Wednesday, October 26, 2011

From Slave Narratives

I have a Kindle, and over at Project Gutenberg, I found quite a few slave narratives, which were taken by interviews in the 30s. Quite interesting, and more than a couple of times, Raw Head & Bloody Bones was mentioned. I had to look it up - and found the story.

Here it is.

Back in the forest lived an old medicine woman and her razor back pig, Raw Head. Some people claim they even saw the pig walk upright like a human, but generally no one ever believed them. Each week Raw Head and the old woman walked into town like old friends. They would go to the mercantile where the owner would give the pig scraps and purchase items from the old woman. One week, the old woman showed up without her pig. The owner of the mercantile asked her where the pig was. The old woman replied that she didn't know.

When the old woman returned home, she decided to find out where the pig had gone. She conjured up some liquid on a plate that would allow her to see what she wanted to know. The vision she saw was of a local hunter killing her pig to sell to the local butcher. She could see her dead pig hanging, gutted and a pile of bloody bones nearby on the ground. The old woman knew what she had to do. She began chanting "Raw Head and Bloody Bones". At the butcher's building, the bones began moving and pulling back together. The head, that lay scraped and bloody, began to roll towards the bones. The old woman continued chanting, "Raw Head and Bloody Bones, dance!" The skeleton of the pig came completely together, and then it began wandering toward the hunter's home.

It wasn't long before the pig found the hunter taking care of his animals in the barn for the night. When the hunter heard the voice of the pig, he thought it was children playing a prank on him, and he said the person should step out in the open. The hunter didn't quite believe what he was seeing, but he knew it was pure evil. The creature was a glaring, snarling bloody skeleton of the pig. He ran to his front porch, but the pig beat him there. The hunter screamed into the night. No one but the old woman, his neighbor, heard him. A sound of loud crunching and slurping noises ensued.

Every full moon, the old pig can still be seen walking upright through town with the old woman next to him, heading towards the mercantile for his scraps.

According to wiki:

Bloody Bones is a boogeyman feared by children, and is sometimes called Rawhead and Bloody-Bones, Tommy Rawhead, or "Rawhead". The term was used "to awe children, and keep them in subjection", as recorded by John Locke in 1693. The stories originated in Great Britain where they were particularly common in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and spread to North America, where the stories were common in the Southern USA. The Oxford English Dictionary cites 1550 as the earliest written appearance as "Hobgoblin, Rawhed, and Bloody-bone".

Bloody-Bones is usually said to live near ponds, but according to Ruth Tongue in Somerset Folklore, "lived in a dark cupboard, usually under the stairs. If you were heroic enough to peep through a crack you would get a glimpse of the dreadful, crouching creature, with blood running down his face, seated waiting on a pile of raw bones that had belonged to children who told lies or said bad words.”

You can also read books online over at Project Gutenberg - and it's all free. Quite a few books there!


  1. Diane:
    Somehow, I have the feeling that there's some analogy somewhere.
    If one delves into folklore, one can often draw comparisons to the "real world"...

    Good story.
    (and I thought you were just trying to scare the beejeezus outta me foir

    Stay safe down there

  2. LOL.. well it is a good story for Halloween. I should commit this story to memory and use it at camp to tell scary stories to the kids at night. Usually the only ones I can think of are about serial killers I've read about. Like the guy who used an axe on his victims, and was thought to feed the parts to the alligators back in the swamp behind his house.