Appalachian Dialect Ghosts - Haints - Spooky

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 129

spooky house

It’s time for this month’s Appalachian Vocabulary Test. Today’s test is of the spooky variety.

I’m sharing a few videos to let you hear the words and phrases. To start the videos click on them.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

1. Booger: ghost, demon, or a bad person. “Now that you’ve stayed till dark you better take my flashlight so you can see how to get home. You don’t want to run into any boogers.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

2. Devil’s brew: moonshine, homemade liquor. “He’d been down the road with that gang of outlaws drinking the Devil’s brew. Thats why he came home ready to fight. He might as well be the Devil himself after he takes a few drinks of that stuff.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

3. Evil foot: infection in a horses foot. “I’m afraid Ole Sam has the evil foot. I don’t know what in the world we’ll do if I can’t use him to plow. We’ll be ruint.”

4. Hair ball: a ball made of hair used by witches. “Granny Beavers was 94 years old when she told me about the scariest thing she ever saw. She said when she was a little young girl her great grandmother took her over the mountain to check on a old lady who lived by herself. Everybody said the old lady was a witch. When Granny and her grandmother got to the house, the old woman came out and hollered some sort of gibberish and threw balls of hair at them. Granny Beavers said her grandmother died before daylight the next morning of a awful terrible pain in her head.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

5. Haunt (haint, hant): a ghost or spirit. “Theres a haunt down there at the river. It comes out every full moon. I know it does cause I seen it with my own two eyes.”

My thoughts on the words:

I grew up hearing folks talk about boogers, especially telling children if they didn’t mind a booger (or the boogerman) would get them. I still hear booger on a regular basis and still use the word myself.

I’ve heard folks call moonshine/alcohol the Devil’s Brew, also the Devil’s Water.

I’ve never heard nor read evil foot.

I’ve never heard hair ball used in relation to a witch. I thought a hair ball was something cats spit up or that you found rolling around under your bed.

I’ve heard older folks use the words haunt and haint to describe a ghost.

Hope you’ll leave a comment and let me know how you did on the test.


Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    August 16, 2021 at 10:52 pm

    Growing up in a Pennsylvania Dutch family, we always used “booger” as an endearing term, like calling kids or pets a “little stinker” or a “bad egg.” I’ve never heard the term “haunt” before, ghosts and spirits were always spucks (spooks) in my family. ☺️

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    November 1, 2019 at 7:24 am

    All but evil foot or that use of hairball

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    October 30, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    I never heard of Evil Foot (course, I don’t know much about Horses) or Hair Ball.

    About the only thing I’m familiar with is Mama and Daddy told me and Harold to be careful Squirrel Hunting, and to watch out for them ole Mean Hook Snakes. (Hook Snakes are always up the Mountain and they’d come rolling down and split you open.) Later on, we learned that there was no such things as Hook Snakes, there was Joint Snakes, but our Fiests made Sausage out of them. Our Fiests would peel the hide right off, to keep the Joint Snakes from coming back together, soon as it gets Dark.

    Me and Harold had trouble Squirrel Hunting, cause we were always looking for Hook Snakes to come rolling down the Mountain. But when Daddy got me my first 12 gauge shotgun, it eased things a bit. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    October 30, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    A long time ago, Mama’s Mama, grandma Delia went to get milk for her youngin’s. She went to the Spring cause they didn’t have Refrigerators back then. There she saw and petted a kitten and she saw a lot of Green Eyes peeping out behind the tall weeds. She found a container and poured out a mess for the kitten and hurried back to the house. Her husband would be home soon because it was nearly Suppertime.

    A little while after Supper, Hugh decided to go Coon Hunting. He picked up three men he worked with and the dogs and they took off to the high Mountains in behind the quarry. Jimmy Feerbery had took over the Quarry at Nantahala after his father died, and to keep his help, he invented Dooalou, (He thought of a way to keep help and the neighbors around got in on it too at his store.) Anyway…back at the house, Grannyma was about to have troubles that would carry her into the wee hours of the morning.

