Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bone-Covered Barns

"How many folks have a whole barn side covered with bones?

"The side of a large barn-like structure was covered with a mixture of large bones and slogans, especially warning all persons against the abuse of drugs. I wondered what Oscar considered the "potions" dispensed by most of his ilk. Surrounding the property were pens containing pigs, turkeys, chickens. By far the most interesting cages were a series of wire tunnels connecting several buildings 20 to 30 feet apart. I soon learned this was a "run" for the "30-some" squirrels that are a part of Oscar's collection of critters. Inside the large barn was a red van-like Detroit monster elaborately decorated with the most outrageous set of moose antlers. Out back of his house...there was an open field with a scarecrow silhouetted against the stark and distant swamp. Oscar told me this is where many of the herbs and roots come from that he uses in his practice...with a sly glance he told me "I get some of my bones there, but when I was in the service, we dug up a graveyard and that was interesting to me.

"Oscar Gilchrist has impeccable credentials as a hoodoo man, as he is a third generation bones doctor. His grandfather was a practitioner in Jamaica.

"...if your quest is a visit with "the bonesman", you can find the answer to everything...When you see Oscar, pains disappear, debts go away, and "if you take that power stick to the county seat and walk around the courthouse, they won't have no trial 'cause they can't get a jury. Friend of mine borrowed that one with all the bones and won the lottery; gave me a couple of thousand when he brought it back."

"People got troubles everywhere and they come to the Bonesman."

Interview with Oscar Gilchrist (The Bonesman), Nicols, South Carolina, by author Dr. A. Everette James from Essays in Folk Art, offered for sale by Chewybooks, as of April 1, 2010

1 comment:

Megan said...

Wow - that sounds like quite an interesting man (and an interesting book!).