Episode 88: WitchMama
Hi everyone, welcome back. Some months back, I bit the bullet and joined TikTok, to help promote my podcast. And, I have to say that for me, this has been the best social media platform, in terms of reaching potential listeners with my episode promotions. My kids think it’s hilarious that someone my age is on TikTok, and moreover enjoying it. My son, in particular, because, he teaches High School here in New Zealand, and all the kids in his class use that app. I really enjoy TikTok, so if you use that app and don’t follow me there, then look for Walking_the_Shadowlands and like and follow. If you came from TikTok, because you started following me there, a special welcome to you and to all my new listeners.
So during my time on TikTok, this woman by the name of WitchMama, came across my For You Page, which is like the main feed you see, when you scroll. She was sharing one minute snippets of experiences she had as an Appalachian witch. She immediately caught my attention, for several reasons. One, that the stories were absolutely interesting and two, because she identifies as Appalachian. Now, for many years, I have heard stories about people who live in the Appalachian mountains in the USA. When I lived in the states for a number of years, I heard more about them and their ways. Mostly what I was told seemed to be particularly negative.
However, I did some research for myself not relying on hearsay, because, I have been fascinated by their life style for many years. Intrigued with their history, and how they live today. I recognize that any documentary I have ever seen about this region, mostly has dealt on the poverty that many in that in the mountains live in. And of course along, with the extreme poverty, all the things that go a with that, in terms of negativity. What they don’t generally show, at least, the ones I have seen, is the sense of community. Families that work together and love each other. Also, something I have not seen in the documentaries that I have seen, so far, is the history of the granny witch, or the local healers – This is an area of particular interest to me, especially since I worked in healing for most of my working life. As a nurse in our public hospital systems here in New Zealand. I am also extremely interested in what traditions and beliefs they hold. Also the lore and spiritual beliefs of Appalachian people in general. I love learning about new cultures, it intrigues me immensely.
So, I was really pleased to come across WitchMama. I read most of her posts and decided that I would really love to talk with her and get some first-hand knowledge of someone from the region. I felt also, that she would be interesting for you all as well, especially some of her family experiences. I asked WitchMama, if she wanted me to use her name or, just the handle she goes by. So WitchMama she is. Therefore, the question as always is, are you willing to walk with me into this part of the shadowlands and see what awaits us there? Then let’s begin.
Marianne: Thanks heaps for talking to me. I’ve really been looking forward to having a conversation. I’m really interested in hearing your views and hearing about your background. And I’ve never actually on my show had a, a – do you call yourself a wiccan, or just a witch or do you have any . . . ?
WitchMama: I am not a Wiccan any longer. I do still subscribe to some of their practices. But no, I’m just a witch.
Just a witch, yeah cool. There’s a big difference., isn’t there. Wiccan’s really following a religion, whereas being a witch is the practice of, in my opinion.
I’ve never had a practicing witch on my show. So, I think this will be really, really interesting for my listeners. Because, my podcast is all about, you know, the paranormal, the unexplained, mysteries. And the practice of witchcraft is all about nature and energies. And tapping into energies and intent. It’s all about intent.
It is, it is, most of the time. Now witchcraft is a very broad term. It does encompass several different practices. So some of it is nature based. Some of it can be fae based, some of it can be deity based. It’s really just having to do with the practitioner.
Right. And there’s no right or wrong way to practice is there?
I see in a lot of groups that particularly with young, young people who are just finding this path. That they can be quite militant. You have to do things like this, you have to do things like that, and that’s not what it’s about, in my opinion.
That’s really not what it’s about. I’ve been practicing for 30 years and some of the new terms that I have seen on TicTok, they are completely out of the park for me. That’s just not something I’m used to, at all.
For my listeners. I came across WitchMama on Tik-Tok sharing some experiences that her family had. And I felt that she would be a really interesting guest for you guys to listen to. One, because I think there’s so many misconceptions around witchcraft out there. And I know that this will polarize so many people. It’s not my take. My intent is education. And it’s really important for us, I feel, to be able to look at different things and see the truth about them. Not what we feed by sources who have vested interests. Now . . .
Exactly! I love it! I’m here to answer any questions I know the answer to.
Yeah, perfect. So perhaps we could start – maybe WitchMama, you could give us a little bit of your family background, where you come from? Am I correct in saying that you have Appalachian roots?
Yes. My family comes from eastern Kentucky. We come from Harrison County, Fayette County, Mount Sterling, really the foothills of the mountains. But we were still, we still subscribe to their way of life. So country, country, more than mountain, but still Appalachian roots.
Can – for people like me who are not from the States, cause I’m New Zealand based. Can you explain a little bit about Appalachian culture?
Because, I understand it’s quite different.
It is. Well, Appalachia, the area runs from – I’m not very good with my geography. It’s just a little bit above Kentucky, but runs clear down to Georgia. So it’s a really large mountain range and it’s on the eastern part of the United States. And it runs through several states. We’re the second largest range in the United States, the Rocky Mountains being the largest. And most of Appalachia and all of the hills were populated by Irish, Scottish, a little bit of German. You know, different people from different parts of the world. But, the Appalachia’s were friendlier with the native indigenous people that lived here. And they learned their ways instead of fighting with them. So we were accepted onto the mountains. And we were allowed to live amongst the natives that lived here.
