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Old wives tales, superstitions and other sayings

Updated on September 29, 2012

Great list of true and untrue things that have been handed down over the years.

We all have a grandparent, old Aunt or even a mother who has told us some pretty far-fetched things over the years.
 
Some of these things turned out to be true, some not.
 
Here is a look back at some popular wives tales and superstitions.  

 

Always hang a horseshoe over your door with the ends pointed up.  Or the luck will pour out.

Weather

You could measure the distance of a storm by counting from the flash of the lightning to the sound of thunder. This is True!

When the wind blows the leaves on the trees upside down there will be a bad rain.

If the deer are out early grazing there is big storm coming.

Red sky at night sailors delight,

Red sky at morn sailor be warned.

This is true.

If the cows in pastures are all lying down, it's a sure sign of rain.

A ring around a winter moon means snow.

Winter thunder means snow within 10 days.

Squirrels nesting in dead trees instead of making nests of leaves means a harsh winter.

If you kill a spider indoors, it will bring rain.

If you killed a snake hang it over a fence and it will rain.

Money

When your left palm itches, it means money coming into your pocket; when your right palm itches, it means money going out of your pocket.

If you drop a fork on the floor it means you'll get money.

See a penny, pick it up.

All day long you will have good luck.

Don't pick up a penny that is face down ( tails up )

It will only bring bad luck.

Health or Death

Health

1950s before the polio vaccine.

People thought kids would get polio if they played in the mud puddles after a rain.

If you sit too close to the TV you'll go blind.

Not true, but how many times did you hear that growing up as a kid????

If you let your hair hang in your face you'll go blind. Again not true.

If you accidentally swallow a cat or dog hair it will become a worm in your tummy.

Kissing toads give you warts.

Not true.

If you go out in the cold you will catch a cold.

Seems true enough.

Death

A howling dog is a sign of impending death nearby.

NEVER Sweep after Dark, either inside or outside, as Someone you Love will Die by Morning!

if you plant a cedar tree then when the shad from the tree is big enough to completely cover a grave you will die. This is most likely true as Cedars are slow growing trees.

Didn't wash clothes on New Year's day because if you do the person whose clothes you washed would die sometime before the year was out.

Marriage and Weddings

Brides: During your wedding ceremony, put a penny in your shoe for good luck.

Your will have one child for every ribbon you break at your wedding shower.

Girls hold our feet up when you go over the railroad tracks or you will never get married.

For Brides on your wedding day.

For good luck wear: something old, something new, something barrowed and something blue.

Religious, Spiritual and Ghosts

Don't to whistle in the house (or barn) because it would call the devil.

My cousin used to tell me if you eat in the bathroom you invite the devil to dine on your soul.

When someone in the household dies, cover all the mirrors so that he/she won't come back to haunt you.

When you put the pillowcases on your pillows, the opening should never face a door - otherwise evil spirits will be able to slip into the pillowcase.

Hold your breath going past a cemetery or ghosts will follow you home.

Whistle past a cemetary.

Now I am not dure how one holds there breath and Whistles....best to avoid the cemetery after dark.

Speak of the Devil, and he will come.

Children and Pregnancy

Children

Don't have a cat around if you have a baby as it will snatch the baby's breath away.

If you let children eat bananas after 6pm, you run a risk of their having seizures.

This is False.

Pregnancy

If you have bad heart burn while pregnant you will have a hairy baby.

Don't vacuum or hang clothes on the line when your pregnant. (Someone probably didn't feel like doing it so they made this up)

If you're carrying SO low, you MUST be having a boy!

Don't eat honey when you are pregnant.

Don't clean the cat box while pregnant!

This is VERY ture and can be VERY dangerous!

Food

Honey last forever.

This is true!

If honey is store at a stable temperature out of the sun it will never go bad.

Honey stored in Egyptian tomes was still good after 4000 years.

Salt

Salt last forever and never spoils . This is true!

Salt is known as the chef's best friend, it can be used to enhance the flavor of almost any other kind of food.

Salt has been used for thousands of years as a food preservative.

