7th Son of a 7th Son & Rachel the Fortune Teller

7th Son of a 7th Son & Rachel the Fortune Teller


By Elton Camp


            A few local people were held to have extraordinary powers to heal.  Prominent in Marshall County was R.C. Morrow who lived near Albertville, Alabama.  He was said to be the seventh son of a seventh son.  As such he was believed to have abilities that included curing thrush in babies and removing warts.  He was highly respected in the community and often consulted.  Mothers took their babies for him to breathe into their mouths, in order to make thrush disappear.  Rubbing warts, plus a silent incantation known only to him, reportedly caused them to vanish. 


            Mrs. Reed’s baby had redness and tiny blisters in his mouth.  The infant was so uncomfortable that he wouldn’t eat.  The problem was due to a fungus, but she didn’t know that. 


            “I’m goin’ t’ take him t’ Mr. Morrow,” she informed her husband.  Her spouse raised no objection.  Women made decisions like that.  It was no concern of his.


            When she reached the man’s house, he cordially invited her inside to learn what she wanted.  Morrow was accustomed to such callers and felt it his duty to help.  Mrs. Reed described her child’s symptoms and showed him the interior of his mouth. 


            “I can’t absolute promise, but I’ll b’ glad t’ do whut I kin,” he said.  “If hit don’t work purty soon, y’u best take him t’ one o’ th’ regular doctors.”


            The man took the baby into his arms and blew into its mouth.  After a day or so, the symptoms abated.  His reputation as a healer was further enhanced.  


            Mr. Morrow was himself the father of seven sons, but it was widely reported that he refused to accept his impending death in his mid-eighties.  As a consequence, he didn’t pass on the reputed gift to his seventh son despite repeated pleas from family. 


            Belle reported, “I ain’t superstitious, but I know he heal’d me o’ my warts.  They wuz gon’ th’ very next week atter he treated ’em.”  In later years, she herself became a “wart witch.”  Her success was virtually assured since the virus that causes warts is combated by immunity until it’s defeated. 


            Belle’s sister Rachel, very different from Mr. Morrow, was a noted fortuneteller.  People came many miles, sometimes even from other States, to consult her.  Her method involved use of tarot cards.  Many were amazed at her abilities.  Others declared her a charlatan.


            “I always use th’ Waite-Rider deck,” she informed a visitor who sought her services.

            “Then you’ll do a reading for me, Rachel?  My sister from Fort Payne came to you two months ago and everything you told her was right.  My husband’s a doctor and didn’t want me to come here, but he doesn’t know everything.  He just thinks he does.”


            Rachel shuffled the cards and withdrew a single one that she laid on the table in front of the well-dressed woman.  It was the Four of Swords.


            This here card shows a man laying on a sword t’ b’ buried. Hit means t’ bury th’ hatchet.  Troubl’ ’n th’ past needs t’ go t’ rest.”  


      “You’re talking about the spat I had with my best friend, Mabel, aren’t you?  We’ve never discussed our dispute with anyone.  I’m astounded that you know about it.”


            Rachel smiled and nodded as she continued to shuffle the cards.  The woman had taken the general comment as applying to something she thought nobody knew.  The next card Rachel placed on the table was the eight of wands. 


            “Here y’u see flyin’ wands comin’ down t’ land.   Cause they’s ’n th’ air, they mean ideas ’n’ thoughts.  Th’ cards is sayin’ y’u should be op’n t’ new ideas.”


            “I will, I will,” the woman exclaimed.  “From now on and for the rest of my life.”


            The reading continued with broad statements that could apply to almost any person on earth, until Rachel perceived that the woman was growing tired and having trouble concentrating. 


            “Th’ cards ain’t got no mor’ t’ say t’day,” she said as she stood up to indicate that the interview was over.


            “Your reading was wonderful.  How much do I owe you?  It’s worth almost any amount for such valuable advice.”


            “I don’t never charge nothing.’  Hit wud profane m’ gift o’ tarot.”


            “Then I insist on giving you a present.  It isn’t payment for your services, but something I want to give you.”


            The woman pulled a twenty-dollar bill from her alligator skin purse and forced it into Rachel’s hand.  After she left, Rachel stuffed it into a sack in a chest drawer.  It was a nice addition to other “gifts” for her work as a seer.


(Note:  I didn’t know Mr. Morrow and only report what I’ve heard about him.  I do not personally believe such miraculous “healing” can presently be done by anyone.  Rachel was the sister of my step grandmother and I knew of her down through the years, but met her only one time, about fifteen years ago.  She was living in a nursing home in Florence, Alabama and I took my father by to visit with her.  Her mind seemed clear and she recognized him immediately and called him by name.  We do not believe in “fortune telling” and would never consult such a person.  It was only a family visit.  Rachel is no longer living.)

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In the Old South, many held tightly to superstition.
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