That’s very cool. I do know that the way, that people speak in the Appalachians, and the way we speak in New Zealand have a lot of commonalities. Like, for example, we say reckon. It’s a very, very common thing we say here in New Zealand, I reckon. And I didn’t realize that it was a thing over there until I was saying it when I lived in the states. People were saying to me. What do you – are you using?
Have you been – Have you been associating with some country folks?
You’ve spent some time down south.
That’s so funny, isn’t it? That’s so funny. So now I understand that the people who live in the Appalachians have specific traditions and lore. And their form of witchcraft is quite specific. Perhaps, perhaps, instead of thinking it in terms of witchcraft, we could say what’s another way we could put it? Traditional ways of thinking, feeling – omens and stuff like that?
We, we, have traditional practices that we, that we follow. Now, I’m not a proponent to say that I am an expert in Appalachian magic or folklore or anything of that nature. I just know what I’ve learned and what I’ve been taught. But to us, it’s not really being taught magic. It’s more just the way things are. Know it’s just our normal every day.
Yes, yes. Absolutely. So I should, I should have said that. Because, it’s not, it’s not a stand aside. It’s just part and parcel of your day to day life.
Right. Right. We follow, we follow the seasons because when it comes to Appalachia, most of the time it’s poverty stricken. Because up in the mountains, you don’t have a lot of land in which to grow things. So you’re not really a farmer. Most of the time, because you can find in Missouri is going to be coal mining or something along those lines, because they dig into the mountain to find the coal. And so, the people that lived around the mountain ended up being coal miners.
So it’s a really, really hard life and. Being that we chose to live there and chose that hardship, it put us apart from city folk. And caused the community to be stronger. There are certain things that happened in Appalachian areas, that never will happen in regular civilized society. It’s not that they’re so much different than everyone else. It’s just their community is a lot tighter.
Right, absolutely. And I’ve had to be over the time that they’ve been in this case because it was a matter of survival, was it not?
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. So they eked out what income they could with whatever jobs were available. Some of them would actually go into farming areas to work. To do tobacco or whatever happened to be the job at the time and then bring that back to back home. Like I said, a lot of them were coal miners, So, being that we were up on the mountain, what area that we did have in which to farm, we learned how to can and we learned how to preserve and we learned how to live off the land and give thanks to the mountain. If it wasn’t for the mountain, we would have no life at all. So that’s the way that we see the mountains and their part in our lives.
So would it be fair to say that you guys live in close harmony with nature?
Absolutely. Absolutely. We know that. We know that everything goes in cycles. The seasons go on cycle, the nature goes in cycles, and we have learned to fit into that cycle, right. And with that, we prosper where most others would fail.
Right. Right. That’s really interesting. And do you. Because you guys live so closely with nature, do you have more to do with the Fae than the average people would?
Well, it really depends on where your people come from. If you are of Irish, Scottish heritage. And your family was of Scot, Irish and Scottish heritage, there is a good chance that you might have been told, you know, watch where you throw your wash water. Or don’t step in a fairy ring or watch for pools on stumps, that type of thing. But if you weren’t, if you had more Germanic roots. Or you actually were part of some of the indigenous tribes that lived here, because the white the white folk and the indigenous folk did get together quite a bit. So there’s a lot of mixed breed running around in the area. But it depends really where you came from as to what your stories are. Because in mine, I had a lot, had a little bit, just a little bit of indigenous blood, but most of mine was Irish and Scottish. So, yes, I did get told to watch out where I throw my wash water and that type of thing. I did I did get told to watch for the fae, but don’t fear the fae. Live in harmony with all creatures. So that included the fae. But, I don’t personally work with the fae. But, I do know of the fae.
Right, of course. So could you explain? You mentioned a little bit about being careful where you threw the wash water ,and looking for puddle on stumps. Can you explain about that?
Ok. Ok, puddles on stumps. That is, water that has never touched the ground. So that is what the indigenous tribes call air water, OK? It’s never touched the ground. Yes, it was on a stump, but it never actually touched the ground. So this water is magical in itself because it’s rain that has fallen, that has never touched the ground. It makes it special somehow. And it’s been used for cleaning the skin of acne, boils, things like that, poison ivy. They also use it for making poultices for burns. They’ve used it for fertilization. For drinks, you make a potion together, I guess, and put it in a drink. And it’s supposed to help with fertile, with fertility. That’s where I was going. I knew I was going to get to the word. But several different things that it can be used for. But yes, we find it in stumps. It’s the water that settles in stumps, but it’s called the indigenous. Call it air water.
That’s a really pretty cool name for that. I quite like it. So how about – so why do you have to look where you throw you wash water?
Because, you could throw it onto a fae. Since they like to go out and be in, incognito. I’ll tell you this, magic is in my everyday life so much, that when I see leaves swirling – Whirling dervish, what they call it, a dirt devil. I know that that’s simply a wind spirit, having a little bit of a time, going down the street. I know that that is fae, just by being around it.
Oh that’s really interesting.
And now, every time you see whirling leaves, you’re going to think that’s the fae.
