The gypsies regularly stole items from the Walls family. After one item was stolen (a pogo stick), Jeannette's mother confronted the head of the gypsy clan.... the gypsies responded to that confrontation by leaving a chicken with its throat cut on their doorstep. In response, Mrs. Walls went to the gypsy house wav ing a ham bone in the air and calling down curses. Mrs. Walls believed in fighting fire with fire.
A clan of Gypsies lived down the block in a big, falling apart house with plywood nailed over the porch to create more indoor space. They were always stealing our stuff, and one time, after Brian's pogo stick had disappeared, he saw one of the old Gypsy women bouncing down the sidewalk on it. She wouldn't give it back, so Mom got into a big argument with the head of the clan, and the next day we found a chicken with its throat cut on our doorstep. It was some kind of Gypsy hex. Mom decided, as she put it, to fight magic with magic. She took a ham bone out of the beans and went down to the Gypsies' house, waving it in the air. Standing on the sidewalk, she held up the bone like a crucifix at an exorcism, and called down a curse on the entire Gypsy clan and their house, vowing that it would collapse with the lot of them in it and that the bowels of the earth would open up and swallow them forever if they bothered us again. The next morning Brian's pogo stick was lying in the front yard.
The Glass Castle