DON’T! : 13 Cautionary Superstitions of the Past

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Stay safe, prosperous and lesion-free this Halloween season with the following superstitions of yesteryear.

1. DON’T!

Cut your fingernails on a Friday (or a Sunday)

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If you do, you’ll be poor forever

2. DON’T!
Comb your hair at night

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But if you do make sure the strands that fall out are thrown in the fire, otherwise

“they will meet (your) feet in the dark and make (you) stumble”

3. DON’T!
Leave empty whelk shells in your home overnight

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If you do

“Something is sure to come after them”

Ants, probably.

4. DON’T
Cut your children’s fingernails!

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Bite them off instead. Otherwise, your children will become thieves when they grow up.

I mean, obviously.

5. DON’T!
Open an umbrella inside

It will lead to quarrelling and strife.

“Who opens an umbrella indoors, Jeff?”
“It was a PARASOL, Stacey!”

Photo by Timur Weber on

6. DON’T!
Be the first to enter a newly built house

Otherwise a family member will die shortly afterwards. Instead, throw a cat or a dog into the house before you enter.

“C’mere Rex.”

Photo by Torsten Dettlaff on

7. DON’T
bring currant cakes on a fishing boat

you won’t catch a thing and you’ll probably capsize.

“This is more of a bun, so I think we’ll be okay.”

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8. DON’T!
Kill a magpie or a bat.

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It is extremely unlucky. Particularly for the magpie/bat.

9. DON’T!
Lay a loaf of bread upside down on a table

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Disrespecting carbs is bad luck.

10. DON’T!
Step on earth which a horse has rolled on

lest you be cursed with boils, lesions and other nasty skin ailments.

11. DON’T!
Weigh or measure your children

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It will stunt their growth and cease their development.

12. DON’T!
Cut your own hair.

source: istock.

Wise advice in any era.

And finally,

should you leave your house and the first person you meet is a woman –

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13. DON’T!

Pass by her

Instead, remain perfectly still and let her pass you. Much like a T-Rex, her vision is based on movement.

“Where’d he go?

Photo by Fausto García-Menéndez on Unsplash

Resources and Further Reading

Ancient Legends of Ireland, Lady Wilde, 1919

Guernsey Folk Lore, Sir Edgar MacCulloch, 1903

Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, John Gregorson Campbell, 1900

Transylvanian Superstitions, E. Gerard, 1885, published in The Nineteenth Century: A Monthly Review. Volume 18


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