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WHEN you have the rheumatism, carry a potato in your pocket. The potato will become hard after a time, and believers in its virtues affirm that this is because of the rheumatism it has absorbed.
Eat poison ivy, and it will never poison you afterward. When this remedy is mentioned, the comment usually is, "Well, I guess it wouldn't. You wouldn't live to give it the chance."
When a child has fits, the parents sometimes get a puppy for the child to play with and sleep with. The belief is that the dog will take the disease, and that as the dog grows worse the child will grow better. When the dog dies, the child will be completely cured.
Carry a horse-chestnut in your pocket and you will not be troubled by rheumatism.
The child that wears a black silk cord around its neck will not have the croup.
The black silk cord so worn is likewise good to keep off the diphtheria.
If a young person sleeps with an elderly person the latter will weaken the former by drawing vitality from the young person. The elder is not supposed to get any benefit from the fact.
Prick a sty with a pricker off a gooseberry bush, and it will get well at once.
Rub a sty with a wedding-ring, and it will go off.
Pull an eyewinker from the sty, and that will be the end of it.
Some prefer to make sure of a sty's leaving by touching it with the tail of a black cat.
In ye olden time one of the farmers at Hadley, Mass., had the misfortune to cut his foot while chopping in the woods. Moreover, the wound was so grievous it refused to heal. Neither the home poultices nor the doctor's lotions had any effect, and the man began to fear that these were his last days. While things were thus, going from bad to worse, an Indian woman heard of the case, and offered to heal the man's wound. Her services were accepted, and she asked for the axe which made the cut. When it was given to her, she did the axe-helve up carefully in salve, and the man's wound got well right off.
Wear a red string around your neck to keep off rheumatism.
Carry an onion in your pocket, and you will not have fits.
Carry camphor-gum, and you will not catch small-pox or contagious diseases.
"I had a great-aunt that used to have the cramp terrible till some one told her to tie a cotton string around her ankle. After that she never had a cramp to the end of her days."
The gall of rattlesnakes used to be thought excellent as a cure for biliousness.
Wear an eel-skin around your waist to keep off rheumatism. Some say they had rather have the rheumatism.
Carry a piece of brimstone to keep off the itch. Some people carry it to keep off scarlet fever and other contagious diseases. Others wear a little bag of sulphur hung by a string around the neck. There are those who carry a lump of sulphur in their pocket, and they will get it out and sniff it vigorously when they think themselves in danger.
If a bald-headed man washes his head with sage tea, it will make a new growth of hair come out.
The use of tobacco is believed to prevent one's taking diseases.
The sick person that shows an inclination to stretch will get well.
If a sick person itches, he will get well.
If he is cross, he will get well.
"That isn't always so. There was a man in our town who was very sick, and his wife did something or other he didn't like, and he sat right up in bed and swore at her, and the next instant he fell over dead."
Put the first aching tooth you have pulled in a glass of whiskey. Then drink the whiskey, and you will never have occasion to have another tooth pulled because it aches.
Carry an onion with you to keep off diseases. You can't take a disease from any odor that the onion scent is strong enough to overcome so that you don't smell it. Indeed, whatever you can't smell won't harm you, onion or no onion. But if you think you smell a disease, even if you don't, you are liable to have that disease.
A good way to keep from having cramps is to wear an eel-skin around your ankle.
Read gravestone epitaphs, and you will lose your memory.
When you want to go to sleep and can't, count up to twenty-three hundred.
If that doesn't work, just imagine a crow flying round and round up in the sky in large circles.
Sleep with a piece of steel under your pillow, and you will not have the rheumatism. I have heard of one woman who always put her scissors under her pillow, when bedtime came, for this purpose.
"Do you ever have the nightmare? Well, sir, my father used to have nightmare right along every night. He'd be all of a didder — shakin' and shudderin' till my mother'd take hold of him and wake him up. That'd bring him right out of 'em.
"One time he went away from home, and it come night and they was sittin' around in the tavern bar-room, and he told one o' the men there that he really dreaded to go to bed. He told him how he always had the nightmare, and how, bein' away from home, he wouldn't have his wife to wake him up. He said he was afraid he might die in it.