Yeah, I’ve I have to say, that’s not something that I’ve seen, in New Zealand, that I can recall. Wow.
Around here, we see that type of thing, but I mean, it’s not that you actually see a little critter.
No, no. You just see the leaves. Right.
No, you just see the wind. But, you know, I know that that’s fae. I know that that’s fae playing.
Right. That’s really, really interesting. So tell me, is it your granny, the one that you got most of your stories and experiences from?
Actually, no. My grandmother was one who taught me the old ways. She taught me canning. She taught me baking. She taught me sewing, and quilting. And things like that. But, she was the Christian, very strong Pentecostal Christian. Pentecostal’s are the ones that are holiness. They speak in tongues. They run around churches. They’re very charismatic with their religion. It was actually my grandfather side that I got my spirituality from. My mother read cards. My grandfather was clairvoyant. His grandmother was a family, witch, So that’s where I got the spiritual side, where I got my Christianity, my morals from my grandmother’s side.
Right. So it’s quite a nice combination, actually, isn’t it? So you’ve got a balanced a balanced upbringing so to speak. At least you could look at both sides.
At least I can look at both sides, which actually gives me an advantage when I’m speaking to people who don’t understand witchcraft. And don’t understand ways other than their own. I say, hold on now. I used to be you. I was a Bible thumper at five years old. I could say all sixty-six books of the Bible. You know, I went to Bible camp, I did the whole thing. I read the Bible itself several times, so I know what I’m speaking about. You have to understand that the best spell book that was ever written, actually was the Bible. But that’s a controversial subject in a lot of witch communities, so . . .
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And there’s a lot of – yeah, it is quite controversial. So, tell me about some of your family experiences that you’ve had? Perhaps some of the ones that you’ve shared on TikTok?
OK, well, being that all of our communities are also close knit, we have a lot of time to sit around and share stories. And in my family, sharing stories was a way to entertain kids, when there was no other entertainment. If you were all locked in together and you had no other way of killing time, everyone would sit around and tell stories. So I started telling stories on TikTok about spooky things that had happened in my family. Being that my mother read cards at one time, she was approached by what I would consider a recruiter for the dark side.
Our belief system being that we do come from Christianity as well. We do believe in good and evil. We do believe in the final battle, you know, the Armageddon that’s going to happen? So in that, they’re going to need these souls to fight this battle. So there are good and evil recruiting regular souls, to be in this battle. We do believe that my mother was approached by one of these. Because she had an incident. I’ll tell the story. She had an incident where this woman came to the house, very dark skinned woman, long, dark hair, beautiful. And she said she wanted her cards read. Mom said that’s fine. She said, I’d like them read by candlelight. Mom said I can do that too.
So she gets everything set up. And she asked the lady, Is there anything you’d like to know? Woman said. Well, I’ll tell you what, if you can tell me my future, I’ll give you the world. Mom kind of stopped a little, and she said, OK. So she went to lay her cards out. Now the way that my mother gets her reading. Is that she hears a story as she looks at the symbols, and it tells her what it’s trying to say. So, she can hear a little story when she reads it out. And the only thing that she said she heard when she saw this lay, and it lay ace to two in spades. She reads regular playing cards. And she heard, stop the card reading! You’re reading for a demon! And it’s shocking, my mom, so she scooped her cards up, she laid them down, she said, I have nothing to say to you.
And the woman just kind of smiled at her and she said, we almost had you. And she got up and she left. There was nothing else said mom didn’t say anything else to her. She got up and she left. We never heard from her again. We don’t know who sent her to the house. Nothing. And she said, I’m sure. But when I came into the house from outside and she told all this to me, she was crying, and she was praying. So it scared her pretty good.
Yeah, I’ve got goosebumps, huh? Actually, it was that story that caught my attention when you came up on my feed. And I thought, woah that’s a really interesting story. Really, really interesting. Did you, when you walked in when your mom was upset, did you feel? What were the energies like in the room?
It’s good that you point that out. One of the abilities that I have always been blessed with is that I have the sense, that I can sense, specifically in homes and buildings. I have clear sense.
And when I came into mom’s space after coming in, I was shocked. I said, what’s going on? I immediately thought someone passed away. That’s how, how heavy an energy in the room was. And she said, it’s OK. I just need to tell you what’s happened. And my mother has always spoken to me as an adult since I was really, really small. She never, ever kept anything. There was never she shouldn’t know that, she’s too young. That was never a thing between me and my mother. So she just spilled it. She said this lady came in here and this is what she did. This is what I heard. She laid it out. And I’m like. Do we need to pray? Do you want me to call granny? And she’s like, no, it’s OK, it’s OK! We’re, we’re, going to be fine. And it’ took probably, probably three days. Probably three days to get past the scared every, you know, every knock at the door. Every time the phone rang, that type of thing. Took a few days to get over it.
