Precious and the Boo Hag: A Not So Scary African American Tale
Precious and the Boo Hag
By Patricia C. McKissack and Onawumi Jean Moss
Have you ever heard of the Boo Hag? If you're from the South, especially the Lowcountry of South Carolina, then you know that the Boo Hag is not to be played with! Patricia C. McKissack and Onawumi Jean Moss share a funny and not so scary story of a brave little girl who outsmarted the mean old Boo Hag.
When Precious is left home alone with a stomachache, she's got nothing but a warning from Mama -- "Don't let nothing or nobody into this house" -- to keep her company. You see, "nothing or nobody" could turn out to be something awful: the Boo Hag! The Boo Hag's got a voice that rumbles like thunder and hair that shoots out like lightning. And she can disguise herself to look like anything. So when the Boo Hag comes calling, will Precious be clever enough to outwit even the trickiest trickster?
Quick Story: I grew up being well aware of who the boo hag was. In Gullah Geechee culture, the Boo Hag visits people at night. She holds them down (as a joke, I suppose) when they wake at night trying to get up. It's a really creepy feeling.
My grandma kept blue bottle trees outside of the house to catch the Boo Hags and keep them away from our family. Many people in the Lowcountry still hang blue bottles in their yards to protect their homes.
Some people say the Boo Hag can be explained away with science. Apparently it's some sort of temporary muscle paralysis due to not being totally awake, BUT I'm not buying that!
Do you have any Boo Hag stories of your own?