Smoke Houses and a "Witch's Key"
From "A Promise Moon," Chapter 15, pg. 150: "That keyhole made from missing bricks is to let the evil spirits out," Deacon Turner said. "Donít want to take no chances when it comes to curing meat."
Also from "A Promise Moon," Chapter 15, pg. 151: "Rachel and Deacon Turner sat on the edge of a brine trough and ate smoked ham cured with hickory wood. The smokehouse walls were covered with soot, and soon, so were their clothes, but wool dries from the inside first."
Also known as a "witchís key," this feature is visible on many old smokehouses. The missing bricks not only serve to let the evil spirits out, but also help with providing enough ventilation for the fire to smoulder and smoke the meat inside.
A research grant to study slavery and the Underground Railroad in Kentucky inspired, "A Promise Moon." I alluded to, or drew inspiration from my findings as I wrote my latest novel which is set during the Civil War. RESEARCH FINDINGS