The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959

Book Reviews

is almost no single point about the Alamo upon which the testimony
of the few survivors does not disagree.
All of which leads the reviewer to conclude, and he is sure
Mr. Tinkle will agree, that there is still plenty of room for a
scholarly history of the Alamo tragedy, complete with maps and
luster rolls. JAMES L. NICHOLS
Stephen H. Austin State College
Madstones and Twisters. Edited by Mody C. Boatright, Wilson
M. Hudson, and Allen Maxwell. Dallas (Southern Method-
ist University Press), Texas Folklore Society Publications,
No. XXVIII, 1958. Pp. 169. $4.00.
This volume, which takes its name from two articles in the
miscellany, represents another significant step by members of the
Texas Folklore Society in collecting and preserving the lore of
Texas and the Southwest. Generally, articles in the book may be
classified as collections of tales, scholarly studies, and family
reminiscences.
In his "Madstones and Hydrophobia Skunks," J. Frank Dobie
recounts stories illustrating the antiquity and properties of the
madstone which was used to remove poison from human beings
bitten by mad dogs, skunks, and poisonous snakes. Flattened balls
of hair and moss calcified over so that they resembled stone, the
best madstones were found in the stomachs of animals, especially
deer, and were the only remedy for hydrophobia used in Europe
and on the American frontier until Pasteur's discoveries in the
188o's. On the Texas frontier skunks were most susceptible to
hydrophobia and bit more people than did other mad animals.
Howard C. Key's "Twister Tales" humorously recounts what
has happened to people, animals, and property during tornadoes.
Key's collection of tales demonstrates that the impossible is
common with twisters, such as blowing straws through posts,
picking chickens, and transporting people distances unharmed.
Some of the stories came from meteorologists who now seriously
record for study experiences of people who have survived twisters.
Among scholarly studies are Professor Reidar Christiansen's
address at a meeting of the Texas Folklore Society in which he,
professor emeritus of the University of Oslo, commented on his

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/. Accessed December 28, 2014.