If your salt gets wet, just let it dry out and it will be good as new.

Eggs

If an floats is bad. This is true!

If you want to make sure an egg is good, put it into a bowl of cold water. Cover the egg. If it stays on its side on the bottom, its fresh and good. If it stands up on the bottom, it's a little older, but still good. If it floats, toss it, it's bad.

Beans

When cooking beans never "clean the spoon" by banging/bumping it on the top of the pot or it would make your beans stick.

Milk

NEVER Drink Milk with Fish or You will be Sick by Morning! Some claim this is true.

Apples

Eating apples at night will constipate you.

Fish

Eat Mac & Cheese with fish or you'd get worms.

Never turn a whole fish over when you serve it at a meal, or the fisherman's boat will sink.

Peanut butter

The Heimlich maneuver will not work for someone choking on Peanut butter.

This is True!

Never eat peanut butter by it's self. Always eat it on something like bread or celery.

Never give a small child a spoon full of peanut butter to lick.

Gum

Don't swollow gum it takes 7 years to digest.

Not true.

Carrots

Eating carrots makes your eyesight better.

True! Good old Vitamin D.

Don't swim within one hour of eating.

This is not true.

Cures

Eat burnt toast for a sour stomach.

This is true.

Whiskey,lemon, and honey mixed together are supposed to be good for a cough.

Not sure if it's true, but if you take enough you won't care if you have a cough.

Gargle with warm, salty water for a sore throat.

It's true and works like a charm!

Drink buttermilk for irritable bowels.

Hot coffee will head off a migraine if you drink it at the very beginning of the headache.

This is true!

Luck! Good and Bad

Bad Luck

If a black cat crosses your path, turn around, go all the way back and start your destination over.

If a black cat crosses your path to put an x on your window.

Don't step on a crack, you'll break your mother's back.

Don't step in a hole, you'll break your mother's sugar bowl.

Spilling Salt:

If you spill salt you have to take some and throw it over your left shoulder to ward off bad luck.

Never buy pearls for yourself, it'll bring bad luck.

This is very true! Please send all your bad luck pearls to me. I well uhhh... dispose of them for you.

It's bad luck to wash on New Year's Day.

It's bad luck to wash your hair on your birthday.

Breaking a mirror.

If you break a mirror, throw salt over your left shoulder to avoid 7 years bad luck.

Never put shoes on a bed for ANY reason. It's very bad luck.

Never walk under a ladder.

Don't open an umbrella in the house.

Good Luck

If you give someone a wallet or purse, you have to put money in it (even one coin is Okay).

Find a penny, pick it up.

All day long you will have good luck!

The expression "break a leg" replaces the phrase "good luck," which is considered unlucky in the theatre.

Cross your fingers right before you want something to happen for good luck.

Finding a 4 leaf clover brings good luck

Lucky Charms

What is your idea of a Lucky Charm?

See results

Odds and ends

Your hair grows faster in the summer than in the winter. This is True.

If you look at someone cross-eyed and a wind blows, you'll stay like that. Not true but funny.

Don't wake up a sleepwalker or they will go mad (drop dead, freak out ect...) Not true. They might get mad at you but they won't die.

Every time you say something that could curse someone but you didn't mean it, you have to spit the badness away.

Never give a friend or loved one a knife as a present or it will "cut" your friendship.

Don't cross your eyes or they'll stick that way.

If you pull out a gray hair 10 more will grow back in it's place.

Don't put your new shoes on the table or they will forever hurt your feet.

Always wear clean underwear in case you're in an accident. Not sure undies would be clean after the accident, but it is good hygiene.

Itchy nose means you will kiss a fool or have a fight.

Ears ringing means someone is talking (thinking) about you.

Drop a butter knife and company's coming.

Don't joke about something going wrong, because it will.

Don't talk about something going right... you'll jinx it.

Never, ever mention having extra money while in the car. You're sure to need a repair within the week.

Oh, how true is this!

A stitch and time saves 9.

With 50 + lenses on Squidoo

Strange Happenings - Truth really is stranger then fiction

What is your favorite saying?