But my mother’s a very strong woman. And the one thing that she always did for us is, any type of little ritual she had, she would use, she used to take – and I use this on my own children. She would take and blow, the bad dreams out of our ears. That was a ritual. I passed that on to my children, and I would also do the sign of the cross on their foreheads. And say the Lord’s, or say the in the name of the Father and Son, Holy Ghost in Latin. And that always made them fine. They felt they were protected. And for them, that was their protection. My mother was the same. What she did, she did that to us. So once that happened, we were all OK at it. The boys, my younger brothers were never involved in any of this. They never knew anything about it. But that comes from being the oldest child and the girl, right? You know, I’m the one that’s going to be able to learn these types of things.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And did you, after it, did your, mum do a house cleansing? Like an energetic cleansing of the house?
Oh yes, absolutely! My mother, and in our practices, Appalachian magic and folklore is. It’s not really who do it’s conjecture, but it it’s using what you have on hand, right? It’s a form of kitchen witchcraft. It’s whatever you have salt, pepper, garlic, sage, a great big pot for a cauldron, that type thing. I mean, it’s everything that you have on hand. There was some use of bones, some use of stones, lots of different herbs. But, when it came to my mother’s specific cleansing, she put together vinegar, salt and water. She would always say the twenty third psalm over it. And then she would spritz in all of the corners of the house, because the devil can’t have it common. And I know saying this to someone that doesn’t have it as a regular practice, I know that it sounds strange to you, and it sounds crazy coming from me. But I mean, it was just normal practice in my world.
Not, not at all. Not at all. I run a Facebook group the same name as a podcast Walking the Shadowlands. And actually the podcast started from the Facebook group. And I always, I created documents for my members, teaching them stuff like this, How to clean energies. Now in New Zealand. We tend to use salt and water a lot. But I’ve never heard vinegar being added, that’s really interesting.
It makes it sour, and a demon can’t stand a sour.
Right, right, right. The same as the salt. Oh, that’s really interesting. But of course, actually, it’s the intent behind it that does the trick. The rest is just ritual that focuses your intent. Like a, like the pen in the laser beam. The pen is just the tool that focuses the laser. And so, the ritual is what focuses your intent, for listeners who may not understand what it’s about.
There, there is a lot of intention behind the majority of my craft. My mother, my grandfather – my grandfather, as I said before, was clairvoyant. And he never, ever spoke of anything that was what you would consider witchcraft related, or occult related. It was everything was a gift from God. And that’s how he saw it. And he saw his clairvoyance as a gift from God, as did my mother. But, she said that it doesn’t mean that it’s wrong, if you’re practicing, and using a gift that was given to you. It’s not wrong. And it’s not wrong in the eyes of God. So that’s how she rationalized being able to use her craft.
Right now, my beliefs have expanded from that. I think more, of a, over the world atheistic view. I believe that all gods were human concepts at one point. There is no physical proof of any actual God ever being on the planet, or being in the sky, for that matter. So, every God is a human concept. And it doesn’t matter what you call your spiritual God, it’s just where you grew up that determines, who your spiritual God is. So, with mom, it was always God’s gift. With Papa, it was God’s gift. Granny said, you’re going to go to hell. That was her side. But I was taught to believe what I would like to believe, and take with me what feels right in my heart. And my mother didn’t push church and Christianity, but my grandmother did. So being that I got both side,s and the freedom at Mom’s to choose and look for and ask questions, that’s what I got there. And at Grannie’s it was you do what the book tells you to do, and that’s just how it is!
Right. I’ve always taught my children pretty much the same thing. That they are free to choose their own path. And it’s not my role to tell them that they have to believe this. Or they have to believe that. Everybody, has to find their own way. And, and there’s no right or wrong way. There’s many paths up the mountain.
Oh, absolutely. I don’t believe that there is any one end all, be all in any religion, in any religion. And especially in witchcraft and witchcraft. There are so many different paths, because there are so many different types of witches. Myself, I’m an eclectic and an eclectic means that I draw from several different paths. And anything that resonates with me I keep, and everything else I leave behind. So that’s why I know so much about so many different areas, because I have pick and choose, chosen out of those different areas. Now there are some that are just as devout and just as zealous in their practice as any Christian, any Catholic, any Jew. I mean, they’re just a zealot in their practice. And this is how it is. No. I’m alright, you can have those.
Right, right. Absolutely. And it’s – in that instance, it simply becomes another religion, doesn’t it?
It does. It does.
More than a practice. And witchcraft is about the craft. It’s a craft. It’s a learning, it’s a tool. It’s not meant to be a religion. Never meant to be a religion.
And for my understanding, witchcraft dates back from Lemurian times. That’s when it was first started, the Lemurians. And a lot of people don’t believe, or have never heard of the Lemurian culture, which was a culture that existed before Atlantis. And a lot of people don’t believe Atlantis existed either. But, the Lemurians were a nature based culture. And they lived in close harmony with nature, very much like wiccans do. Well, those that practice witchcraft I mean, and pagans.
Well, the belief in Atlantis – OK, the ocean is extremely large. We have not even scratched the surface, as to what the ocean holds. So until you show me otherwise, mermaids exist, Atlantis existed. Yes. I’m sorry. Going on record right now. Sorry. Because there is no way for you to tell me otherwise. There’s no way for you to get down there. So don’t, don’t try. But anything that is. I’m not sure if you saw my video about primitive man?
No, I’m sorry I haven’t seen that one.
