Growing up on the mountain, superstitions played an important role in how we were raised. Some or most of these superstitions have been handed down for generations from my ancestors who came from the old country. I know some of them are from my German ancestors, but probably some of them came from my ancestors from Scotland as well. I remember us kids listened intently as we were told this and that, and how we’d better do these things or else some sort of misfortune would befall us. My grandmaw Mary was adamant in her belief in these old superstitions. In keeping with the season, here is a short list of superstitions that I remember about ghosts and death.
When two people of the same name live in a house, ghosts will stay away.
Never carry an axe or hoe into a house, it means death.
Ghosts hate new things. If you have a persistent ghost, hang something new over your door.
A baby born at midnight will have the power to see and talk to ghosts.
If a rooster crows after dark, it is a sure sign that death is in the neighborhood.
Death always travels in three’s—if a person dies in your community, there will soon be two more to follow.
A ghost will beat on the wall of a house if someone therein is about to die.
Ghosts enjoy hearing people sing and will gather from afar to listen.
Christmas Eve is a favorite time for ghosts to walk the Earth.
Wind chimes will call up the dead.
Horses and Pigs can see death and ghosts.
If a bird comes inside your house, it is a sign that death will soon befall the household.
If someone see’s a ghost, look over their left shoulder and you will be able to see that ghost too.
Never let a swing stop on its own. Stop it yourself or someone you care about will die.
After someone dies, their pictures begin to fade.
If a dog howls while looking at the ground, he senses death is very near.
If three people look in the same mirror at the same time, the youngest of the three will soon die.
Graveyards at night are peaceful places to visit at night if you are quiet. But if you talk, you will be haunted for a week.
Don’t walk on someone’s grave or else you will be haunted by their ghost.
Don’t pick up a broom that is laid over a doorway. If you do, it is a sign that you are a witch or that you have been witched.
Bury your hair after you cut it, if you don’t and the birds pick it up, you will have headaches for months afterward. You can also be witched if your hair falls into the wrong hands.
A Star Quilt on your bed will protect you from evil spirits.
Clocks in a house will stop at the exact moment of death of someone in that household. If clocks do not stop, you must stop them or else the spirit will remain in that house.
I’m sure there are many more of these superstitions that I am just not thinking of at the moment. Do any of you all out there know of any other superstitions? I’d love to hear them.