Rawhead and Bloody Bones: The American Version
More properly, this is ONE of the Americanized versions. Rawhead and Bloody Bones has been around since at least the 1500s when he first appeared in the written folklore of England. (He’d probably been around even longer as an oral tradition.) He migrated to America along with the settlers, where, as stories are wont to do, his continued to evolve. In parts of the Midwest and the South, Rawhead and Bloody Bones—he is just one entity, despite having two names—was given an origin by storytellers.
This is a retelling of that origin, an excerpt from my original play HAINT’ED: TRUE ALABAMA GHOST STORIES. I enjoyed the story when I first heard it. I hope you will, too.
See, now, they was this patch a’ woods they called the Devil’s Cellar. That’s where Ol’ Betty the witch lived. Ever’body was scared of her, but whenever somebody’d get sick, they’d go ta’ see Ol’ Betty for some potion ta’ cure ‘em. Did’n anybody dare ta’ cheat her.
The old woman’s only friend was this ol’ half-wild hog, a big ol’ razorback. Somebody stole that hog one day, carried it off an’ butchered it. When Ol’ Betty found it, wad’n nothin’ left but its skint head, an’ a pile a’ bloody bones.
Ol’ Betty took the skull an’ the bones back home with her. She strung all the pieces back together with wire. She had this ol’ bearskin rug, still had the head and claws attached, so she took off the claws an’ put ‘em on the skeleton, an’ she took the teeth out a’ the bear’s head an’ put ‘em in the hog’s skull. Then she commenced ta’ workin’ her magic. The boar come back ta’ life! Got up an’ stood on two feet, an’ ol’ Betty sent it after the hunter what had killed it! It found ‘im an it ate ‘im all up! Did’n leave nothin’ but a pile a’ bloody bones. That’s how ol’ Rawhead an’ Bloody Bones got its name.
Ol’ Betty is long dead now, but they’s folks still claim ta’ have seen Rawhead an’ Bloody Bones, down in the Devil’s Cellar, lookin’ for somebody else ta’ catch an’ eat!
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (www.evilcheezproductions.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/evilcheezproductions), specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/734763
MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!