Back when I was growing up on the mountain, there was a great fear of witches getting into people's barns at Halloween. If a witch got in your barn, they could injure your livestock or otherwise vex the animals. This may include killing an animal outright, or it could mean giving the livestock a disease or infecting a wound. There were reports of witched milk cows giving spoiled or bloody milk for weeks afterward. Pretty much anything was fair game for witches when it came to inflict misery on livestock. Aside from Hex signs and rotas-sator squares, many farmers took to providing added protection against this witchery.
The only way to remove a hex from livestock was to get a good witch to counter the spell, but this may include destroying the animal. I remember my Grandmaw Mary telling of a story about a milk cow that had been witched, and gave bloody milk. She said that the hex also was spread to other livestock, and the farmer was forced to consult a good witch about the problem. This good witches last name was Moats and he lived over around Franklin. Anyway, the first animal that was hexed was identified, and Mr. Moats instructed the cow to be destroyed by fire, and Granny said that he said a few "witch words" while the cow was being killed. The carcass was then burned, and Mr. Moats said whoever witched this animal would be known to the community because he or she would have burns all over their body, because he had put the spell back on them. Sure enough, a few days later, a man was seen in the community who was covered with burns all over his body. The man tried to say that his stove blew up on him, but everyone after that knew that he was an evil witch.
So you can see the importance of protecting your home, barn, livestock and family from the evil influences of witchery. To ward off this trouble, a ladder was placed against the barn's wall on the day of Halloween. This ladder was used to reach the highest reaches of a barn and a coarse brush would be used to liberally apply grease to every inch of every corner in the barn. This was because folklore dictated that a witch could only enter a barn by way of a corner. By greasing every corner of a barn, it was believed that when a witch would come flying in on a broomstick, they would be deflected when they would hit this grease, and thus would not be able to enter the barn to vex the animals.
So, if anyone out there has a barn, be sure to grease your corners to protect your livestock. You never can be too careful when it comes to witches bent on doing you harm.
For added protection at your home, lay a broom on the floor across every door to your home. A witch cannot cross a broom that is laid down, and if someone picks it up and tries to enter, you will immediately be able to identify the witch. Also, you could place a rotas-sator square in the highest point of your home for added protection.
And remember, not all witches are bad!!!!
As an afterthought, perhaps some of you don't know what a rotas-sator square is, well here is a link to wikipedia with information and a photo of a rotas-sator square:
Appalachian Vocabulary Test 99
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