaria will cure he of it.
            Ivory soap cut into a small suppository will cure constipation.
            To cure chest colds, mix and heat tallow and camphorated oil, rub on chest and bottom of feet.
            Also good for chest colds is to brown a piece of flannel and put on chest.
            To cure colic, blow smoke from a pile in baby’s diapers and on soft spot of baby’s head.

            Strange sights seen by a pregnant mother will mark a baby. So will the mother’s strong cravings during pregnancy.
           If you cut a baby's fingernails with scissors, it will steal.

Cheré Coen is an award-winning travel writer specializing in the Deep South. She is also the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Write her at

1 comment:

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