Monthly Archives: October 2015

Death, witches and superstitions

KY Death comes in threes in a congregation. A wild bird in the house means someone’s going to die. A dog howling three nights in a row means death is near. If you get shingles all around your body, you’ll die. If you sneeze, cover your mouth and say the Lord’s Prayer, or you’ll lose […]

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The Devil and the Farmer’s Wife

This tale of the shrewish wife who terrifies even the demons is ancient and widespread. The Hindus have it in a sixth century fable collection, the Panchatantra. It seems to have travelled westward by Persia, and to have spread to almost every European country. In early versions, the farmer makes a pact with the Devil […]

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Joe Ozanic’s AFL challenges John Lewis’ CIO

In this excerpt from interviews of coal miner Joseph Ozanic, Sr. (1895-1978), Ozanic discusses the conflict between the Progressive Miners of America (of which he was president) and John L. Lewis’ United Mine Workers of America. Interviews conducted by Rex Rhodes, 1972; Barbara Herndon and Nick Cherniavsky, 1974, and now in the collection of Norris […]

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He’d been known to escape houses through the keyhole

“The celebrated mountain lands, of which Mark Twain writes in the Gilded Age, lie in Fentress County; and the picturesque village he describes under the name of Obedstown is none other than its county site. “The court-house, on the fence surrounding which the male population of the village were sitting, chewing tobacco and spitting at […]

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Many stories of witchcraft were circulated and believed

There was a notable character, a Mrs. Henagar, who had the reputation of being a witch. Her upper eye-lids were paralyzed and drooped over her eyes, giving her the appearance of being blind. Whenever she read her Bible she was obliged to stoop over it and hold the lids up with her hands. Then her […]

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