"'Well,' says the man, 'I'll tell you a cure for that; and if it don't work when you try it to-night, I'll stand drinks for the crowd in the mornin'. If it does work, you c'n stand the drinks.'
"There was fifteen or twenty men there; but father agreed, for he knew if he got a sure cure for those nightmares, it'd be worth it.
"So the man says, 'Now, when you go to bed, you just smell your stock-in's after you take 'em off. That's all you've got to do, and you won't have no nightmare to-night, I'll warrant you.'
"Father did it, and it was just as the man said. Now, if any of your friends have the nightmare, you want to tell 'em of that, and they'll thank ye for it when they've found out how sure it cures 'em."
If your right nostril bleeds, you can stop it by tying a cord tight around your left little finger. If it is your left nostril that bleeds, tie the cord around the right little finger.
"My brother used to be quite a hand to have cramps. Finally some one told him that when he had 'em he must wet his finger, and make a cross right on the calf of his leg. He done it, and it cured him every time. He says he don't know of anything better'n that for cramps."
Wear a piece of red woollen yarn around your neck, and it will keep you from having the nosebleed. "My brother had to do that."
If you have a sore throat, tie one of the stockings you have worn through the day around your neck when you go to bed. The sore throat can't stand that, and will have left by morning. The stocking should be tied on with the hollow of the foot next to the throat.
Some people keep themselves from taking contagious diseases by wearing a silver piece on a string around their neck. When, presently, the silver piece turns black, they know the silver has done good work in absorbing diseases that otherwise might have killed them. From a physician's point of view, however, this black on the coin is the effect on the silver of the sulphur in the secretions of the skin.
A good many people have an idea that a person enjoys better health, and lives longer, if he is in the habit of sleeping with his head to the north. The important point is not that the head is to the north, but that the electric pole is in that direction.
Some people prefer to sleep with the head to the east. It is in that direction that the earth turns, and they think it healthier to be projected through space head first.
Wear a tarred string around your neck to keep you from taking contagious diseases.
If you want to go to sleep and can't, just imagine two hundred sheep going through some bars one at a time. Count 'em up slow, and it will put you to sleep sure before you get to the last one. It takes your mind, you see.
Trim your finger-nails on Friday, and you will not have the toothache for a week.
Eat pudding and milk, and it will make your hair curl. If it suits your taste better, you can eat crusts of bread; for that, too, will make your hair curl.
You can stop another person's bleeding by touching the cut, bruise, or whatever it is, with your finger, and saying, "I bequeath thee not to bleed, not to fester, not to canker, nor to swell, but to heal. In the name of God, amen."
You need not say this aloud unless you choose. The bleeding will stop at once. This works on animals as well as people.
If your eyes are weak, have your ears bored just as you would for earrings. That will help make your eyes strong.
You can cure another person's headache by rubbing the aching one's head. The headache will presently leave the sufferer, and you will have it yourself, but less severely. A rheumatic shoulder treated in the same way brings the same results.
"I don't like to believe in presentiments and things of that sort, but I do have spells of believing. It's mostly your imagination that's queer, though. There was a fellow once that worked in a mill in Holyoke, and the fellows got hold of his hat one morning and tightened the band. Then they told him his head was swollen dreadfully.
"He didn't think so; but they got him to try on his hat, and it wouldn't go on. They said he looked sick, and he looked in the glass and said he believed he did look sick; he hadn't thought of it before, and he went home feeling pretty badly off."
Soon after the war, it was discovered by one of our American physicians that certain rays from the sun possessed marked curative qualities. The blue rays, in particular, had remarkable virtues. This gave rise to what was known as "The blue glass craze." For a few months a great deal was published in the papers on the subject, and it was a common topic of conversation. People had blue panes of glass put into their windows, or they covered their window panes with blue tissue for the light to fall through. Some had glass summer-houses made all in blue, and lived in them much of their time. Others made blue glass sanitariums of the upper story of their houses by putting in blue skylights.
Many marvellous cures were effected, but the agitation and the interest in the matter passed away as quickly as does a summer day's thunder-storm. It was claimed that a sunbath under this blue glass was good for diseases of all kinds, and that blue glass was also good to assist vegetation. In fact, the believers in its virtues used it over their hotbeds.