History Facts · Throwback Thursday

TBT: Victorian Death Superstitions Pt 2

mourningdress

Here are just a few fun superstitions from the Victorian Era about death. These were collected from the Friends of Oak Grove Cemetery.

  • If the deceased has lived a good life, flowers would bloom on his grave; but if he has been evil, only weeds would grow.
  • If several deaths occur in the same family, tie a black ribbon to everything left alive that enters the house, even dogs and chickens. This will protect against deaths spreading further.
  • Never wear anything new to a funeral, especially shoes.
  • You should always cover your mouth while yawning so your spirit doesn’t leave you and the devil never enters your body.
  • It is bad luck to meet a funeral procession head on. If you see one approching, turn around.  If this is unavoidable, hold on to a button until the funeral cortege passes.
  • Large drops of rain warn that there has just been a death.
  • To lock the door of your home after a funeral procession has left the house is bad luck.
  • If rain falls on a funeral procession, the deceased will go to heaven.
  • If you hear a clap of thunder following a burial it indicates that the soul of the departed has reached heaven.
  • If you hear 3 knocks and no one is there, it usually means someone close to you has died. The superstitious call this the 3 knocks of death.
  • If a firefly/lightning bug gets into your house someone will soon die.
  • If you smell roses when none are around someone is going to die.
  •  If you don’t hold your breath while going by a graveyard you will not be buried.
  • If you see yourself in a dream, your death will follow.
  • If you see an owl in the daytime, there will be a death.
  • If you dream about a birth, someone you know will die.
  • If it rains in an open grave then someone in the family will die within the year.
  • If a bird pecks on your window or crashes into one that there has been a death.
  • If a sparrow lands on a piano, someone in the home will die.
  • If a picture falls off the wall, there will be a death of someone you know.
  • If you spill salt, throw a pinch of the spilt salt over your shoulder to prevent death.
  • Never speak ill of the dead because they will come back to haunt you or you will suffer misfortune.
  • Two deaths in the family means that a third is sure to follow.
  • The cry of a curlew or the hoot of an owl foretells a death.
  • Having only red and white flowers together in a vase (especially in hospital) means a death will soon follow.
  • Dropping an umbrella on the floor or opening one in the house means that there will be a murder in the house.
  • A diamond-shaped fold in clean linen portends death.
  • A dog howling at night when someone in the house is sick is a bad omen. It can be reversed by reaching under the bed and turning over a shoe.

Are there any superstitions you know about? Share them in the comments below.