Back when primitive man came about. He couldn’t understand the forces that were going on around him. The wind and the rain. And the sun, and hurricanes, and things like that. He couldn’t understand storms. So he thought, there has to be some otherworldly superhuman that is governing these forces. And that, is how our connection with nature began. We were looking for what was causing this to happen. And since we couldn’t find – our primitive mind, couldn’t wrap around what was causing it, we didn’t know science. We took it to a spiritual level, and that’s just how religion, most religions started. And our connection with nature has been ongoing from the time that we crawled out from the little primordial ooze. We have been linked. But we have lost that. Technology has killed a lot of our, our nature interaction. I see it so much. I see it so much, even just the generations that we have now. My generation played outside. If you couldn’t pay these children to go outside! You couldn’t pay ‘em! I mean. No, no.
We’ve definitely lost touch with, with nature. And the last generations that have come up, my children, your children, probably are the last generation, that did spend time outside.
Didn’t spend very much time outside. And strangely enough, I am just as guilty, as the ones that I say you’re not letting your kids go outside. Or you’re not making your kids go outside. I’m just as guilty. I didn’t make mine go outside. I think that my generation dropped the ball, that’s all it is. Our generation dropped the ball.
But, but, there’s a few things behind that. I know, like specifically in the States, there’s safety issues. It’s not so much here in New Zealand, we’re a reasonably safe country, compared to you. But like in the States, if I had children and lived in states, I wouldn’t be letting them go outside and play. Unless, I was there to watch them.
That is true, the, the state of the United States right now is, is crazy, it’s crazy. When my girls were growing up, now my girls are twenty one, so we’ll say sixteen years ago, when they were young. I had to know where they were. If they were going to a friend’s house, they had to call me when they got to the friend’s house. It couldn’t be that far. It literally had to be within walking distance, that I could see them go to the house. If it, was another street, I’m taking you! You’re not walking, or they’re coming to get you. You’re not walking. And we lived in a fairly safe neighbourhood. You know, it, it – still no!. And it saddened me, because, I ran those same streets that I raised my children on. And it was not even a thought when I was their age, to walk at night from three, four streets over, to a friend’s house. Not a thought in the world. My girls, no! Absolutely not! Couldn’t trust it. It was scary, couldn’t trust it.
Yeah very scary. And I think that’s part of the reason why the generations have changed. And also the technology, of course, kids are pretty much on their cell phones, and the games and TikTok.
My kids think it’s a real dag, that I’m on TikTok at my age.
Oh, I’ve gotten so many, Mom, what are you doing? Are you trying to embarrass me, all the time? I’m like why? She’s like, please, just don’t make thirst traps. Look, I’m old, honey. I’m not dead. OK. I’m not dead. She’s like, just don’t do those. Can’t you just talk about witchcraft? Yes, I can. She’s like, please just do that. OK.
OK, I’ll be old Mother Hubbard.
OK, back, back, to your stories. Share some more stories about – some of the stories that you’ve shared on TikTok. They’re really cool.
Well, let’s see. My grandfather had clair, clairvoyance, like I said. And one time he – this is from my mother. She said that one time, they were traveling here in Lexington, where I live, here in Kentucky. And they were going to the store or something along those lines, but he told her to roll her window up and lock the door and it was like ninety degrees outside. And she’s like, why Daddy? And he’s like, just trust me. When we turn this corner down here, a man’s going to jump on the back of this truck.
She said, well, then, let’s just not go that way. He said, I have to turn the corner, I can’t change fate. And she said, Well, OK. And she rolls the window up, locks the door. And just as soon as they round that corner, a big man jumps on the back of their truck and rides for about four blocks, and then just jumps off. And after that my papa said, it’s OK. You can roll your wind back down, and you can unlock the door. And she said, Daddy, if you knew he was going to be there, why did you turn that corner? And he said, Sissie, just because I can see it, doesn’t mean I have to change it.
That’s a really interesting perspective. It’s a very interesting perspective. So, what about – I know that you have had a few paranormal experiences. Can we hear some of those, please?
A couple? Well, let’s see. My grandfather and my grandmother lived in Carlisle, Kentucky, and I lived with them. I lived off and on with my grandmother, my grandfather, and my mother throughout my childhood. So at about seven or eight years old, I was living with them in Kentucky and we lived in a two story farmhouse. Now, we didn’t use the upstairs because it made everybody feel a little strange. You just got a bad feeling about there. So we just kept it as storage only. So all of the family was over for a birthday party, I believe it was. And since we didn’t sleep upstairs, we were all sleeping on couches, and in beds, and what not throughout the house in the lower level. And my mother gets up in the middle of the night to find my grandfather sitting in the kitchen table.
And she’s like daddy what are you doing? And he said, I’m listening to that man walk upstairs. She said, Have you been drinking? He said, no, I’m listening to that man, I’m telling you. She said, you’re crazy. He said, sit down and listen. So she sat down to listen for a few minutes and she heard it. He was walking from the top of the stairs to the end of the house and then back to the top of the stairs and banging his feet. And she said, Daddy. You need to ask that man if you can help him. He said, all right, so he stepped to the bottom of the stairs. He said, Sir, I don’t know if I can help you? But I’m willing to if I can. He walked from the top of those stairs over to a window and tapped on the window. Pappaw went upstairs next day, and opened that window. Well, a couple weeks go by and he finds out from a little man down at the general store, that a man had gotten trapped up there during a fire, and had died. And my grandfather set his spirit free.
