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Death Omens


1158. To raise an umbrella in a house is a sign of an approaching death.

Pennsylvania; somewhat general in the United States.

1159. To open an umbrella in the house is a sign of ill luck. An action

of this sort seriously disturbed a friend of the informant, an American

girl of good family. I would never dare to do that, she said.

Niagara Falls, Ont.

1160. If a hoe be carr
ed through a house, some one will die before the

year is out.

Mansfield, O.

1161. Carrying through the house a hoe, spade, or axe indicates a death

in the family.


1162. Carry an axe or any iron implement through the house, and some one

will soon die.

Southwestern Michigan.

1163. Death is foretold by the ringing of a bell that cannot otherwise be

accounted for.

Southern Ohio.

1164. When bread, in baking, cracks across the top, it means death.

New Jersey and Ohio.

1165. Cracks on the top of a loaf of bread indicate the death of a friend.

Several localities.

1166. When bright red specks resembling spattered blood appear on linen,

it is held to be a token of misfortune, probably of death.

Northern Ohio.

1167. If the candle burns blue, it is token of a death.

1168. To see a coffin in the candle is a token of death.

Boston, Mass.

1169. To see a winding-sheet in the candle has the same significance.


1170. Three lamps or candles burned close together mean death.


1171. If a sudden and unaccountable light is seen in a carpenter's shop,

it indicates that the carpenter will soon have to make a coffin.

Cape Breton.

1172. If a coffin creaks in a carpenter's shop, another order soon


Newark, N.J., and Virginia.

1173. If the coffin does not settle down smoothly into place in the

grave, but has to be raised and lowered again, another in the family will

die inside a year.

Stevens Point, Wis.

1174. Change a sick person from one room to another, and he will die.

New Jersey.

1175. If a clock, long motionless, suddenly begins to tick or strike, it

is a sign of approaching death or misfortune.

Newark, N.J., Virginia, and North Carolina.

1176. If a corpse remains soft and supple after death, another death in

the family will follow.

Trinity Bay, N.F., and Prince Edward Island.

1177. A cow mooing after midnight means death.

1178. To dance on the ground indicates disaster, or death within a year.

Boxford, Mass.

1179. The hearing, in the wall, of the death-watch, or death-tick,

betokens a death in the house.

General in the United States.

1180. A dish-cloth hung on a door-knob is a sign of death in a family.

Deerfield, Mass.

1181. To knock on a door and receive no answer is a sign of death.

Virginia and Englewood, Ill.

1182. The last name a dying person calls is that of the next to follow.

New Hampshire.

1183. Sometimes the dying call for an absent one, as if in trouble. This

is a sign that that person will have some great trouble in after life.

New York.

1184. Death takes place at ebb tide.

New England Coast.

1185. The person on whom the eyes of a dying person last rest will be the

first to die.

Boston, Mass.

1186. It is a sign of death to see a flower blossoming out of season, as,

for example, a rose in the fall. This has proved a true omen in several

cases, according to the experience of a lady who believes in these signs.

In consequence of this belief, when she has such a a flower, she will

pick it off the stem and throw it away, without mentioning the incident

to any one.

Niagara Falls, Ont.

1187. It is a sign of death to see a tree blossoming in the fall.

Orange Co., Va.

1188. If a garment is cut out on Friday, the person for whom it is made

will not live unless it is finished on the same day.

Southern Indiana.

1189. If you begin a quilt on Friday, you will never live to finish it.


An act of this sort gave great distress to a domestic servant, who, until

after the completion of the quilt, daily expected disaster. This woman

came from French Canada.

1190. If a doctor is called on Friday, the patient will surely die.

Cambridge, Mass.

1191. If a hearse is drawn by two white horses, death in the neighborhood

will occur within a month.

Central Maine.

1192. If anyone comes to a funeral after the procession starts, another

death will occur in the same house.


1193. At a funeral the first person who turns away from the grave will

have the next death in his family.

Trinity Bay, N.F.

1194. If one goes to a funeral with the intention of following to the

grave but does not do so, a death soon follows in his family.


1195. If it rains during a burial, another member of the family will soon


Poland, Me., Baldwinsville, N.Y., Ohio, and Alabama.

1196. If rain falls into an open grave, another burial in the same

cemetery will occur within three days.

Western New York.

1197. If you meet a funeral train, it is a sign of death.

Prince Edward Island.

1198. Do not let any one wear your hat to a funeral when you've not worn

it before yourself.


