Mad Stones

One of the articles in the 2010 Old Farmer’s Almanac that got my attention was titled “When All Else Fails, Try a Mad Stone.

Ever heard of a Mad Stone?

Once I read this article I seemed to recall, somewhere in my past, hearing of a Mad Stone. But I couldn’t remember the whole story.

Basically, a Mad Stone is a sort of stone found in the stomach of wild animals. And from what I can tell it’s a hardened hairball.

Usually found in deer, most commonly a brown deer. Probably because they are the most common deer. But it is said that the “stones” found in spotted or white deer are the best.

Anyway, folklore says the Mad Stone’s have healing powers. It is said that they draw out the venom of a snake or spider bite. But they were mostly used for treating the bite of a rabid animal.

There are rules that follow a Mad Stone.

It is kept in a jar of milk until needed to which it must return after each use.

The person with the bite must come to the Mad Stone. It must not be taken to the person.

The Mad Stone can not be bought or sold.

Once a Mad Stone is found it is kept as a prized posession. And usually handed down from father to son.

When the Mad Stone is needed it is taken out of the milk and applied directly to the bite, which it will attach itself to. In time it will eventually fall off. This can take one to several hours. Then the stone is placed back into the milk. It will boil in the milk, turning the milk a green color. Once the boiling has stopped it is placed back onto the bite area. If it sticks, the process starts over again. If it doesn’t stick it is said the treatment has ended.

The Mad Stone is again placed in the same milk and stored until needed again.

I find this and many other folklore healing methods very interesting.

It also makes me curious to know how they came about.

For instance, I can understand why someone would cut open the stomach of a deer to see what they feed on so they would know where to hunt for them.

But what made someone think to use a petrified hairball as a method of healing rabies or pulling out of the venom?

And what is the significance of the jar of milk?

Why would it not be placed in fresh milk after each use?

I know there will come a time when I will meet my maker. And when that time comes and I’m sitting at his right hand, he may not be ready to answer all the questions I am gathering. But then again, I may not have to ask. It is possible that as I ascend into Heaven, all the answers will be given to me.

I did a little searching on Google and found a few articles about Mad Stones.

Here’s the list if you would like to read more about them…..

The Mad Stone – Truth or Myth?

Try A Mad Stone-The Old Farmer’s Almanac (with picture)

Legends of the Mad Stone

Tales of Mad Stones in Ozarks


So, I ask again, have you ever heard of a Mad Stone?

10 comments on “Mad Stones

  1. I read about this type of stone in a New Orleans history book. Although, it didn’t mention storing it in milk, or that it was a petrified hairball. You have me intriguied to research this some more. The book I read had a picture of the madstone and it was nothing but a dark, flake of a rock.

  2. I have heard of it before… but not that many details! 🙂 Interesting

    Hope you can stop over and read about my recipe swap that I am starting for the Christmas season. Would love to have you participate with some of your favorite recipes. 🙂 Say hi too!

  3. Fascinating! Maybe whoever found one first thought it was a rock-and how since they knew deer don’t eat rocks-they thought it was magical-who know-but it’s fun to think about!

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