Ah, why – I have to wonder? Seeing as, you know, like everybody felt that the upstairs didn’t feel right. Why didn’t your granddad investigate it before?
He’s a live, he was a live and let live kind of guy.
He was just that time. He was just that time. His sister, his sister lived in a house one time that was a former orphanage. And sickness had come upon the orphanage and the children had all passed away. When she moved in, she had no idea that this place was haunted. So she started to have encounters. She would feel something pulling on her apron while she was cooking or doing dishes. She would hear kids laughing and playing in the house. And it got to the point that she would trip over things that weren’t in her hallway. There was nothing in her hallway. She would be tripping over things that were not there. And she got to the point, that she started scolding them like they were her children. You all need to pick these toys up and you would hear rustling of kids, picking toys that. But luckily, she had that type of relationship because they saved her life. She got woken up in the middle of the night from screaming, she heard screaming, she got up in the house. Nothing was wrong. But she got this huge whiff of natural gas. And had she not woken up, she’d have died
So they were live and let live kind of people.
Goosebumps again! OK, well, that’s very, very interesting. That’s very interesting. So she had a really good relationship with the with the children’s spirits that were still in the house.
That’s really cool. Now, can you please – I’ve always found the Appalachian culture absolutely interesting. I wonder if you could share perhaps, some of the traditions and oh, what’s the word I had in my mind before? Yeah, I guess some of the traditions that you guys do that are specific to you, to your region, like, you know – Do you have traditions around hunting? Traditions around food preparation, you know? Like the food you won’t pick at a certain time because it’s bad energy, or stuff like that? Do you know what I mean? Appalachian lore, I guess, is what I’m saying.
A lot of our planting and gardening, we did buy the Farmer’s Almanac. And we always went by – When it comes to planting something, we either went by frost or we went by moon. So, there were certain times of the month that you could just recently, I say just recently. I looked at the Farmer’s Almanac out of habit, to plant and put my herbs in my kitchen together. I planted and put them in their pots on the twenty-second because that was the day in February, that I was able to plant certain things and put them to seed. So some of those practices, we still keep.
We tell the weather about when it comes to how we’re, if we’re going to have a hard winter, or early spring, that type of thing. We pay attention to the weather. We pay attention to a persimmon. A persimmon is a little fruit that we have that’s local here and it grows on a tree. It kind of looks like a cumquat, little, small thing. And if you cut it open, the seed of it will have either a fork or a spoon shape on the inside. And a fork means you’ll have a harsh winter and a spoon means you’ll have a soft winter. So those are some things that we’ve learned. Like I said over the years. We don’t plant let’s seen – we’re getting ready to come up on cicadas. Do you know what those are? OK, we’re going to go up on our seventeen year cycle for cicadas. Right. And they’re getting ready to start popping out of the ground. So we know that it’s time to watch what you put in a cicada area because you’re sure to get it eaten up. I don’t I don’t know, I don’t really know any specifics. Doesn’t come to mind as to what traditions that, that seem strange to other people.
What about lore? The lore?
We follow, there are a lot of birds and superstitions that we have. Lots and lots of superstitions. Brooms are a big deal in Appalachian culture. Birds are a big deal in Appalachian culture. If you see birds, specifically dark boat birds, if you see them in twos or any even number, that’s good. Any odd number is bad. One is a sign of death. Two is a sign of happiness and abundance. Three, someone’s talking about you, and those types of things. When it comes to broom’s, if you get swept across the feet, you’re never going to get married. If you get hit with a broom, you’re going to go to jail. If you come into a new house, make sure that you have a new broom with you. You leave your old broom in the old house. So that you leave your old worries and troubles behind.
Behind, right. And do you also have if turn the broom upside down, you won’t get visitors.
Yes, and if it falls over, depending on, if it falls with the bristles down or with the top down. It’s whether or not you’re going to have a male or a female visitor.
Oh! We say that about dropping knifes.
Oh, yeah? See, I love to learn about other cultures, that’s, I think that’s what the heart of my eclectic witchcraft is. Because, I really like to learn so many other things, and not focus on just one. It’s a little touch of ADHD, too. Let’s see, if you drop a dishcloth in the kitchen, a dish towel, you’re going to have to cook more food. Because, you have company coming. Ring around the moon is a sign that there’s danger near, or something, someone’s going to be sick soon. Salt is a big thing here, as I’m sure it is there. But, we take salt on our windowsills and at the threshold of our doors. We put bay leaves with intention, prosperity, happiness, and love underneath our doormats. In my family, we do. It’s not necessarily all Appalachia, but specifically my family. We have a lot of weirds things. Lots of weird things.
No. They’re really, they’re really interesting. Well to me, I find it fascinating. Because, a lot of these so-called superstitions started, because of observations of people. And, and, a lot of them are – Yeah, I don’t know how to explain them, but I find them really interesting. A lot of them have a basis in fact. Some don’t, of course, but some are more energetic. But, a lot of them have a basis, in fact, like the planting by the moon. Like the Māori here in New Zealand, always planted by the moon. They plant their kumera, by the moon.