1199. Whoever counts the carriages at a passing funeral will die within

the year.

Peabody, Mass., and Hennepin, Ill.

Or, some one will die.

1200. If shot remain in the gun after firing, some one of your family

will die.


1201. If you build on to your house, you will die within the year.


1202. Lie down on a table and you will die before the year is out.

Mattawamkeag, Me.

1203. To hold a lamp over a sleeping person causes death.


1204. To break a looking-glass is a sign of death in the family before

the year closes.

General in the United States.

1205. To break a looking-glass is a sign of death, or of bad luck

or[TN-11] seven years. This is quite a general belief. Domestic servants,

and particularly superstitious persons, are often thrown into a panic by

accidents of this sort.

General in the United States and Canada.

1206. If three persons look into a mirror at the same time, one will die

within the year.

Peabody, Mass., and New Hampshire.

1207. If one try on mourning when not wearing it, he will have occasion

to wear it soon.


1208. To put on a bonnet or hat of one in mourning is a sign that you

will wear one before the year is out.

Peabody and Boston, Mass., and Niagara Falls, Ont.

1209. To drive a nail on Sunday is a sign that some one in the family

will die within the year.

Pigeon Cove, Mass.

1210. Hearing an imaginary rap and opening an outside door lets death in.

Ferrisburgh, Vt.

1211. The hearing of three raps is a sign that some member of the family

is dead.

Boston, Mass., and Orange Co., Va.

1212. If members of a family, after long separation, meet for reunion,

some one of the members will die within the year.

Cambridge, Mass.

1213. Ringing in the ears is a sign of death.


1214. Ringing in the ears means death before the week ends. Of this

ringing the term death-bell is used. It may be said by a country woman:

Oh! I have heard a death-bell! or, What a death-bell in my ear! You

will hear of a death before the week is out. In case of a sudden death,

such a person might say: I am not surprised; I heard a death-bell on

such a day.

Northern Ohio.

1215. The term death-bell is also a popular one in

Prince Edward Island.

1216. In some localities the direction of the apparent ringing indicates

the direction from which the news of death will come.

1217. If an empty rocking-chair is seen to sway back and forth when

apparently unoccupied, it is supposed that the chair is held by the

spirit of some deceased member of the family, who has come back to choose

the next to go, and call that person quickly.


1218. A spot resembling iron-rust on the finger means death.


1219. Beginning on Saturday a garment that cannot be finished means death.


1220. Deaths do not come singly; but if one of a family dies, a second

death in the same family will occur within a year.

Cambridge, Mass.

1221. Whoever works on a sick person's dress, he or she will die within

the year.


1222. If some one is sick and a storm comes, it is a sign he will die

during its continuance.


1223. When a woman who has been sewing puts her thimble on the table as

she sits down to eat, it is a sign that she will be left a widow if she


Central Maine.

1224. If one sings at a table while the family are eating, it means the

death of a friend.

Webster City, Iowa.

Or bad luck (Virginia); disappointment (New Jersey).

1225. If three drops of blood fall from your nose, one of your family is



1226. If you sneeze on Sunday morning before breakfast, you will hear of

the death of some person you know before the next Saturday night.

Northern Vermont.

1227. If you sneeze at table with the mouth full, an acquaintance will

die soon.

Virginia and Alabama.

1228. When sowing grain, if a strip of land is missed there will be a

death inside of a year.

Ohio and Maryland.

1229. When you shiver, it means that some one is walking over the place

where your grave is to be.

General in the United States.

1230. If sparks are left (unintentionally) in the ashes over night, it is

a sign of death.

Cumberland, Md.

1231. If sparks of fire fly out of an opened stove door, it is a sign of


Trinity Bay, N.F.

1232. If any one in the town lies dead over Sunday, there will be another

death before the end of the week.

Bedford, Mass.

1233. Three horses of the same color indicate death, but this sign is not

very noticeable in a thickly settled community.

Baldwinsville, N.Y.

1234. Three chairs placed accidentally in a row mean death.


1235. If there is a death there will be three deaths in the family within

a short time.

New York.

1236. To break the spell of thirteen at table, all should rise together,

otherwise the first up (or, as some say, the last down) dies inside a


New England.

1237. If thirteen sit at table, the one who rises first will not live

through the year.

Somerville, Mass., Newark, N.Y., and Mifflintown, Pa.

1238. If thirteen sit at table, the last one who sits down will not die

that year.

Brookline, Mass.

1239. If window-shades fall down without being molested, it is a sign of


Cape Breton.