Butter won’t churn? It’s a witch!

During the days leading up to Halloween, North Carolina Miscellany is posting articles from North Carolina newspapers about one of our favorite Halloween characters, the witch.

Witches tended to be the scapegoat for just about any problem in a person’s life. One common complaint attributed to a witch’s curse was being unable to churn your milk into butter. You could churn and churn, but the milk would never thicken. To fix this predicament, you first had to expel the witch from the churn by taking an old horseshoe and heating it to glowing hot in the fire. It was best if that horseshoe “had been worn on the left hind foot of a baldfaced horse.” You would then take the glowing hot horseshoe, drop it into your churn, and sure enough the butter would come forth.


So you think you know North Carolina ….No. 42

1. After suffering facial cuts in a 1974 crash at Charlotte Motor Speedway, what driver ordered the ambulance crew to make sure a plastic surgeon was standing by at the hospital?

2. A UNC basketball star of the ’90s shares his name with Gomer Pyle’s drill instructor — what is it?

3. How many North Carolinians who died in the Spanish-American War are not commemorated with public monuments?

4. The Union forces who captured New Bern during the Civil War were led by a man now more widely remembered today for his contribution to the lexicon. Who was he?

5. True or false: In 1978, North Carolina’s chapter of the American Cancer Society was the only one in the country not to support the Great American Smoke-out.

Answers below





1. Marty Robbins, better known for such country and western hits as “El Paso.”

2. Vince Carter. Sgt. Carter (played by Frank Sutton) was introduced on the 1964 episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” that served as the pilot for “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”

3. None. Ensign Worth Bagley is honored with a statue in Raleigh, Army Lt. William Shipp with an obelisk in Charlotte.

4. Gen. Ambrose Burnside, whose whiskers set a new style, first as “burnsides,” then as “sideburns.”

5. True.