What did you think? Did you learn something new?

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    • rksmythe lm profile image

      rksmythe lm 9 years ago

      Great lens Lady G. I'm glad I was the first to rate it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Agreed, what a great topic for a lens Lady G! - Kathy

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 9 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      5 stars!! You have so many great lens. Will try to pay a visit to all of them. This is my favorite so far

    • DogWhisperWoman1 profile image

      DogWhisperWoman1 9 years ago

      5 stars. I bet the people who made these up were bored or had one bad time. Dog Whisper Woman

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I love it! ***** for you! I have always been fascinated by trivia and little sayings. I didn't see finding a 4 leaf clover and having good luck listed! :) Stop by Organize YHB sometime.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Some of those are so funny, great job!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Cute lens, enjoyed reading it!

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 9 years ago

      ~~*~~

      Crazy huh? Wow.. all the superstitions.

      5 STAR lens

      Fantasy Art|Artwork in a Butterfly Garden|Legend of Pegasus|Fantasy Poetry:

      https://hubpages.com/art/legendofpegasus

      Aloha, Kathy

      ~~*~~

    • eccles1 profile image

      eccles1 9 years ago

      WOW!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Have you ever heard of putting penny by a door or on a door frame to keep evil spirits away?

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      wondering what superstitions may relate to itchy armpits, my wife keeps getting this with no apparent reason for it.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 8 years ago from Royalton

      A Fairy Tale Wolf sniffed out your lens and liked it so well that he is sending you a virtual heart shaped waffle.

    • sisterra profile image

      sisterra 8 years ago

      Cool lens!

    • profile image

      Jahooblie 8 years ago

      Hi, your lens is cool...I have done Irish superstitions on my lens if you want to check it out at www.squidoo.com/irishtales. Once again, good job on the page, really enjoyed it!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      my bag of bone feels that this site has evil spirits behind it ...first of all cover all the mirrors in the room then turn off your computer and then turn it back on, read this page backwards, stand up, say "harvest moon, it is my desire that you throw these evil spirits in a fire" and sit back down. If you have been on this site more than once pet a black cat afterwards. This is for your own good.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      my bag of bone feels that this site has evil spirits behind it ...first of all cover all the mirrors in the room then turn off your computer and then turn it back on, read this page backwards, stand up, say "harvest moon, it is my desire that you throw these evil spirits in a fire" and sit back down. If you have been on this site more than once pet a black cat afterwards. This is for your own good.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      It is I... Crystal star. I post this message to warn you once again about the evil spirits. Please see my previous message for the reversal ritual. THIS IS NOT A JOKE. My beliefs are very important to me and my ball says to leave this site.

      Fare thee well!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      It is I... Crystal star. I post this message to warn you once again about the evil spirits. Please see my previous message for the reversal ritual. THIS IS NOT A JOKE. My beliefs are very important to me and my ball says to leave this site.

      Fare thee well!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      hello

      this page is very handy. ecspically with my english homework about old wives tales.

      i would just like to say a big hello to my english class at warden park if anyone reads this!!!

      Daniel Mays

    • profile image

      Johannes_Theologus 8 years ago

      Nice list. The idea about not swimming after eating does have just a little bit of truth to it. If you're going to be doing really athletic swimming, like a race, you might get a stitch in your stomach, just like you can if you go running right after eating. That wouldn't be very nice if you were out in the middle of a lake.

    • familychristian profile image

      familychristian 8 years ago

      Great lens. 5 star rating all the way. I found you when you signed my guest book on one of my lens. Thank you. Sandy & Gary Family Christian Media

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      omg my friend is really hairy i asked her mum and she said she had really bad heart burn with her

    • monarch13 profile image

      monarch13 8 years ago

      Love this, I did a similar lens as well.. 5 stars!

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      This great lens is being featured at the Showcase today!

