'They us'd to keep her out o'house, 'tis true,
A-nailen up at door a hoss's shoe.'
A picture of two linked horse-shoes is the first of about ten woodcuts by Kenneth L.G. Hart, who also illustrated her Old Dorset, Down Dorset Way, Tales of Dorset and More About Dorset.
Hardy was on record as stating that these incidents were based on real events, and the wise man whom the two women approach for help - Conjuror Trendle - was a thinly disguised version of a local character still living at the time. Hardy's friend Hermann Lea wrote about this, and many other supernatural incidents known to him, in his contribution 'Some Dorset Superstitions' to Memorials of Old Dorset (1907.)
Some of these traditions persisted for another thirty years at least. In The Return of the Native Susan also pricks Eustacia with a stocking needle in church, in the hope that drawing blood unseen would free her children from the spell that she believed Eustacia had placed on them. According to Olive Knott, a man in Charlton Marshall was cut on the hand in 1939 for the same reason, by someone who blamed him for ill-fortune.