1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Raw Head & Bloody Bones

Herman King - September, 2009

Of all the bogeymen of childhood, none was more fearful than old raw head and bloody bones. just his name could terrify children, especially those as visually imaginative as myself. The legend can be traced back to the Ozarks, where the Irish brought it over from the old country. The Appalachians were also settled by the Celts and shared many of the same legends and folktales. Parents were always telling their kids if you don't behave, old raw head and bloody bones will get you. and back then, kids tended to believe everything adults told them.

That's probably one reason I always disliked the times when hogs were slaughtered and scraped. The pitiful mutilated animals reminded me of raw head and bloody bones. But that's one fear I conquered at an early age. One day our mother went to town to grocery shop. She left my older brother in charge (and as you know that is like leaving the fox in charge of the henhouse). We had a friendly neighbor who liked his "sippins." When mom was gone he brought his jug by to share with us. I don't remember how much I sipped, but after a while, I felt bold and courageous, a destroyer of dragons. I went about the house looking in every dark corner for old raw head and bloody bones, daring him to come out and confront me.

 When mom returned she paid a visit to the neighbor. I don't know what she said to him but he never graced us with his presence again. My brothers had their laughs for years, but I was never afraid of raw head and bloody bones again. I had challenged him and found him wanting. The small amount of alcohol I consumed acted like a catharsis. I had probably chased him back to the Ozarks, perhaps even the emerald isle! But parents soon replaced him with a more effective means of modifying the rambunctious behavior of kids. It was called "the switch." As for raw head and bloody bones, I haven't heard of him in modern times. But occasionally I see something that reminds me of him on the sci-fi channel. But Jason and Freddy Krueger are pretty tame compared to old raw head and bloody bones.


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