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Kentucky Superstitions | by Daniel Lindsey Thomas, Lucy Blayney Thomas



To bring together odd beliefs for the possible amusement of the curious is not the object of a research in the field of folk superstitions such as we have attempted. The end sought is not humor or satire; our hope is rather that such value as is present will be serious. The study of superstitious survivals throws light on what the working of the human mind was in the early stages of its evolution. Eccentric and illogical beliefs of today were accepted principles of life centuries ago. A collection of superstitions, in so far as it has scholarly value, is a partial record of what men have thought and believed. It is, therefore, our hope that this collection may be in a real, though perhaps small, sense, a contribution both to history and to psychology...

TitleKentucky Superstitions
AuthorDaniel Lindsey Thomas, Lucy Blayney Thomas
PublisherPrinceton University Press
Year1920
Copyright1920, Princeton University Press
AmazonKentucky Superstitions
Kentucky Superstitions

By Daniel Lindsey Thomas, Ph.D., Late Professor Of English At Centre College, And Founder And President Of The Kentucky Branch Of The American Folk-Lore Society.

And Lucy Blayney Thomas, M.A., Teacher Of English At Ward-Belmont School, Nashville, Tennessee.

-Preface
To bring together odd beliefs for the possible amusement of the curious is not the object of a research in the field of folk superstitions such as we have attempted. The end sought is not humor or sat...
-Preface. Continued
That hath given them [coincidences] grace, and some credit, consisteth in three things. First, that men mark when they hit, and never when they miss; as they do, generally, also of dreams. The second...
-Books Treating Folk Superstitions. Collections Of Superstitions
V. S. Lean: Lean's Collectanea. 1902-1904. Cora Linn Daniels and C. M. Stevans: Encyclopaedia of Superstitions, Folklore and the Occult Sciences of the World. 3 vols. 1903. J. G. Frazer: The Gol...
-Books On Sources Of Folk Superstitions
J. G. Frazer: The Golden Bough. 14 vols. 1914. John Fiske: Myths and Mythmakers. 1873. John Brand: Observations on Popular Antiquities. A new edition with the additions of Sir Henry Ellis. 1900. ...
-Birth And Child Life Superstitions
(The notation of a section of Kentucky in connection with a superstition shows that it has been reported only from that section. The absence of localization indicates that the superstition is general....
-Family Relation Superstitions
97. A poor man is sure to have many children (A fool for luck and a poor man for children). 98. If there is strong family resemblance between parent and child, the child will outlive the parent. ...
-Lost Article Superstitions
106. To find which way the cows have gone, catch a daddy-long-legs by the hind legs, and he will point with one of his front legs. 107. Count a hundred stars without repetition; then you will find ...
-Wish Superstitions
121. A wish made on the new moon will come to pass. 122. Make a wish on a new moon; if you do not look at the moon until it is new again, your wish will come true...............................Blue...
-Divinations Concerning Love
200. If you hold an apple in your armpit until it is warm and then eat it, your sweetheart will love you................................Southern Kentucky 201. If you can break an apple in two, you ...
-Divinations Concerning Love. Part 2
245. Light a candle and leave it. Your intended mate will blow it out. 246. Blow out the candles of a birthday cake. If you extinguish all at once, you will be married within a year. 247. The ...
-Divinations Concerning Love. Part 3
279. If a girl meets a team of white horses and then names ten different colors of ties, the last color she sees will be the one on the man that she is going to marry. 280. Count one hundred white ...
-Divinations Concerning Love. Part 4
331. If your ears burn, name each one for people of the opposite sex; the one which ceases to burn first shows the one who loves you the better..................................North-eastern Kentucky ...
-Divinations Concerning Love. Part 5
380. On Hallowe'en look into a mirror on the cellar steps to see the person that you are to marry. 381. Make a lover's knot of a handkerchief and pull the ends. The end that stays in most tightly ...
-Divinations Concerning Love. Part 6
424. If you find a snail before sunrise on May first, and place it on a plate of flour or meal, it will write your lover's name or initials. 425. If you look into a well on May Day you will see ...
-Divinations Concerning Love. Part 7
464. If the first letter from a boy to a girl happens to be written with a pencil, they will not be married to each other. 465. If a person eats pickles, he is in love. 466. If a girl in love ...
-Divinations Concerning Love. Part 8
508. After you have turned ten signet rings and one diamond ring, the first boy with a red tie on who tips his hat or cap to you is your future husband. 509. Turn sixteen diamond rings and one ...
