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Wednesday, October 8, 2008


My foot’s itching. That means I’m going to walk on strange ground. I wonder where my husband is taking me today. We were thinking about going to Parkersburg, but we’ve been there a lot, and I wouldn’t really consider that strange ground.

My husband is always getting on to me for being superstitious. I’m not really, there’s just a few I remember from when I was a child that still hang around in my mind.

For example…..

*I’ll catch myself stopping an empty rocking chair from rocking when someone gets up from it.

*When my husband or one of my boys leave for work, I’ll watch when they leave, but turn my head away at the last minute, so I don’t see them when they pass out of sight. (My mother told me this one)

*When I have a dream, I won’t tell it before breakfast, or it will come true. (Of course, if it is a good dream and you want it to come true, you tell it before eating)

*I don’t put up an umbrella inside the house, it is bad luck.

*Don’t give a knife to someone, or it will cut your friendship. (I remember when Mom gave us a good paring knife for the kitchen and she made me give her a penny for it.)

*Do not thank a person for flowers and plants they give you or they wont grow. (A lot of people around here know of that one)

Unless absolutely necessary I don’t walk under a ladder!

We’ve all made a wish on the wishbone of a chicken. The person who gets the long end, gets his wish.

If I see a little inch worm crawling on me, it means I’m getting a new article of clothing and its measuring me for it. (I can hear you laughing at this one)

Of course, we have all heard “don’t step on a crack; it will break your mother’s back."

When we saw smoke rising in the morning in a little section of the surrounding hills, they always said it was the groundhog making his coffee. (I always thought that was kind of cute. When I was a kid I'd have this picture in my mind of a groundhog around a campfire with a coffeepot over it)

And as a child, we’ve all pulled the petals off of a daisy, to see if our boyfriend loved us or not.

If you go to bed laughing, you will wake up crying.

Clean out all the bowls at dinner and it will be a fair day tomorrow. (That’s another Mom always told me - I just think she didn't want to put leftovers in the fridge)

When I was a child to get rid of warts we would rub a green bean leaf on it and put it under a rock. When the leaf rotted, the wart would be gone.

If your nose itches, it means someone is coming to visit.

If a bird flies into your house, it means there will be a death in the family.

Dropping a comb is bad luck.

Of course all of us as children wished upon a shooting star or the first star at night.

I laughed at my husband yesterday. We were out under the pear tree with the long pole pruner cutting off some of the high limbs that had broken from the weight. The ground was full of pears, mostly small ones. I told him they still tasted good, so he picked up one and got out his folding pocket knife and started slicing it to eat. He handed it to me and left to get something.

He called back, “Don’t shut the knife, its bad luck.” I looked at him and grinned, “You’re always getting on to me for being superstitious,” I said.

“Well, this one I do believe in. It is bad luck for someone else to close the knife.”

It seems we all have these little superstitions. From what I’ve heard about her, I think my grandma was one of the worst for believing in them.

She believed in ones like….

The first person to walk in your door on New Years Eve had to be a male.

You couldn’t hang up clothes outside on Old Christmas (Jan 6th).

And I’m sure my mom must have got this one from her. When I was pregnant, Mom got a string and tied my wedding ring onto it. She hung it over my stomach, if it went around in a big circle, you were having a girl, if it went from side to side you were having a boy.

I tell these superstitions and old sayings to my kids. They give me a strange look sometimes, but that's OK. You might say it’s part of my family’s legacy that I’m handing down to them. We may live modern now, but I don’t want them to forget the old ways of their ancestors.

I’m sure I’ve left out many. Different parts of the country probably have different superstitions and sayings.

How about leaving a comment and tell me some I’ve missed or just commenting on mine.


  1. Janet, I have heard all of these, probably all from grandma. Remember she wouldnt take her Tree down before New Years, she said someone in the family would die before the year was out.

  2. You've covered a lot of them, Janet. I know that if you drop a comb you need to step on it with your right foot to avoid bad luck. And if you put your shirt on inside out it's good luck. Also, smoke rising straight up means the weather will be fine, but smoke hanging low means the weather is changing.

    Lots of others--I could write a book on this. Of course, I'm not superstititious myself...right.

  3. Loved loved this post. I grew up with some of the ones you mentioned. My mom-Granny is very very superstitious to the point of driving us crazy sometimes! The inch worm and ground hog are new to me-and ever so cute. I'll be saying those in the future!

    When I was pregnant with my girls-my grandmother died-and I was warned by all her family to not look at her in the casket for fear it would harm the babies.

  4. This is a wonderful post. I have been knocking around the idea to make a post of something like this on my blog, but haven't got around to doing it. I've heard of most of these, but there were a few I hadn't.

    My granny always told me that it's bad luck to be superstitious, if that tells anything about the way I was raised.

    Again, this is a great post, i thoroughly enjoyed it.


  5. I have heard of some of these but not all of them. You have really brought back some memories - thank you.

    Let's see:

    If the sun goes down in blood (red horizon) it comes up in mud (it will be raining).

    If you see a red bird, you will see someone unexpected that day.

    Carry a buckeye, it will bring good luck.

    If you find a penny on the ground with the "head" up, pick it up and make a wish, the wish will come true. If you find a penny on the ground with "tails" up leave it be, if you pick it up it will bring bad luck. (I pick up any money I find laying on the ground!) ha ha

    Gosh now that I'm trying to remember them, they have escaped me. But thank you for this post.

  6. You should put these in a children's book! (Are you already doing that?)

    These are wonderful. Many of them were new to me.

  7. I stumbled upon your site while searching for something else... boy am I glad I did!! I love the Irish music you have playing.

    I have not heard of these before, and want to know what they mean. Why do you stop the rocking chair? Why do you not want to see someone pass out of sight? Why is it bad luck to drop a comb? I am not superstitious, but I like to know why people reasoned as they did. It sometimes turns out to be very sound logic.

    I love the old stories and feel it is important to pass them along to our grandchildren.

    I hope you will post the answers and keep adding more.

  8. Dottie Pooh:
    I am searching for the sayings connected to the droping of silverware...
    a fork, a knife, a spoon, a teaspoon. I remember someone saying someone was coming to visit with each of these but I haven't found a current listing of these. Can you help?

  9. Thanks for the link to this post. There are a few I hadn't heard of. I agree with letting younger generations know about our heritage.


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