Page 20 - How we Cured Ourselves
ISSUE : Issue 7
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1974/3/1
There were many healers who were considered especially good at just certain cures. Donald Garrett MacDonald told us of a Sandy MacLeod, a man good to cure a toothache. He would write out a verse from the Bible on a sheet of paper. You weren't supposed to read it or even look at it. It would be folded about an inch square, sewn in cloth and affixed to a cord to be worn about the neck, Donald Garrett remembers wearing one of these verses and going without toothache for over two years. Jessijg MacLeod, her son Dan A? MacLeod; Gwennie Pottie with Mary Smith Dan A, MacLeod's mother was a Blood Charmer. She was able to stop the flow of blood. She said she got it from a French doctor when she was young. Like so many cures it could only be passed to a member of the opposite sex; and to work the charm, she had first to be specifically asked to stop the bleeding. Dan A. was making a beam for a bobsleigh, working on the kitchen floor. The axe caught in his clothes and he drove it into his hand above the thumb. His brother hitched the wagon and headed for the doctor in Baddeck; that would be twelve miles round trip. The hand bled terribly. Dan A. said to her, "Mother, stop the blood." Then she caught his eye and they looked at one another. She never touched it. And she said something now forgotten. And the bleeding stopped, Jessie MacLeod died in her 96th year. (John Joseph Gillis, Sydney River, told us that Perry Lewis was a Blood Charmer and the way he worked was to ask the bleeder's age. And as soon as he was told, the bleeding stopped.) Gwennie Pottie grew up with Mary Smith and her brother Dan Smith of West Tarbot. Brother and sister were able to work cures. Dan cured toothache. He would say some words, put a hanky over the ear and blow on it 3 times. Mary Smith cured worms, yel? low jaundice and what the old people called "gravel" • usually referring to stones in the gall bladder, kidney or urinary bladder, usually a difficulty passing urine. For worms it was a kind of prayer that would include the name of the afflicted and end with "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen." You had to be very careful about the name. If the child was illegitimate you had to give the father's name. Catherine MacDonald out the Meadow Road told us that Mary Smith cured her of yellow jaundice. She was in the hospital in Baddeck and told not to ex? pect to be out for at least 3 weeks. Her brother Norman went to Mary Smith, who sent Catherine skim milk to take 3 times a day. Mrs, Pottie said the old woman would have made a kind of prayer with Catherine's name and breathed three times into the milk. Catherine drank the milk, a little each day • and in 3 days she was well enough to go home. But she adds that she did not know Norman was going to Mary Smith's, and yet at the time Norman was at the house, probably while Mary Smith was alone in her room breathing the prayer into the milk, Catherine began to feel better. To help someone who had trouble passing urine, Mary Smith would take a piece of homespun yarn the measure of the sufferer's vaist. This string would have first been put in stale urine for 3 days, then dried, A knot was tied on each end of the string and then a knot was put exactly in the middle. Then the string went around the waist with that center knot exactly over the spot where there was pain. Mrs. Pottie said there was a woman with this difficulty in Saskatchewan and Mary Smith was able to help her through the mail. Mary Smith died in 1963, 90 years old. She was herself an arthritic cripple for 70 years. Cape Breton's Maga2ine/20
Cape Breton's Magazine