Appalachia Ghosts - Haints - Spooky

Satan Is Real


satan is real

As I told you yesterday, for me the Devil takes first place when it comes to things that scare me. The Devil is also found sprinkled around our language. There are sayings like:

  • The Devil and Tom Walker: which is used as an exclamation showing surprise
  • Up jumped the Devil: said after a mischievous or mean act has taken place or when someone who is disliked suddenly shows up
  • Speak of the Devil: same as above
  • The Devil take the hindmost: sorta like saying “I’m gonna take care of myself and mine and who cares what happens to the rest.
  • The Devil takes care of his own: said when evil doers seem to prosper
  • Between the Devil and the deep blue sea: you’re in trouble and it’s most likely your fault
  • Get behind me Satan: comes straight from scripture, but is often said in a teasing way when someone is trying to get you to do something you shouldn’t
  • Give the Devil his due: even if someone you dislike accomplishes something you have to give him his due (this one has been around since Shakespeare used it)
  • If you sup with the Devil you need to use a long spoon: (this one is as old as the Canterbury Tales)
  • Full of the Devil
  • Telling the Devil where your goat is tied: of course if the Devil knows where its tied he’s going after it
  • Idle hands are the Devils workshop
  • An idle mind is the Devil’s playground
  • You’ll have the Devil to pay
  • If the sun is shining when its raining…then you know the Devil is beating his wife
  • The Devil made me do it
  • Dancing with the Devil

Then there are words like:

  • Dust devil: when the wind moves in a tight circular motion across the ground
  • Devilish: aggravating or despicable
  • Devil’s apple: may apple
  • Devil’s brew: liquor
  • Devil’s footstool: a large mushroom
  • Devil’s snuffbox: puffball full of dusty spores
  • Devil: to tease or aggravate

One of my favorite things someone said about the Devil came from Blind Pig reader Ken Roper:

One time I heard one of my older brothers say, “The Devil wouldn’t have me to stoke up his fire, I’m too green to burn.” 

There’ll be more Devil talk in the coming days so be sure to stay tuned. The album cover above has taken on worldly fame because of the scene of hell it portrays. If you’d like to hear the song for yourself go here.



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  • Reply
    David Templeton
    October 20, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    I worked very briefly once, very early in my many jobs of work, as a printer’s devil. I carried paper stock to the press and kept the inks up, and various and sundry other odd jobs, so the printer could set the type and run the press. Work about killed me in one day; I called in sick the next Monday.
    And, I remember reading this phrase once on one of his jobs but I never knew what it meant.
    “… but we must get down into the Vale again, and so away by the Great Western Railway to town, for time and the printer’s devil press, and it is a terrible long and slippery descent, and a shocking bad road.”

  • Reply
    October 20, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Deviled eggs being the most puzzling! I never realized the Devil is so ingrained in our speech, but as usual you can bring to our attention the things we sometimes barely notice. It seems I have a Devil of a time staying out from between the Devil and the deep blue sea.
    It is said that my very spunky paternal great grandmother once made a memorable statement after somebody noted she had raised so many boys. She said, “Yes, and the Devil paid me back in daughter-in-laws.” She was well known for being plain spoken, and she was born in 1874 right after the Civil War. I heard many stories about this lady. She must have had a softer side, because several of her grandchildren thought they were her favorite including my mom.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 20, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    the Devil’s in the details – simple concept, complicated structure
    being the Devil’s advocate – presenting an alternate scenerio
    the Devil’s delight – appealing to base instincts i.e. food you know you shouldn’t eat
    the Devil in a dresstail – I’m not sure where I heard that one
    the Devil’s stomping grounds
    Devil Woman – you gotta see this

  • Reply
    wanda Devers
    October 20, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Mama used to sing a song that partially went, “Two little devils peeped over the wall, saying take her back daddy, she’ll murder us all”. Apparently a very old song–Mama sang little parts of a lot of these–her daddy was a fiddler and I’m sure she heard a lot of them as a child.
    Devilled eggs and devilled ham and devil’s food cake. I like all of them!

  • Reply
    larry griffith
    October 20, 2017 at 9:39 am

    When caught up in some half truths and not telling the whole story, Dad would tell me I was chasing the devil around the bush.

  • Reply
    October 20, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Devilment is another related word… However, Satan doesn’t seem to have anything to do with deviled eggs, devils food cake, or deviled ham, although he does appear on the packaging for Underwood deviled ham.

  • Reply
    Paul D Certo
    October 20, 2017 at 9:03 am

    The Devil And Tom Walker was a short story by Washington Irving, first published in1824. I’m not sure if the saying came before that or actually was borrowed from the story.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    October 20, 2017 at 8:55 am

    My Dad would say “Might as well eat the Devil as drink his soup.” I take the meaning to be that it is a self-deceit to pretend that because one didn’t do the meaness themselves they have no guilt when they profit from it.
    My Grandma did not like to hear us boys use expressions about the Devil. We thought it was superstition but now I think it was the stricter morals of an earlier time. And she was more right than we were. She thought of it as drinking the Devil’s soup.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    October 20, 2017 at 8:51 am

    I was terrified of thunderstorms when a child, my daddy used to say the noise was the devil kicking his wife downstairs. Of course it made me even more scared

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    October 20, 2017 at 8:02 am

    “Tell the truth, shame the devil”

  • Reply
    Keith Jones
    October 20, 2017 at 7:28 am

    I used to hear “The devil to pay and no tar hot!”

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 20, 2017 at 6:42 am

    I’ll tell you the truth, Tip, I don’t know if I use any of these expression any more. I used to but now the thought and idea of the devil is very far removed from me. I’m not even sure when It left but it’s gone.
    Remember, there is also Deviled Ham!

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