Rural Legends

We’ve all learned how gullible city people are from urban legends. Plus there’s the famous RURAL legend about cow-tipping that’s even chumped the normally-reliable Cecil:

My mother once told a sibling that the way to catch a rabbit was to “put salt on its tail.” Alas, dear brother wasted a day in the field with the salt shaker.

What other RURAL LEGENDS are there?

Um.

The last thing GQ needs is a billion-post thread where everyone chimes in with every silly ghost story set in a rural area.

How about “What sources are there to rural legends?”

Well, manny, the one I usually use to get relief on those long, insomnia-ridden nights is OZARK MAGIC AND FOLKLORE by Vance Randolph, Dover Publications, 1964 (originally published in 1947 by Columbia University Press as OZARK SUPERSTITIONS).

Did you know that the deepest snow of the winter is forecast by the height to which brush rabbits gnaw the sassafras sprouts in the fall?

Did you know that a girl who drops the comb as she is doing her hair is doomed to disappointment in love…but that she may “take the cuss off” by counting backwards from ten as she retrieves the comb?

Did you know that an ordinary mud turtle contains seven different kinds of meat – pork, beef, mutton, venison, chicken, duck, and fish? But that dispite this belief, hillmen rarely eat turtles?

Great stuff!

Now (I always feel that starting sentences with “Now” makes them seem more rural somehow) not to be pedantic (jeez, I love that word) or anything, but do you want “legends” as you’ve asked for or “wives’ tales” as you’ve given examples of?

Tons of wives’ tales and a few legends out here in rural Colorado. Can tell you about the man (ghost) in Montrose who doesn’t let anyone “park” in the cemetery, or the hitchhiker between Craig and Rifle that always seems to duck back into the woods when someone stops or the child near Rocky Ford that calls from the Arkansas River, but no one can ever find him/her?.

Uke Are you reciting this from memory? If so, I am in awe.

Also,I am in sheer fright of what is rolling around in your brain. ::eek::

I don’t know if this happens anywhere else but in Texas we have a thing called “Snipe Hunting”, where you send some unsuspecting fool into a tall field at night with a stick and a bag to look for Snipe. “They have red eyes, use the stick to startle them and then grab them with your bag.”

I guess this would qualify as a rural legend.

I cannot BELIEVE I am going to post this! It has been a source of local embarrassment for 40 years. Now, there is a movie, so that all may share in the “legend”.

http://www.mothmanmovie.com/

And this one as well: http://www.mothmanlives.com/

Go ahead, laugh all you want! We’re used to it!

I was once told that the native Indians of Kansas would catch turkeys by soaking raisins in salt water. After they were plump they would push horse hair through them in a criss-crossing fashion. Once this was done and the raisins were aloud to dry they would spread them out near known feeding grounds.

The turkeys would gobble (couldn’t resist) the raisins up but they couldn’t swallow them. Moreover, they would stand almost frozen trying to swallow them.

The Indian would just walk up and scoop up a butterball.
-Waneman

How about the one that a young hunter-to-be must drink the blood of his first kill?
Must be true, I saw it in movie about these teenagers who save the USA from a bunch of commies coming up through Mexico. Texans, probably. :wink: (The teens, not the commies).
Peace,
mangeorge

Do hunters actually do that?
Peace,
mangeorge

Nah. Little Pianola (my daughter) happens to be reading it at the moment, so I went and nicked the copy offa her bedside table. And picked three examples at random.

Pretty cool about the turtles, eh?

Mangeorge:
Hunters used to do that (take the blood of their 1st kill), but don’t anymore due to the knowledge about all the blood-borne diseases in the wild, like Lyme Disease and the Chronic Wasting Disease.

Usually, you had to bite the liver or heart. It is popularly said that this comes from “the Indians”, but the Native Americans I know usually say “Must be someone else; we don’t do that.” My impression is that the idea is to get the new hunter used to the reality of the blood. Personally, I always thought having to dress the kill was a much better way and also a superb lesson on anatomy and the effects of gunshot wounds --and so a gun safety lesson as well.

In the movie “Red Dawn”, there is a scene where the older kids make a kid who makes his first kill take a bite out of the liver of a deer he kills.

Waneman

I was once told that the native Indians of Kansas would catch turkeys by soaking raisins in salt water. After they were plump they would push horse hair through them in a criss-crossing fashion. Once this was done and the raisins were aloud to dry they would spread them out near known feeding grounds.

The turkeys would gobble (couldn’t resist) the raisins up but they couldn’t swallow them. Moreover, they would stand almost frozen trying to swallow them.

The Indian would just walk up and scoop up a butterball.


This sound vaguely similar to the tale told in Danny The Champion Of The World by Roald Dahl - a boy and his dad are pheasant poachers. They stick raisins inside a kind of paper cone (because pheasants love raisins apparently) and when the pheasants go to peck the raisins they get the cone stuck on their heads and freeze because they won’t move if they can’t see. They then round up all the frozen pheasants.

This is from memory and may not be completely accurate, but i just thought i’d add it as a little footnote.

Fran

[hijack city] Not for nothing, but I think it’s MUCH cooler that you have a child named Pianola. :slight_smile: [/hijack city].

Cartooniverse

Actually, I named Ike’s kids Little Banjo and Little Pianola . . .

. . . And was his wife miffed!

There is of course the hoop snake, a snake which supposedly would grab its tail in its mouth, form itself into a hoop, and roll down hills. This fearsome critter also supposedly had a poisonous spine on the end of its tail which it would lash at its victims. (Say, how did it grab its tail in its mouth to form a hoop without getting the business end of the poison spine???)

Another “rural legend,” I suppose, is the belief that you get warts from handling toads.

I know this isn’t nitpickers.com, but in Red Dawn the kid actually drinks deer blood(out of a cup), not liver-biting.

Yeah, the liver-biting scene is in Dances with Wolves.

Quoth manhattan:

Need I say more?