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Soap Sally

Soap Sally, or Soap Sallie, is a "booger-bear," a scary character used to frighten children. In past times, children would be told, "If you don't get home by dark, Soap Sally will get you," or "stay away from those woods! Soap Sally will get you..." The threat could be used to make children mind: "If you don't mind me, Soap Sally will come and get you!" Today, Soap Sally is still mentioned in the Southern Appalachian Mountains (Appalachia) though not often. The hills are losing their "hillbilly" flavor. Only older folks, or people from rural communities, speak of Soap Sally.

Soap Sally might have been inspired by some old woman who was the soap maker for a community. Lye soap makers used animal fats in their soap. Bones, also, could be used as an aid in stain removal, though it's unknown how widespread that practice was. An on-line search produced one forum mention of Soap Sally, also by someone from Georgia ~ which may be an indication of the range of current-day Soap-Sally tales. There is a hint that the story goes further back, to England (see side note, below). The tales of Soap Sally seem to have faded along with the folk method of making lye soap.

SIDE NOTE ABOUT SOAP SALLY:
When doing a casual web search for references to "Soap Sally," I came across one mention of Soap Sally in a forum of brief spooky stories. The account, also by a person from Georgia, was a straightforward description of how Soap Sally was a booger-bear, used to frighten children. In this account, the person actually specified that Soap Sally was an old black woman dressed in rags, who gathered animal fats for use in soap making. Another on-line search produced a British reference, in which the Soap Sally tale was used as the plot for a modern-day play. In it, Soap Sally is a good character, who kidnaps lost or runaway children in order to protect them from the evils that might befall a child alone. As part of the plot, the author portrays Soap Sally as being misunderstood, since her practice of kidnapping had made people think she was evil. I don't know whether this is just a modern twist on an old legend, or if the author has some knowledge about the origin of the legend and thinks that Soap Sally actually began as a heroine.

PAGE REVISED 13 NOV 2007.

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