Halloween Superstitions

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Halloween and other unusual superstitions and omens collected for your enjoyment.
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To prevent ghosts coming into the house at Halloween, bury animal bones or a picture of an animal near the doorway.

In Britain, people believed that the Devil was a nut-gatherer. At Halloween, nuts were used as magic charms.

Many people used to believe that owls swooped down to eat the souls of the dying. If they heard an owl hooting, they would become frightened. A common remedy was thought to be turning your pockets inside out and you would be safe.

Some believe if you catch a snail on Halloween night and lock it into a flat dish, in the morning you will see the first letter of your sweetheart written in the snail's slime.

It is believed in several districts of Britian that it is lucky to see an empty hearse coming towards you but unlucky if you turn round to watch it go by.

Throughout Germany it is said that anyone who lies in a coffin, even for fun, is inviting death, and that no item of clothing belonging to a living person should ever be placed on a corpse when it is placed in a coffin, for as it rots in the grave so will the rightful owner decline towards death.

You should walk around your home three times backwards and counterclockwise before sunset on Halloween to ward off evil spirits.

Knocking on wood keeps bad luck away.

If you see a spider on Halloween, it could be the spirit of a dead loved one who is watching you.

If you ring a bell on Halloween, it will scare evil spirits away.

In North America, it's bad luck if a black cat crosses your path and good luck if a white cat crosses your path. In Britain and Ireland, it's the opposite.

If a candle flame suddenly turns blue, there's a ghost nearby.

Mashed potatoes offer a method of divining who will be the first to wed. Into the heap of mashed potatoes a ring, a three penny-bit, a button, a heart-shaped charm, a shell and a key are inserted. Then all the lights in the room are turned out, and each guest, armed with a spoon or fork, endeavors to find the hidden charms. The one who finds the ring win marry first; the three penny-bit signifies wealth; the button, bachelorhood or spinsterhood; the heart, passionate love; the shell, long journeys; the key, great success and power.

To find out of your lover is true. select one of the letters which you have received from your sweetheart, especially one which contains a particularly passionate and important declaration; lay it wide open upon a table and then fold it nine times. Pin the folds together, place the letter in your left-hand glove, and slip it under your pillow. If on that night you dream of silver, gems, glass, castles or clear water, your lover is true and his declarations are genuine; if you dream of linen, storms, fire, wood, flowers, or he is saluting you, he is false and has been deceiving you.

Girls who carry a broken egg in a glass to a spring of water (during the day) can not only see their future husband by mixing some of the spring water into the glass, but she can also see a glimpse of her future children.

Halloween derives its name from the fact that in the Christian calendar it occurs the day before 'All Saints' or All Hallows' Day. It was the last night of the old year according to the ancient calendar of the Celts. On that night it was said that the witches, hobgoblins, warlocks, and other evil spirits walked abroad and devoted themselves to wicked revels. But the good fairies, too, according to some folklore, made their appearance at this time, but only from the hour of dusk until midnight.

A burning candle inside a jack-o-lantern on Halloween keeps evil spirits and demons at bay.

It is believed that if a person lights a new orange colored candle at midnight on Halloween and lets it burn until sunrise, he or she will be the recipient of good luck.

To cast a headless shadow or no shadow at all is still believed by many folks in the United States and Europe to be an omen of death in the course of the next year.

It's dangerous to sleep when thirsty, for the soul will leave the body in search of water. If the body is wakened too quickly, the soul may not have time to get back and the body will die.

Put your clothes on inside out and walk backwards on Halloween night to meet a witch.

One Gaelic superstition states that all souls that are bound in Purgatory are set free for forty-eight hours on All Hallows Eve. In Wales it is believed that those people who are destined to die within a year will hear a sigh that is carried by the wind which blows over the feet of the dead. This wind will blow on Halloween night.

Girls placed hazel nuts along the front of the firegrate, each one to symbolize one of her suitors. She could then find out who her future husband would be by chanting, 'If you love me, pop and fly; if you hate me, burn and die.'

When passing a graveyard or a house where someone has died, turn your pockets inside out to make sure you don't bring home ghost in your pocket.

There is an old superstition that the body put in the first grave dug in a new graveyard is always claimed by the devil. It is also said to be unlucky to dig or plough any ground in which a body has been buried, and certainly no crops planted there will flourish. Because of a very ancient superstition that the south wind brings corruption, the south side of churches has always been regarded as the holiest and it was here for generations that people insisted on being buried. Only folk who had commited suicide and the corpses of stillborn children were buried on the north side. Graves should, of course, always be dug running east to west, so the corpse may lie with his feet to the east and his head to the west and thereby be ready to rise when the call comes from the east on the Day of Judgement.

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