    • profile image

      marsha32 8 years ago

      I love reading over superstitions...and it looks like I need to drop a lot of forks on the floor! LOL

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      Great lens - fellow squidangel :)

    • purplelady profile image

      purplelady 7 years ago

      Very thorough lens on a very interesting topic. I have added this lens as a featured lens on my new Old Wives Tales lens. 5 Tales and a bird with a roll of the lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      A whistling girl and a crowing hen; will always come to some bad end....or so my mother would tell me whenever I whistled.

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 6 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      "Gum: Don't swollow gum it takes 7 years to digest.

      Not true." haha I knew it, but my friend's mother used to scare us with this so we don't eat gum!

    • profile image

      Tarra99 6 years ago

      Wow...and I thought I was superstitious...there are a lot of ones here I hadn't heard of.

    • michelleart profile image

      Michelle Collins 6 years ago from Florida

      I thought I heard them all. Guess not! There are quite a few on here I had not heard!

      My wedding day: (Clock hands going up) I got married at 11:00 because I was told it was bad luck to marry when the hands were going down on the clock. I'm still married 16 years in October. Maybe it true. Ha Ha..

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 6 years ago

      Oh, I like this lens! Great superstitions. I am lensrolling over to my Symbolism of Thirteen lens!! Thank you so much for blessing my Creepy Halloween Lens.. it is greatly appreciated!

    • Draconius LM profile image

      Draconius LM 6 years ago

      Great superstition lens am rolling it to my phobias and fears lens. A Blessing left behind as well

    • profile image

      Joan4 6 years ago

      Oh I have heard most of these all my life -- and as you noted, some of them are true!

    • Richard-H profile image

      Richard 6 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      A lot of these sayings and superstitions are very familiar. It's amazing how they travel continents too...Don't wash my hair on my birthday? Now that is a new one to me :)

    • KarenHC profile image

      Karen 6 years ago from U.S.

      Very interesting reading! Some I've heard of course -- some I knew were true (or false). I didn't know that honey could stay good for a long, long time. I had never heard the saying about bananas causing seizures in children if eaten after 6pm. I wonder how that saying ever got started.

    • jgelien profile image

      jgelien 6 years ago

      There are definitely some here that are new to me. One my brother always told me was true (and maintains that to this day) is, if you sneeze with your eyes open, your eyeballs will pop out. He says that's why your eyes automatically close when you sneeze. I keep meaning to prove him wrong, but I close my eyes every time.

    • Twmarsh profile image

      Twmarsh 6 years ago

      I do have a rabbit's foot keychain. I haven't had a speeding ticket in a while so I guess it must be working?

    • sheriangell profile image

      sheriangell 6 years ago

      If you put your purse on the floor your money will leave you.

      BTW, I've repeatedly dropped a fork on the floor....no money is showing up.....;)

      Blessed today and featured on Pay It Forward.

    • profile image

      WriterBuzz 6 years ago

      Nice idea for a lens. Very informative. Gave you a quick thumbs up.

    • profile image

      kt_glasses 6 years ago

      Interesting! Love your lens!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 6 years ago

      I love me lucky charms!

    • turner-bob profile image

      turner-bob 6 years ago

      "good luck" with this lens

    • stuhaynes lm profile image

      stuhaynes lm 6 years ago

      Cool lens, with many I hadn't heard.

    • ILoveLegosToo profile image

      Tom Fattes 6 years ago from Naperville, IL

      Lots of good ones here.

    • profile image

      RocklawnArts 6 years ago

      I like your food myth section.

    • natashaely profile image

      natashaely 6 years ago

      I like the black cat superstition, I owned a black cat before and would have constantly been walking in circles lol! Great lens, really interesting things on here! Will be back to see updates! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      There were a lot that I had not heard before, and some of them just defy rational thought....lol.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      We know that some of these are superstitions still we are afraid and unknowingly pay heed to them, in the process becoming superstitious ourselves.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      We know that some of these are superstitions still we are afraid and unknowingly pay heed to them, in the process becoming superstitious ourselves.

    • lilymom24 profile image

      lilymom24 6 years ago

      I heard the one about sitting too close to the tv all. the. time. when I was a child. Nice lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Well, curiously some of the predictions you have mentioned have come true. Call it coincidence or superstition but it has happened.