-Divinations Concerning Love. Part 9
550. The star under which a person is born influences his life. 551. If a star falls, one of your family will be married soon. 552. Name three stars in a row; the one you dream about shows your ...
-Marriage Superstitions
616. Marry when the year is new, You will always be loving, kind, and true. 617. Marriage and the months: January, always poor. February, wed once more. March, splendid catch. April, ...
-Death And Burial Superstitions
708. If you play at having funerals, one of you will die..................................Mountains 709. If you wear anyone's mourning gown or wrap, there will be a death in your family. 710. ...
-The Human Body Superstitions
783. If you touch the beauty spot on your face, you will go abroad. Compare the Divination sign that if you can touch the beauty spot with your finger your sweetheart loves you. 784. You will have ...
-The Human Body Superstitions. Part 2
845. Beware of the girl with a dimple in her chin. 846. Place the hand over the mouth when you are yawning, to keep the evil spirits from entering. 847. A large-mouthed girl has a large womb.. ...
-The Human Body Superstitions. Part 3
902. A negro with fine, straight hair is sure to be vicious............................Central Kentucky 903. Men with fine, light hair are intelligent and conceited. If they do not marry until ...
-The Human Body Superstitions. Part 4
965. If there is a white spot on your finger-nail, you are to receive a present. 966. White spots on the nails counting from thumb to little finger, indicate, Friends, foes, presents, beaux, ...
-Sneeze Superstitions
1035. Sneeze on Monday for health. Sneeze on Tuesday for wealth. Sneeze on Wednesday for a letter. Sneeze on Thursday for something better. Sneeze on Friday for sorrow. Sneeze on Saturday, see ...
-Cures And Preventive Superstitions
1059. When a finger, a toe, or an arm is amputated, it should be buried in a straight position; otherwise the patient will suffer pains from cramp. Secrecy should be observed in the burial of the ...
-Cures And Preventive Superstitions. Part 2
1108. Burns can be cured by persons who have the miraculous power of blowing the fire out of the wound. 1109. Do not burn a bandage that has been wrapped about a burn. If you do, the burn will ...
-Cures And Preventive Superstitions. Part 3
1156. If you feed a cow a soiled dish rag, she will recover her cud. 1157. If you place a bowl of water under the bed at night, your feet will not cramp. 1158. Croup is treated with skunk oil, ...
-Cures And Preventive Superstitions. Part 4
1213. Glandular swellings are treated with two-year-old marrow taken from the inferior maxillary of a hog ...........................Western Kentucky 1214. You can stop a goitre from growing by ...
-Cures And Preventive Superstitions. Part 5
1263. You can cure a liver complaint in a child by having him touch his left foot with his right hand..........................................Mountains 1264. For difficult and painful ...
-Cures And Preventive Superstitions. Part 6
1315. Carry a round ham-bone in your pocket, to avert rheumatism. 1316. Carry a potato filled with tacks in your pocket, to keep off rheumatism.........Northern Kentucky 1317. You can cure your ...
-Cures And Preventive Superstitions. Part 7
1364. Remove a sty by picking up a rock, spitting on it, and returning it to its place. 1365. To keep off sun-stroke, put a wet cabbage leaf on the head. 1366. If you have a sun pain in your ...
-Cures And Preventive Superstitions. Part 8
1408. If you stand a person against a tree and drive a nail into the tree just above his head, this process will cure toothache...........Western Kentucky 1409. To cure toothache, pick your tooth ...
-Cures And Preventive Superstitions. Part 9
1459. To cure a wart, go to a cross-roads, make a cross, and spit into the middle of it. 1460. Rub a wart with the juice of a dandelion, to make it leave. 1461. If you have warts, wait until ...
-Cures And Preventive Superstitions. Part 10
1509. Cut as many notches in a sassafras root as you have warts; plant the root; if it grows, the warts will leave ..............................Mountains 1510. Call each wart by the name of a ...
-Household And Domestic Life Superstitions
1574. If the stone step of a newly built house cracks, there will be an early death in the family 1575. If a board warps in a porch, you may expect a death in the family. 1576. To build a new ...
-Household And Domestic Life Superstitions. Part 2
1640. To rock a chair when no one is in it, is a sign that you are rocking someone out of the family. 1641. To avert the bad luck incident to rocking an unoccupied chair, one may place a pillow in ...
