June 13, 2008


My mom's family is from the Appalachian coal mines of Kentucky. If you've seen the movie, “Coal Miner's Daughter,” you've seen where my mom spent her early childhood. Her family has since moved to the Cincinnati, Ohio area, but the ancestral folklore continues to be passed down. Since today is Friday the 13th, I thought it would be interesting to share some of the more common sayings with my readers. Thankfully, no one in my family still believes any of this!

  1. Hold your breath when you pass by a graveyard or you'll be the next to die.
  2. If you put shoes on the table, you'll bring death in the family.
  3. When someone dies, the immediate family must stay awake all night and be in the same room with the departed.
  4. Wean a child from the bottle when his foot starts to take shape and you won't have any trouble.
  5. Knock on wood 3 times whenever anyone speaks of anything bad happening.
  6. Always plant when the moon is waxing; plants that are planted when the moon is waning, die.
  7. The seventh daughter of a seventh daughter has second sight.
  8. Wash your face every day with a lemon to rid yourself of freckles.
  9. Stop all of the clocks in the house when a family member dies.
  10. Grass won't grow on an evil person's grave.
  11. If you sweep under a maiden's feet, she will never marry.
  12. A cricket in a house brings good luck.
  13. Never let a cat near a baby because the cat will suck the baby's breath.


  1. It's amazing how superstitious a lot of people are. I mean there are perfectly reasonable modern folks who will avoid black cats when driving or walking, will "X" their windshield if a black cat does cross the road, avoid walking under ladders, and other goofy things.

    I am not at all superstitious. In fact I can't stand such talk about "luck" and "bad luck". I shake my fist at luck!

    If a black cat crosses my path, I will call to it to see if it's friendly and pet it if it is. If the best path from point A to point B is under a ladder, I'll duck as I go under.

    And parents, please stop telling your children that swimming immediately after you eat will give you a cramp and cause you to drown.

  2. Wow, I had never even heard of most of those. I'm not very superstitious--I used to get mad at a friend of mine because every time she had lunch at my house, she threw salt over her shoulder after she salted her food. She thought she was being careful, but I thought she was making a mess on my floor!

  3. I must admit...I have "knocked on wood" before, but not 3 times so I guess it didn't count. haha!


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