    She heard a scratch on the roof, it was a Panther. (There wasn’t many around at the time, but there was a few.) Soon as she would punch the spot where the Panther was, it would jump and move somewhere else. This lasted for hours and when her husband came home and ran away. Hugh had taken the gun and got the men together and took off the way the Panther went. The dogs treed that thing in just a short while on Tucker Branch and shot it out. The dogs were waiting for it, soon as it hit the ground. Hugh told Delia it looked like a Person sitting up in that tree.

    I loved the way Grandma told Stories. She was a Good Storyteller. After her first husband died, she had 8 more kids with Hugh. She is buried right close to the Red Marble Baptist Church House, beside Mama and Daddy. …Ken

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    October 30, 2019 at 10:59 am

    I have never heard Evil Foot of Hairball used in these ways, growing up on a farm and working and tending a horse I have had experience tending an infected hoof on a horse but never heard it called Evil Foot and like the other comments have dealt with cat and dog hairballs but never a witches hairball.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 30, 2019 at 9:51 am

    Well I’ve heard tell of these old women who would pull little girls’ hair. Not jist to skeer the little girl and make her run away, she wanted to rip some hair out and take it home with her where she had a ball of little girls’ hair. Like some people collect pieces of string or rubber bands and make them into a ball these old women collected little girls hair. Those little girls when they grew up would find their hair and the old woman and learn all her secrets.
    Back in them days only girls had long enough hair to grab onto and rip from their heads. Nowdays it’s hard to tell the difference. I imagine the practice still goes on but these old women, unless they knew the little girl personally, would have to have the hair tested to determine the sex of the child. They shore wouldn’t want too many Ys contaminating their captivated covent.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    October 30, 2019 at 8:47 am

    Haven’t heard anyone say evil foot or hairballs being used by witches. My Mamaw and my Wife’s Mamaw saved their combed out hair and made hairballs to make buns for their own hair. Being the gentle Christian souls they were I know they didn’t cast spells.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    October 30, 2019 at 8:05 am

    I’ll say 2 of 5; booger and haint. I don’t recall hearing colorful names for moonshine except that an old man I worked with spoke of ‘sugar wiskey’ (the selling kind) as opposed to real ‘corn liker’ (the sipping kind). Never heard of ‘evil foot’ nor hair ball in connection with conjuring.

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney Jr
    October 30, 2019 at 7:52 am

    I never met “Ole Red Eyes and Bloody Bones”, but none-the-less was always scared that I might run into him on Halloween night. We were always warned to watch out for “Ole Red Eyes and Bloody Bones!”

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    October 30, 2019 at 7:49 am

    My cousin says that his son is “purty good with paperwork, but he ain’t no-count with a mattic”.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 30, 2019 at 7:47 am

    Booger and devils brew I’ve heard also haint but never heard of evil foot or hairball. I heard booger as the bogger man will get you! Haint was an evil spirit that would catch children. I have heard something about hair, as an evil person can collect your fallen hair and make some evil brew with it.
    My mother told me her father would scare them with the threat of false face getting them, I suppose that is someone wearing a mask.
    I never quite understood why adults would want to scare kids with these tales…unless they believed them.

  • Reply
    Julie Hughes Moreno
    October 30, 2019 at 6:33 am

    Never heard of evil foot or hair ball. My Granny was real particular about any stray hair that fell after combing it. She always gathered it up and threw it away. Made a production saying not to leave what fell on the floor there. Wonder if she was afraid of hair balls? I just thought she was tidy.

    • Reply
      sheryl paul
      October 30, 2019 at 7:59 am

      Oh my gosh everyone a word from my childhood Halloween. I still use them today with my grandchildren

  • Reply
    October 30, 2019 at 6:12 am

    Evil foot or hairball I’m not familiar with, seems the boogyman was used to keep most children scared of whatever the adults wanted to be left alone, I heard it all my life, ” Boy if you go in there the boogeyman will get you” never seen him but according to the adults he was real and you didn’t want to mess with him.

  • Leave a Reply