-Household And Domestic Life Superstitions. Part 3
1702. Never sleep with your head toward the east. 1703. You must not place your bed with the head to the west, as that position is the one in which the dead are buried. 1704. If you he with ...
-Household And Domestic Life Superstitions. Part 4
1765. An accidental dropping of a knife brings a woman caller. 1766. An accidental dropping of a fork brings a man caller. 1767. If you drop a fork, your best friend is coming. ....................
-Household And Domestic Life Superstitions. Part 5
1826. Eat a dozen onions before you go to bed, to become beautiful. 1827. Eat a pickle, to settle your love. 1828. If you eat the crust of bread, your hair will become curly. 1829. If you ...
-Dream Superstitions
1889. Dreams go by contraries. 1890. A dream out of season, Trouble out of reason. 1891. Morning dreams come true. 1892. If you tell a dream before breakfast, it will come true. ...
-Dream Superstitions. Part 2
1958. It is a sign of good luck to dream of being on a very high place.....................Blue Grass 1959. To dream of a hog is a sign of bad luck. .Mountains 1960. It brings good luck to ...
-Dream Superstitions. Part 3
2024. See a pin and let it lie Sorrow will come by and by. Find a pin, and let it lie, You'll want a pin before you die. 2025. If you find a pin with the point toward you and place it ...
-Dream Superstitions. Part 4
2081. If your dress is turned up, spit on it, and turn it down, to get a new one. 2082. If the hem of a dress is turned up, and someone calls the wearer's attention to it, the wearer will get a ...
-Shadows, Portraits, And Reflection Superstitions
2162. If you sit with your shadow thrown on the water, you will not catch fish...............Mountains 2163. If a portrait hangs on the wall crooked, there will be bad luck.....................
-Moon And Signs Of The Zodiac Superstitions
2196. If a stray dog howls in the moonlight with his nose pointed at a person, that person will die...................................Western Kentucky 1 For weather signs connected with the moon, ...
-Moon And Signs Of The Zodiac Superstitions. Continued
2248. Crops will not be successful if planted in the new moon. 2249. If anyone becomes ill in a March that has two new moons, he will die. 1Many people, especially in rural communities in ...
-Weather Sign Superstitions
2327. If animals have heavy fur, expect a hard winter. 2328. If you step on an ant, there will be rain. 2329. In spring and summer, during the season of thunderstorms, the barometer is unsteady ...
-Weather Sign Superstitions. Part 2
2379. Red corn is a sign of a hard winter..........................................Central Kentucky 2380. If corn blades wither, there will be rain. 2381. When a large number of tumble-bugs are ...
-Weather Sign Superstitions. Part 3
2437. If it rains on the sixth of June, there will be no mast..............................Mountains 2438. A dry June means a good corn crop. 2439. If it rains on the first of the dog days, it ...
-Weather Sign Superstitions. Part 4
2508. When fire spits, there will be snow. 2509. The crackling of the fire with a fluffy sound as if snow were falling into it indicates the coming of snow. 2510. If a fire sighs, there will be ...
-Weather Sign Superstitions. Part 5
2570. If the rain gets thick and heavy, almost like mist, the weather will turn cold. 2571. The presence of a great quantity of mistletoe in the fall indicates that a severe winter will follow. ...
-Weather Sign Superstitions. Part 6
2635. If smoke goes down stream, expect rain. 2636. If smoke goes down the valley, rain may be expected. 2637. When coal smoke and gas puff out into the room with a singing noise, snow may be ...
-Days, Seasons, Etc Superstitions
2700. Monday's child is fair of face. Tuesday's child is full of grace. Wednesday's child is loving and giving. Thursday's child must work for a living. Friday's child is full of woe. ...
-Days, Seasons, Etc Superstitions. Part 2
2758. Wednesday is a lucky day for collecting money. 2759. Wednesday is the luckiest day of the week for a wedding. 2760. Thursday is the best day for business transactions. 2761. Do not ...
-Days, Seasons, Etc Superstitions. Part 3
2814. If you go in swimming on the first morning of May before the sun is up, you will not have any contagious disease during that year.......Mountains 2815. If a colt is born in May, he will lie ...
-Crops, Vegetables, Fruits, Tree Superstitions
2866. Crops planted during the first three days of July will be barren. 2867. Do not plant anything on the first three days of May, which are barren days. 2868. Never thank the giver for ...
