Folktales have always been a part of all cultures. Wherever there has been
human life, there's always been a tale to tell.
As a child growing up in the back woods of Virginia, I recall hearing my
relatives speak of spell casting, root doctors, palm reading, black cats and such...
but I was too busy playing doctor under the front porch to take it all in.
Speaking of black cats! Have you ever heard the old tale that if a black cat
crosses your path it would bring you bad luck? Meaning, crossing the path in
the direction in which you are going. Another old tale is, if you walk in another
persons footprints, that person would develop a head ache. How about the most
well known one; If you break a mirror you will have seven years bad luck?
Some may view this form of thinking as none sense. But is it? What some
people considers none sense, is very real to others. The belief in things such as
witchcraft, black magic, vampires, voodoo and the like, have been in existence
for centuries. And as long as mankind walks this earth it will continue to be.
Some older people of southern Virginia where I grew up, believed that if a
pregnant woman was frighten by an animal before her child was born, the child
would be born resembling the animal that frightened the woman. They called it
My father,being of African and Indian descent, has told me some very strange
tales of people he met while growing up on the old plantations of Virginia.
My favorite tale was about a man named, Buck Jackson. A tall slim narrow
faced black man. As my father tells it, Buck was a great harmonica player, and
had other talents as well. The story goes something like this. Every Sunday
people would gather at the old country church and looked forward to hearing
Buck play the harmonica. Buck would start playing the harmonica, remove it
from his mouth, lay it on the front hood of the nearest vehicle, and the
harmonica would continue to play, while Buck stood there stumping his feet
and clapping his hands, shouting, PLAY IT BOY!
It was also said, whenever Buck was locked up by the local police he had to be
closely watched because Buck appeared to be a black Houdini,(an escape artist).
Buck also had a strange appetite for things like burning cigarettes, coins, and
glass lamp chimneys. The glass chimneys must have been a delicacy for Buck.
It was said Buck would bite the chimney off piece by piece until it was all
consumed. After which, Buck would give his chest a hard slap and the glass
would come flying from his mouth.
When it comes to old tales such as this; did they happen? Maybe they did;
maybe they didn't. But one thing's for Certain! There are many different kinds
of people in this world, that are capable of many different things. I would think
God planned it that way. And lets not forget about the great deeds that were
performed by people of the bible. The so called miracles? But were they miracles,
or just perceived to be so? There was a time in history when people were hanged
or burned at the stake for performing certain deeds. What about the Salem
witch trials? And what about the deeds of Christ? Many thought him to be a
demon or sorcerer, which contributed to his crucifixion.
The fear of such people still exists in our so called modern day world.
Many people are still strong believers in dark magic and have ways of protecting
themselves. One way is to rube a string in sulfur,tie a certain number of knots
in the string,wear it around your waist for a certain number of days, and no one
can cast a spell upon you. A spell can be broken by the same means. I heard this
from my late father who was a strong believer in spell casting. I won't print all
the details concerning this because my father was a very private man.
Folk tales such as this have been told through many generations and cultures.
How much truth there is will never be none. But my belief is, that there's some
truth in most old tales.