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Modern technology only gives us a view into the known, but what about the unknown that causes you take a few steps to avoid that ladder, to run from an harmless black cat, or stepping over those cracks? If you do this, you're not alone.

We are animals of tradition, superstitions passed down throughout generations of family will not just go away. This includes culturally based beliefs, ideas and situations we know are impossible, but still stay with the people.

It's in these superstitions we find our character and history, both very important parts of the human condition.

Types of Superstition

They include :: Predictive, Causative and Conversion

Predictive superstitions beliefs that an action or event will cause future consequences. Includes seeing a black cat to predict future bad luck.

Causative superstitions beliefs that you doing an action will cause bad future events. Includes breaking a mirror will give you 7 years of bad luck, or opening an umbrella indoors. Actions you do to make bad things occur.

Conversion superstitions a combo of the 2 above types, accidentally caused and averted by a causative action. Includes if you accidentally spill salt, no problem, just throw a bit of the spilled salt over your shoulder and the bad luck is averted!

Ghostly Superstitions

There are so many superstitions originating from death, ghosts, and traditions related to the handling of the dead.

The following is a list related to the different superstitions related to death and dying...


  • England - a black snail on your doorstep may represent the ghost of a deceased family member.
  • Some African tribes talk of the white bird, that if it flies into your prayer hut, this is the ghost of your loved one bringing blessings.
  • A rooster's crow isn't just an alarm for the farmer, but also tells wandering spirits it's time to depart until sunset.
  • A bird flying into your house carries with it an important message.
  • A black cat walking to you brings good luck, if it's walking away then it's taking that luck with it.
  • The number of crows nearby foretells by an equation of
    1 = bad / 2 = luck / 3 = health / 4 = wealth / 5 = sickness / 6 = death.
  • Kiss the frog that enters your house, because it's good luck!
  • A brightly red ladybug is associated with fire, a sign of good luck and fortune. Allowing it to leave on it's own completes the ritual.
  • Make a wish on the first robin of spring, a wish that will be granted.
  • Christians shouldn't kill creepy, disgusting spiders. This has been unlucky since a spider spun a web over the baby Jesus to protect him from King Herod.

How to control ghosts

  • Take a rope and tie 7, 14 or 21 knots into it while calling out the name of the deceased you wish to restrict. Bury it outside your home to keep that spirit away, or you can burn the rope to release the ghost.
  • Scared of the Grasshopper Demon In Malaysia? Combine sacred water with incense and fear no more.
  • Scared of possessed loved ones in Malaysia? Pinch and blow on their head to banish an unwanted entity. This will restore the human energy to its body.
  • In the 1500's, go on a fast filled with prayer, wine and holy oil to remove unwanted entities, and don't forget your religious relics.
  • Throw dill mixed with salt, fennel, and mullein in a haunted place to banish a ghost.
  • Hang garlic over your doorway for those days when ghosts are bugging you. Bite off a clove and toss it away to banish the ghosts.
  • Travel out into the night of a waning moon to gather tall grass. Go to where the ghost resides and and tie one knot in the grass. Bury it in the dirt to to confine the spirit to its grave.

How to prevent ghosts

  • Close the eyes of the dead before interring them to the group to prevent the spirit from wandering.
  • Afraid of a vengeful spirit In Greece? Dance around their grave to stop them from returning for revenge.
  • Keep the threshold of your home clean when removing a dead body to keep them from coming back.
  • Place a iron cross within a burial site to keep these folks in the grave.
  • The Egyptians added sweet spices to mummified remains to conceal the smell of death, so they would be pleasant to the guardians of afterlife.
  • The Spanish guaranteed the soul rested peacefully by having loved ones at the wake dance around the body 7 times.
  • East Indians gave the deceased a peaceful journey by placing basil beside the coffin.
  • Want to give the recently deceased safe passage? Open all your doors and windows around the general area where they died.
  • And one of the most known... to stop a negative haunting of a restless ghost, confirm the entities body did not receive a proper burial or cremation, then provide them one!

Protect yourself from the dead

  • Lodestone protects you against active spirits, possibly due to it's connection with the protective metal of iron.
  • Leeks dispel the dead, from it's latin name Sempervivium, meaning "ever living", the antithesis of death.
  • Cover all the mirrors of your house after a death to allow the spirit safe passage, not getting confused or sucked into another portal.
  • Being chased by scary ghosts? Find the nearest body of moving water, to jump in or cross. The ghost will not be able to follow.
  • Light sources (origins in fire) will repel evil ghosts, proven in the middle ages when folks would leave candles lit beside their beds to protect themselves from these ghosts
  • Rowan and St. John's Wort over your door will block evil spirits.
  • Hate wandering spirits in Greece? Grow violets in or near your home to ward them off.
  • The Jack-o-Lantern comes from people carrying turnips with candles inside for protection against evil spirits.

How to see or attract the ghosts

  • The baby born at midnight (a chime child), has the sixth sense just like the 7th son of a 7th son.
  • The Mayas of the Yucatan will draw a line in chalk starting from the grave of a loved one to their home, so the ghost can find it's way back for a visit or two.
  • For best results, talk to ghosts at midnight on the anniversary of their death.
  • Old books filled with spells talk about the burning the following items while hanging out in a cemetery. Mix aloe, musk, saffron, vervain, and pepper and you see the ghosts that wander the graves.
  • Kids born on Christmas day are blessed with a life void of dreaded spirits and the evil they bring... to make up for just one day of gifts.
  • The veil between our world and the next grows thin during the time of all New Year's and when celebrating the dead - Halloween is an example of both.

You're going to die!

  • A working clock decides to stop in your presence.
  • When a winding sheet (wax melting off the side that looks like cloth) forms on a candle, an event that may show a ghost is present.
  • A swarm of bees gets into you house through the chimney.
  • You hear the hooting of an owl in the distance while relaxing at home.
  • One raven is flying over your house.

* Please keep in mind that Haunted Hamilton does not endorse or recommend these as methods for anything. This is simply an informational article.


Superstitions and Beliefs: How our superstitions shape the world:

Origin of Common Superstitions:

The Dog Hause Superstitions:

Urban Legends Reserach Centre:

Telesco, Patricia. Ghosts Spirits and Hauntings, 1999


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