-Crops, Vegetables, Fruits, Tree Superstitions. Continued
2926. Plant cucumber seed on the sixth of July; You will have cucumbers, wet or dry......................................Western Kentucky 2927. Place combread crumbs about your cucumber ...
-Money Superstitions
3014. Carry a coin piece (for example, an old coin) for good luck and to keep from losing money. 3015. If you carry money in two different pockets, you will lose some of it.....................
-Walking Forth, Travel Superstitions
3034. It brings bad luck to come to a place in the road where someone has drawn his foot across the way. 3035. It causes bad luck to run across a bridge. Mountains 3036. If you are walking at ...
-Letter Superstitions
3078. To burn a letter will bring good luck... Mountains 3079. To tear a letter and bury the pieces under a log will bring good luck.................Mountains 3080. If you fold a letter in nine ...
-Mine Superstitions
3094. If a woman comes into a coal mine, there will be an accident to the miners...............Mountains 3095. It causes bad luck for a hole to squib on the right side of the room in a coal mine......
-Number Superstitions
3122. The third time is for luck. Three's a charm. 3123. Three is an unlucky number..........Mountains 3124. In fire insurance, one large loss means that there will be three losses. 3125. ...
-Sport Superstitions
3152. If you cross bats in playing ball, your luck will change. 3153. In laying baseball bats down, do not cross them. 3154. If the first batter in a baseball game strikes out, the opposing ...
-Luck At Cards Superstitions
3229. Unlucky at cards, lucky at love. 3230. Walk around the table or a chair to change the luck; 3231. You will have good luck if you walk around the table three times during a card game. ...
-Animals, Birds, Reptiles, Insect Superstitions
3262. Animals can see haunts or spirits. 3263. Animals can talk on New Year's Eve. 3264. It is a bad omen for an animal to die in one's hand. 3265. If you see a dead animal, spit over your ...
-Animals, Birds, Reptiles, Insect Superstitions. Part 2
3331. The birth of twin calves is a sign of a death in the family.................North-eastern Kentucky 3332. If you milk a cow on the ground, it will go dry. 3333. If a cow steps over a milk ...
-Animals, Birds, Reptiles, Insect Superstitions. Part 3
3386. Bad dogs are afraid of mean people.....Negroes 3387. Keep goats on a horse farm. If the goats do well, the horses will do well...............Blue Grass 3388. Keep a goat among horses or ...
-Animals, Birds, Reptiles, Insect Superstitions. Part 4
3448. If a mule turns over, it is worth two hundred and fifty dollars. 3449. A mule that cannot turn over is not worth fifty dollars. 3450. To pick up a coin in a mule's track, will bring good ...
-Animals, Birds, Reptiles, Insect Superstitions. Part 5
3507. Kill a tree toad. Put the head in a snuffbox until ants have eaten the flesh away. Break the lower jawbone into two parts. Put the right half into your clothes and the left half, which has a ...
-Animals, Birds, Reptiles, Insect Superstitions. Part 6
3563. A cock's crowing in the front door brings a guest. 3564. If a rooster crows while looking in at the door, expect a stranger the next day. 3565. Someone is coming if a rooster crows. He ...
-Animals, Birds, Reptiles, Insect Superstitions. Part 7
3625. An owl will stop hooting if you pull your shoes off and cross them. 3626. To stop an owl from hooting, turn the toes of your shoes to touch the wall. 3627. To avert the disaster that ...
-Animals, Birds, Reptiles, Insect Superstitions. Part 8
3689. If a firefly comes into the house, there will be one person more or one fewer the next day, that is, someone will go or someone will come. 3690. In firefly season, toads will eat fire. ...
-Witch Superstitions
3773. To become a witch, go to a mountain top at dawn, shoot through a handkerchief at the rising sun, curse Jehovah three times, and own the Devil as master. When you shoot through the handkerchief, ...
-Hoodoo Superstitions
3840. Hoodoo a person by putting a shoe with a dead rat in it on his door step.........Western Kentucky 3841. To hoodoo a person, shake down dust on him through a crack in the ceiling.. Blue Grass ...
-Haunted Houses, Ghosts, Evil Spirit Superstitions
3859. Almost every community has a house which the credulous believe to be haunted. 3860. If a picture falls off the wall, the house is haunted....................Central Kentucky Negroes 3861. ...
-Miscellaneous Superstitions
3883. To change a will is unlucky. 3884. It brings bad luck for a boat to be christened with anything but champagne. 3885. Laughing's catching, that is, if you laugh at another's bad luck, ...









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