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The Dictionary of Superstition

Posted: Sep 26, 2009

The Dictionary of Superstition

For hundreds of years folks have used superstitions to explain mysterious circumstances. Some superstitions have become engrained in cultures. The South has its share of superstitions that live in the culture, literature and music.

For example, Southern Appalachian Death Superstitions include: a bird flying into the house, a black hound following you, if you dream of death or marriage, cows mooing after midnight, or a broken clock begins to work again among a long list of others. We all have heard common superstitions such as spilling salt, hats on the bed, walking under ladders, black cats, the number 13 and rabbits feet to name only a few. However, superstition transcends geographic boundaries. I'm sure everyone's grandmother has dropped such arcane drifts of superstition at one time or another.

Have you ever perused The Dictionary of Superstition? It’s a formidable compendium. Just the definition of Crow causes one to see the bird in a different light during everyday circumstances: “The death-black coloring of the crow, in combination with its intelligence, has led the bird being regarded as one of the most ominous of all creatures. Once considered a messenger of the gods and later a familiar of the traditional witch, the crow is now viewed by many as a harbinger of death and disaster, particularly feared if it alights upon a house or taps a windowpane. Should a girl wish to know from what direction her true love will come she has only to throw stones at a crow and to note which direction it flies off…”

I’m interested in hearing your personal superstitions. Leave word at Mystery and Manners’ front page in the comment section, unless you feel it will jinx you…

James Calemine

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