Wednesday, October 19, 2016


APRIL 26 1935

In spite of our civilization there is a great amount of superstition yet today, where such silly beliefs came from is hard to say.

From a study of the Nanticoke Indians it has been found that many beliefs have been handed down to well educated people, who are supposed to have average intelligence, yes, the present inhabitants.

A recent wedding dinner was held off because there were 13 guest were at the table and not served until a neighbor was called in and seated at the table to make fourteen guest.

One did not walk under a ladder suspended against a building.

Silly notions are still believed in by the country people and the following are cures believed in by the Nanticokes; a deerskin necklace kept the whooping cough away, a necklace of red corn prevented a nose bleed as did a dead spider worn around the neck.

A big one was that the seventh born child held the power of magic and had knowledge of the use of medicines and could cast 'spells' on people and animals.

To cure lameness, hang a worm in some sort of container, let it decay, then rub the decayed matter on the lame limbs .

Prevent summer fevers, chew the flower petals of the hepatica (liver) plant in the spring. Colds were cured by brewing and drinking horsemint.

The Calamus root, or muskrat root, made to a tea, was used for the colic. A mother would chew a piece of the root and blew into an infants mouth to stop pain and sooth them to sleep.

Leaves of the Mullein plant, made to a poulace, drenched with vinegar , places on parts of the body, keep the fever away.

The wild indigo leaves and those from poplar trees' brewed' to a lotion which was good for sprains. Pine tar made to a cathartic was also good for sore , sprains, and such.

Relief of rheumatism was had by an eel skin worn around the affected parts.

There were people who had the power to rub away warts, heal cuts with cobwebs and/or soot.

The smoke from tobacco blown into an ear prevented ear ache, also baby’s stomach ache when blown into its mouth.

Prickly Pear relieved inflammation from bites and stings and also removed warts.

Now this is one hard to take, a child with chickenpox could be cured by letting chickens fly over them. I guess they put them in the chicken house to sleep at night.
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A sore throat can be cured by pressing the jaws as far apart as is possible with the thumbs.

Skunk Cabbage brewed into a tea cured a cold. Got a backache, cut the skin from a live black snake, wrap it around the waist

Frost bite cure. Remove the bladder from a live animal and bind it to the affected area.

Sassafras tea was always drank in the spring to ward off fever and ague, and to cool the blood.

Fish weed and snake roots were chewed or made into tea and drank to get rid of stomach worms

The ringing in the ears was known as 'death bells' and which announced the death of a friend or relative.

New Years Day it was custom for men to visit neighbors, the first man there, received a penny, but, it was ill omen for a woman to visit this day.

Like storks, fish hawks were venerated by the Nanticokes and it was a sin to kill one or disturb its nest which the fish hawks built near the habitations, close to the ground. The birds returned to them year after year. Buzzards were never molested.

When a scorpion lizard got upon a persons body and made the trip around it, that person was soon to die.

A hen that crows is a sign of bad luck and is to be killed. A rooster crowing at the door means a visitor is on their way.

Never pass a closed knife to a person, the knife needs to be opened.

Snake lore is a story all of its own and may appear in another paper later on. Trust me.

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