We, as far as some of our other superstitions, they’re just as different region to region of , as they are across the United States. Because, here it’s good luck for us, because we’re in Kentucky. We use horseshoes over our doors and the horseshoe. Always has to be facing up.
To hold in your good luck.
And you have now in southern Appalachia, some of them put corncobs above their doors. Because, it will catch the good luck as it comes through in each of little holes. So it’s just it’s just as where you raised. It’s really about where you were, raised.
I was just going to say about the horseshoes. Here in New Zealand, also, it’s the same thing. Well, not so much my generation, but in my mother’s generation, horseshoes, were a big thing and they had to be up. Otherwise the luck would run out, if they were upside down.
Right. Now, the birds. We were not allowed to have birds as pets, when we were children. Because, birds would carry your secrets. They spoke to their brothers out the windows, and they would carry your secrets down the street. If you cleaned out your hairbrush, you had to make sure that you either burned it or put it in the toilet, because the bird would carry it and give you a headache. Because they would use it for their nests. And the working of your hair will give you a headache.
Right, of course. Because, your energy’s attached.
Flying into the house, causes death to the family. It’s a harbinger of death.
We have that in New Zealand as well.
Yeah. See some of these things, if you think about it? If so many different areas think in the same way. Your people of New Zealand had no contact with the people over here in Appalachia. But you guys still think the same way we do! Something right there tells you might be right? Two different cultures, think in the same way.
Really interesting isn’t it? And in New Zealand, it’s a specific bird called the Piwakawaka or the Fantail. Which is a beautiful bird. It just kind of flits and hovers. And, particularly Māori say that if the Piwakawaka comes into your home, then that’s a sign that somebody is going to die. But if it comes in the same way and goes out the same way, it’s not. Interesting, isn’t it?
That’s the same here, it has to go out the same way it came in. Yeah, and that’s really hard to catch birds and take them out the same door.
Isn’t that interesting? And here we are, like, on different sides of the hemisphere, and we have the same traditions.
Like I said, if two separate cultures think the same way with having no contact with one another. Regular contact with one another. To be able to say they grew up thinking the same way. They weren’t neighbours. They were literally on other sides of the planet, but they thought the same way you thought. And there has to be some basis in that, that is outside of the human thought.
Absolutely, I agree! OK, so one last subject, the subject of myths and monsters.
Well, around here, there are stories of all kinds of critters that will get you. OK, now we think of. I think of – right off the top of my head. Locally, there are paranormal spots, that resonate right away. To make, for me to mention. There’s a place local here in Fayette County called Abol bridge. And it, it is the place where this lady hung herself, because her beau had cheated on her, and left her at the altar. So she hung herself. And when she hung, her eyes came from her head with such force that they hit the bridge, OK? And if you go to this bridge in the middle of night, you will see eyes sitting on this bridge staring at you.
So the creepies and crawlies in our areas, aren’t necessarily cryptids, so much as they are ghost stories. We have a lot of covered bridges here. So we always think of spirits that live in the bridges. If you hear it creak as you go across it, that’s a spirit calling to you. And you’re not supposed to answer. But all bridges over here creak, so it’s kind of hard. It’s some things that aren’t, aren’t, necessarily found, and I can’t think of any crypts or any monsters that we that we fear?
I keep getting in my mind, that you have a wolf creature.
A wolf creature?
Like the French have the loup-garou, like a werewolf type creature.
Not that I am aware of. We have a Wampus cat, but that’s more southern, than it is up where I am. A Wampus cat and we have deer people. We have deer people as well. The deer people actually, is more of an indigenous history. But it is still stories that we tell. And then, of course, the windigo. But that’s, that’s all mountainous areas.
Oh, that’s what you’re talking about. The Wendigo, he’s the never satisfied, never satiated. His hunger is constant and he can be actually created by hunger for anything. Whether it be hunger for alcohol, hunger for romantic love, hunger for food, hunger for money. He could be created by any of those means. It’s just if they let that craving take over. It gets to them and turns them crazy, I guess is the best way to say it. But that’s what you’re talking about. The Wendigo. Yeah, that’s, that’s more of a native tradition. But since we’re so close to them in our, you know, tradition. Then we adopt that. But not really not really adopted. But we, we believe the same things they believe. Because, we all were raised in the same area.
Right, I have heard of that term before. So is that something that in and these beings are supposed to be cannibalistic? Is that correct?
Absolutely. Absolutely. Wampus Cat is. That’s normally a female. There are three different stories when it comes to the Wampus cat. And I actually got them as knowledge from another Appalachian, witch on TikTok, strangely enough. She was the one who turned me on to the stories, because, I hadn’t heard them. I had heard of the Wampus cat, but it wasn’t something that we heard all the time. Maybe once or twice at , at a Bible gathering or something. They told scary stories, and one of them just happens to be the Wampus cat. But I didn’t know anything in depth about it, until I heard her telling about it. And that was Appalachia. But it’s Southern Appalachia where we have things like – we do have the deer people here because. Deer are
Crazy. There’s lots of deer here. Lots and lots of deer. So when it comes to the deer people, firstly, you don’t want to come in contact with them because they are cannibalistic. And to see one or find one, you would go into a clearing where you know deer to be, and that they come to feed every single morning. And you find the one deer that doesn’t quite look like a deer. And if it gets your scent, it will raise up pop it’s kneecaps back, and charge you like a full stag would. And it will eat you, if it catches you.
