The Wort Remover
My grandfather R. B. Watkins had the reputation of being able to remove warts. Now this is not intended to be derogatory, but many, if not most, people used to be very superstitious. This is understandable for many folks could not read and write, or barely could. And no wonder, they did not have the chance to get an education. They just didn’t have free public schools back then. While working in the bank in 1939 and ’40 I signed as witness to a number of people who signed papers with their X. It was common even then.
The removal of warts was one superstition that had a strong following. R. B. had a routine he followed. First he would engage them in small talk, then ask, “Do you believe in my powers to remove warts.” After he got a yes answer he would take his index finger and circle it three times around the wart, then tell the person to go home and forget about the wart, try not to even think about it. And it worked!
Well, I had read a few articles on how the mind had unusual power over matter. I had never studied psychology but decided this was what occurred.
I took it on my own to start telling people that my grandfather was getting on in years and had passed down to me the secret power to remove warts, to carry the work on. The word filtered down and around and several people came to me to remove warts. The word spread.
Now, I did not see or hear this at the time but I have heard Granny tell several times about one Sunday afternoon the two of them were sitting on the front porch rocking and R.B. chewing his Penn chewing tobacco. A car stopped out by the sidewalk. A man got out, walked up to the porch and inquired, “Are you Mr. Watkins?” Grandpa answered yes. Then the man said, “I understand that you can remove warts.” The answer was yes. Then he asked, “Would you remove a wart from my baby, she is out in the car?” Grandpa said, “Yes, bring her in.”
Well, the man went back to the car and returned with a young girl about 18 years old. He told the girl to show her wart to Mr.Watkins. She pulled her dress up, as Granny put it, “to the top.” There was a wart on her upper leg, way up. Way, way up.
R. B.’s name was Broadus but she always called him “Broady.” She got a kick out of telling, “That was one time Broady didn’t run his finger around the wart. He just told them to go home and try to forget about it.” Then she would just cackle!
I myself experienced several “tight spots” removing warts. Once a man brought his young son, maybe five or six years old, and asked me to remove a wart from him. I went through the rigomarole, the man thanked me and left. It was sometime later he came to me one afternoon and said, “Can you remove warts from my old cow like you did with my son?” He explained that his cow had a large wart on her udder and milking her was as difficult task. Well, what am I going to do? Do I tell him I am a fake? How can I manage to do this?
I had to change my routine, for I could not go to his farm, but I assured him it could still be done. I told him that at every milking for three days to do this: Mix one level table spoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of salt in a half gallon of warm water. Then wash the cow’s udder with this solution.
I was on edge, but a week or two later he came back and told me it had worked. He was very happy and tried to pay me, but that was one thing I could not do, accept money. If I did I might lose my powers.
I spent one summer at Spindale at my other grandmother’s house. I had many first-time experiences there including this one: Maw Dotson had a big old two-story house. She rented out part of it to another family, a man and his wife. The wife’s hands, wrists and lower parts of her arms were just covered with warts. At that time every housewife made biscuits, mixing the dough with their hands, but her husband refused to eat biscuits she had made. Every one felt sorry for the man. He had to eat old store bought “light bread,” as we called it. When he heard that I could remove warts he asked if I would remove those from his wife’s hand and arms. I couldn’t possibly run my finger three times around each and every wart, there were too many. What was I to do? I had her hold out first one arm then the other as I circled her arm three times with my finger up near the elbow. I finished my routine, but just in case, I told her that with so many warts we might just have to repeat the procedure several times. We didn’t though. It worked again and the man thanked me. He could now eat good home-made biscuits. Several times afterwards when I visited he would thank me again.
Now, I’m not superstitious but I know the mind does have mysterious power over matter.