Old Kentucky Superstitions

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In old Kentucky,superstitions from long ago are weaved deeply into our culture. Some superstitions allow us to follow certain rules to avoid a horrible fate; other superstitions warn us of bad things beyond our control. My grandmother would never go out a different door than she came in. My next-door neighbor will not let a tree split our path when we are walking together for fear we will quarrel. And I myself will not leave a rocking chair rocking. On the day that one of my great grandmothers died, a picture in our house fell off the wall and landed face down. My grandmother recalls the day before her uncle's little baby died. A white bird, like she had never seen before or since, fluttered in the open doorway of the house then flew away. That night the baby took sick and died the next day. Following are some of the superstitions I have collected over the years.

* Never go out a different door than you came in or bad luck will follow you.
* Never count the cars in a funeral, or it will be that many days until you die.
* If a picture falls and lands face down, someone will die.
* Never leave a rocking chair rocking or someone will die.
* If you dream of a wedding there will soon be a funeral.
* If you dream of a funeral there will soon be a wedding.
* When someone very old dies, it will rain.
* If a bird gets in the house or flutters in an open doorway or window, someone in the house will soon die.
* Cover all the mirrors in a house and stop the clocks when someone dies or another death will soon follow.
* If one person dies, two more deaths will soon follow.
* If you get a cold chill up your spine, someone has stepped on your future gravesite.
* Death rattles are a sign that death is near.
* If a tree or post comes between two people walking, these people will soon quarrel.
* It is bad luck to step on a grave.
* If you drop a dish rag someone will soon visit who is slouchier than you are.
* A ringing in your ear is a sign of death.
* If you step over someone, this person will die. You can reverse this by immediately stepping back over them.
* Hanging a horseshoe over a door with the open end up will bring good luck. Hanging a horseshoe over a door with the open end down will bring bad luck.
* If a pregnant woman sees the blood of a dead animal, wherever she touches herself, she will mark the baby in that spot.
* If a rooster crows at night facing the house, there will be a birth. If a rooster crows at night facing away from the house, there will be a death.
* If a hen crows like a rooster, someone must kill the hen or bad luck will soon follow.
* Bad luck will come to anyone who desecrates a grave.
* An unexplained knocking in the walls of a house is a warning of death.
* Never sweep under a single person's feet or this person will never get married.
* It is bad luck for a different person to close a knife than the person who opened it.
* If your left hand itches, you will soon come into money.
* If your right hand itches, you will soon shake a stranger's hand.
* If your nose itches, company is coming.
* If your ear itches someone is talking about you.
* It's bad luck to kill a cricket.
* If you plant an oak tree and it grows big enough to shade you grave, you will die.
* A clock that gongs seemingly without reason is warning of death.
* People should always be buried facing the east so they will be able to greet the savior on resurrection morning.
* It's bad luck to count the flower arrangements at a funeral.
* When a dog howls at night, it is a sign of death.
* A cow bawling at night is a warning of death.
* If an inch worm is on someone, it is measuring them for a coffin.
* If you dream of falling and hit the ground before you wake up, you will die.
* A child born with a veil over his face will have the ability to see spirits.
* If a door opens in a house without a reason, it is a sign of death.
* If you cut hot cornbread with a knife, you'll cut your luck.
* Donít talk about a dream of death on Sunday morning or the dream will come true.
* It's bad luck to completely finish a new house.
* If you dream that you see your name on a tombstone, you will soon die.
* Be careful what you do when the clock stikes the new year, for you will be blessed that year accordingly.
* Itís bad luck to trim your nails on Sunday.
* If youíre driving and a black cat crosses your path, put an X on the windshield with your finger. If youíre walking and a black cat crosses your path, roll a pant leg up and let it back down. This will prevent bad luck.
* If you forget something and have to go back in the house, walk backwards or you will have bad luck.
* Before the Civil War, among the slaves, if a mother died from childbirth and the baby lived, the baby was passed to each family member. This was to prevent the motherís soul from returning and taking the baby with her.
* A dead man whose eyes are left open will find someone to take with him.
* If a writing spider writes your name in her web, you will soon die.