Oh, that’s pretty scary.
So you don’t go deer hunting by yourself, ever!
Oh, and it’s really interesting, as you were saying that, I was getting this actually, really vivid picture in my mind of this creature. Really interesting. Quite lanky, quite lanky. It was the kneecaps popping back that did it for me. Oh, my goodness. So . . .
And the teeth! The reason that, you know, it’s not a deer is because deer have arbivore teeth. These teeth are sharp. You’ll see them when you see that it’s not a deer. You’ll see that it has sharp teeth.
Oh, that’s really interesting. So how often have? Have you personally ever heard of anybody having an experience with a deer person?
I have, I have not had any experience. Or had anyone in my family that has had encounters with the deer people. We have heard the wailing woman. It’s the bobcat. But when she screams, she screams like a woman in peril, a damsel in distress. OK, but that is it’s kind of like the Wampus Cat story. She is a woman who was not supposed to see some of the native, indigenous ritual. And when she came to see these rituals, she had skinned a bobcat and placed it over her, so that they didn’t see her as a woman. They saw her as bobcat. And when she was found out, she was cursed to wear that skin for the rest of her days. And because of that, she’s pretty upset with mankind and she will attack on sight.
So that’s the Wampus woman?
That’s the Wampus Cat.
Wampus cat. That’s really interesting. That has shades of Skinwalker.
It does. A lot of a lot of our stories. It, they may have different names, but a lot of them share the same traits. So it just means that you experience the same thing, I experienced. You’re just calling it something different than I thought.
Yeah. Fascinating isn’t it. Isn’t it interesting? Very, very interesting. So of course, that having like the deer people around where you are, it would be – people would be very cautious about going out. Like going out at night. That might be a bit of an issue.
We never went camping any time there was going to be a full moon. Because, we didn’t want to run the risk of running into anything that had its change time, around the full moon. Because things – I mean, lunacy comes from Luna, the moon. Meaning crazy. So anything that would have its time around the moon, and was governed by the force of the moon, we didn’t go around at that time. We didn’t go camping, or fishing, or anything like that, when it was around the full moon. Because, of just that exact thing. We didn’t want to run into anything. And I thought my grandfather and my uncles were trappers. They used to go out and trap for beavers and minks and muskrats, there for their pelt, back in the day. And they wouldn’t go out at all, to do any type of trapping around the full moon. For fear of running into the critters that lived in the woods. And we respected them. We never, ever went where we were not supposed to be as regular humans, around things that lived, and were always there in the woods. That’s their home. You respect their time.
Oh, absolutely. And of course, I suppose another creature that you guys possibly have in your area, is the Bigfoot?
Yeah. Well, he’s really everywhere. There have been sightings, there have been people that have said they’ve seen him. I really don’t think that it’s so much a big foot, as it’s just a – I don’t really say a missing link, but I do believe that it is an unevolved human. I don’t think that it’s. Or maybe he’s an over-evolved human.
Well they are very intelligent.
I’m not sure exactly if you could be where we should have gone. You never know?
There are schools of thought, that they are inter-dimensional beings, that can pop in and out of our dimension.
Absolutely. Absolutely. I believe one hundred percent! Because, there is no proof to the contrary. If you can’t prove that it isn’t, then what do you? How are you going to tell me that it’s not?
Right. Really interesting. Look, WitchMama, I’ve really, absolutely enjoyed this conversation with you. And I’m pretty sure that my listeners will find it fascinating as well. It’s always wonderful to get a different cultural perspective on things.
Well, I appreciate it.
Awesome. So look, I knew it was going to be a great conversation. I just knew. As soon as I saw you, I thought I just have to reach out to this lady and see if you would come on. You know, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I, I’m glad that you did. I mean, I really thought I have nothing to bring this lady, I’m just a little old nobody from Kentucky. I don’t know. I don’t know what she’s looking for. But I’ll be here. I’ll I’m for it. I’m here for it. But I don’t know what I get, what I have for you.
We had plenty.
I was happy I could help.
It’s really, really awesome.
It has been a pleasure talking to you.
I hope that you all have enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. In fact, while speaking with WitchMama. What really surprised me, was how much our cultures have in common. Particularly being on the opposite sides of the planet. I found that incredibly interesting, particularly the belief systems.
Speaking of beliefs, I have found other people who talk about the beliefs and cryptids of the Appalachians. And in some cases, their experiences with them. So, I’ve decided that next season, I’m going to do an episode specifically on these creatures and what is taught about them. Hopefully, I may be able to get some guests on to talk about them as well. So keep an eye out for that – and on the subject of cryptids and legendary creatures, be sure and join us next episode, when I talk with a delightful Navajo couple, who live on the Navajo reservation and their experience with a Skinwalker. This will make your skin crawl.
Our bumper music this episode is called Banjo Hoedown by Andy Slatter. Just a little bit of high country there for you all.
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