Hillbilly Hoodoo, Appalachian Granny Magic, and Superstitions You’ll Learn at Mawmaw’s House

I grew up in the hollers betweenst the mountains of eastern Kentucky. To say we’re a tad superstitious is a bit of an understatement. Here’s some of my favorites that I may or may not still subscribe to today.

If your nose is itching, you’ll soon have good company. Now I’ve had allergies all my life, so I was always itchin’.

If a broom or fork falls on its own, you’ll have unwanted company. Literally if you show up at my house unannounced, you’re unwanted no matter who you are.

Never lend a needle or salt… charge a penny cash, each.

If you tell your dreams before breakfast, they won’t come true… if you tell your nightmares before breakfast, they will.

A mirror laying flat under a full moon will show you what you need to see. I call this ‘scrying’, but Mamaw loved Jesus and would never use the Devil’s ways for divination.

Never say ‘thank you’ when someone gives you a plant, or it will surely die. Well that’s just a tad rude.

Paint your windowsills  blue to keep bad spirits away. Supposedly they can’t cross water and the color tricks them. I’m not sure I buy that…

If it rains while the sun’s shinin’, the Devil’s beatin’ his wife. Well alrighty then.

Cows laying down means bad weather is coming. Because the thought of a cow being tired is udderly absurd.

Don’t let birds make nest with your hair. You will end up going crazy.

If you dream about crossing water, there will be an illness in your family. Or you’ll piss the bed, probably.

If you dream about muddy water, you will have bad luck. I think this one means ‘Never trust a fart’.

If a cricket chirps in your fireplace, you’ll have good luck. No. Just no. I’m terrified of crickets, if one is in my house, I’m already experiencing bad luck.

It is bad luck to run backwards. You think people came to this conclusion because they busted their ass so many times?? Seems legit.

If you dream about death, it’s a sign that a weddin’ is near. Or a pregnancy.

If you rock an empty cradle, the baby will die. Oh my word…

If your ears are ringin’, you’re hearin’ the death bell, and a friend will soon pass away.

If a broken clock suddenly strikes, it’s a sure sign of death. This one is for real. Ain’t nothin’ right about clock you know is broken suddenly comin’ back to life.

To make a death charm, form a little figure out of wax (a poppet), make sure it contains some of the persons hair or fingernails. Throw it into the fire…. and wait.

To keep a witch outta your house, lay a broomstick across the doorstep. Come to think of it, this will probably keep anyone away, as you’ll be known as the person whose front doorstep trips people and breaks their ankles. Super effective, still.

To keep away ghosts, carry the left hind foot of a graveyard rabbit. Damn these shits are specific.

A snakeskin bag with a toad’s eye inside will also ward off the haints.

Dried basil hung over doorways, windows, and fireplaces will prevent ghosts from entering. Rue or purslane planted near the house wards off ghostly visitors.

Bells and chimes are methods of deterring the haints. This method comes from China and Scandinavia. Purty effective, too.

To get rid of a spirit in your house, leave out a plate of cooked potatoes just before sundown. Claim loudly that the potatoes are for the spirit. Bury the potatoes and the spirit should go with it.

To turn negative forces off yourself, toss 9 broom straws into a hearth fire, at sunset, one at a time. Seriously? Burning a broom?

I guess that’s all I got for now. Do I subscribe to any of this stuff? I’m a modern, 30-something woman with a keen understanding of the universe and it’s perfectly sensible workins. But, still, I walk out of graveyards backwards, I grab an umbrella when I see cows lying down, and when an elderly woman gives me garden clippins and says, “You know what not to say”, I assure her that I do 😉

Hail Midgard, Hail the ancestors! Thanks for bein’ here, tell yer mama’n ’em I said “hey”!