Ozark tricks of love

Love and courtship have been around for as long as mankind. But it isn’t always easy, is it?

Folks in the Ozarks used to believe in a number of ways to cut corners and help stack the deck in their favor a little bit when it came to the sordid game of affection.

Folklorist Vance Randolph recorded a lot of those love tricks for posterity in the first half of the 20th century. 

For instance, you can hide the dried tongue of a turtle dove in a woman’s house to “make her fall madly in love” with you. Conversely, women may hide dried turkey bones in a man’s house, or on her person, to force the man into feeling especially romantic.

Or you can grind up a wild gander’s foot and put a pinch of the powder into a person’s coffee to not only make them fall in love with you, but also keep them faithful. Other love potions, sneaked into a person’s drink, can be made from the flowering yarrow plant, the dodder vine, the roots of the lady’s slipper orchid, and, of course, the leaves and stems of mistletoe. Now isn’t that much easier than dating?

On the more macabre side, a needle stuck into a corpse, buried in grave dirt, and wrapped in cloth cut from a grave sheet makes a powerful love charm. I’d have to really be crazy about someone to actually ever try that, however.

Wasp nests pinned to one’s underwear also make good love charms. Just make double sure the nests are empty.

Ladies can steal the band off a man’s hat and make a garter of it to spark affection in the owner of the hat. This was when men still wore hats, not counting ball caps. I suppose it would still work with a western hat, though. Men do still wear those.

Speaking of garters, yellow works best to attract a mate (the garters remain hidden from view. It isn’t the actual visual but the magic of the color itself that does the trick). That’s for those women who don’t go around snatching hat bands.

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