The most dreaded of all Cherokee witches is the Raven Mocker, who robs the dying of their life. A Raven Mocker can be of either sex, and there is no real way to know one. They usually look old and withered, because they have added so many lives to their own.
During the night when someone is sick or dying, the Raven Mocker goes there to take the life. He flies through the air with his arms outstretched like wings. There will be a wild wind noise around him, and sparks trailing from behind. Every once in awhile he will dive, and make a sound similar to a raven’s cry. All those who hear it are afraid, because they know that someone’s life will soon end. When the Raven Mocker makes it to the dying person’s house, he often finds others of his kind there. Unless there is an Cherokee Doctor watching out who knows how to drive them off, they will all go inside (they are invisible) and frighten and torment the sick person until they kill him. Sometimes, those who are attending the sick think the person is just fighting for their breath.
After the witches take the life, they take out his heart and eat it, and by doing this, they add to their own lives as many days or years as they have taken from his. Nobody who is attending the sick can see them, and there is no scar where they have removed the heart. Upon further examination, they will find that there is no heart left in the body.
Only a medicine person with the right kind of medicine can recognize a Raven Mocker, and if that medicine person stays in the room with the sick person, the witches will be afraid to come in. When one of them has been recognized in his right shape, he must die within seven days. Often, when the friends of a traditional Cherokee know that there is no more hope, they will try to have one of these medicine people stay in the house and guard the body until it is buried. Witches will not steal the hearts after burial.
Other witches are usually jealous of Raven Mockers and are afraid to enter the same house with one. When a Raven Mocker finally dies, the other witches sometimes take revenge by digging up the body and abusing it. Traditional Cherokees also believe that after a person dies, his soul often continues to live as a ghost. Ghosts are believed to have the ability to materialize where some people can see them, although some can not.