Victorian Death Superstitions

21 October 2018



- 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 approaching, 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.

- Stop the clock in a death room or you will have bad luck.

- 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 you leave something that belongs to you to the deceased, that means the person will come back to get you.

- 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 split 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.

- A single snowdrop growing in the garden 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.

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