    • profile image

      predictingbabygender 5 years ago

      the old wives tales for pregnancy never worked for me

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 5 years ago

      After finally catching up with the Angel School Bus, I am fluttering around Legends & Folklore-ville to drop off some Blessings. Just wanted you to know I am here because your page caught my attention. Leaving you with a *Blessing* for doing such a great job on this page.

    • bechand profile image

      bechand 5 years ago

      I never thought of the peanut butter choking thing ... I would think if you just tried to eat something it would wash it down .... interesting

      lots of interesting things here ...

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I did learn something and had fun doing it. gave your lens a 'thumbs up' for how you laid this out.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @bechand: i gave my son peanut butter on a spoon so many times... imagine my horror when i read now you musnt...

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @bechand: i gave my son peanut butter on a spoon so many times... imagine my horror when i read now you musnt...

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      What a fun lens.

    • flipflop4161 profile image

      flipflop4161 5 years ago

      I loved that lens!!! IM so liking it!!!! My favourite saying has to be to not walk under a ladder.

    • joannalynn lm profile image

      joannalynn lm 5 years ago

      The reason it doesn't take seven years to digest gum is because we don't digest it :). Fun lens. I've heard a lot of these throughout my life, but many are new. I am surely not pulling out any gray hairs I find.....

    • SunnyDaze LM profile image

      SunnyDaze LM 5 years ago

      Great collection of superstitions here. Blessed by a Squid Angel on oooohhhh...Friday the 13th!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Red sky at night/morning was true, it related to moisture in the atmosphere. These days it's not so reliable as the setting/rising sun can often be filtered to the red end of the spectrum by concentrations of pollutants in the atmosphere.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      First off obviously you don't know your facts as well as you think because I am a swimmer and you cannot swim after eating you get horrible stomach cramps has happened to me on several occasions Now I do not eat before meets.

    • piarejuden profile image

      piarejuden 4 years ago

      Hope the "drop a fork you get money your way" is true coz I just dropped one! ;)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      For good luck throughout the year eat sauerkraut and pork neck bones at midnight New Years Day.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      wow i liked them all

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      wow i liked them all

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      TODAY JULY 19TH MY MUM'S B -DAY LUVU AND HAVE A GOOD BIRTHDAY MUM

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      When your left palm itches you will get money. Happened today.

    • profile image

      jondar 4 years ago

      I have herd many of them. Some I have not. Cool lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      how to tell if an egg is bad or not great tip Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      WASTE NOT WANT NOT ...AND...HASTE MAKES WASTE!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I am trying to find out about a saying that my mother told me several times I just can't remember the ending. "if it thunders in Oct. something will happen in the winter". either it will be a mild winter or a terrible winter or lots of snow or no snow. I wish I could remember what she said or someone could tell me the rest of this

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      breadcrusts make your hair go curly

    • blessit3 profile image

      blessit3 4 years ago

      If you play with fire, you'll wet the bed! Love these! My granny said most of these and she believed them!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Do what you Have to do so you can do what you want to do

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      What about if the broom falls over for no reason company is coming? mom always told me that 1

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 4 years ago from Ljubljana

      It is very interesting to investigate the background of some superstitions. I will always remember how a match factory started the one about lighting up more than two cigarettes with one match. This supposed to cause death of sailors, but the truth was it was bad for company's profits. On the other way too much light with too many people around really could cause danger in some situations (in war for instance), so there is always some initial truth behind and probably somebody who wants to make some kind of profit too. Thanks for some new ones:)

    • profile image

      kulla 4 years ago

      highly interesting lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      If you sweep your feet with a broom you will go to jail. You have to spit on it to not go to jail

    • steadytracker lm profile image

      steadytracker lm 3 years ago

      This lens brings back so many memories. I remember the saying, "step on a crack and you'll break your mother's back" from my days in elementary school. Thank you for sharing this lens with us.

    • profile image

      Chrysanthemum esther angelo 2 years ago

      When your nose itches it means that someone is kissing your photo.

      True

    • profile image

      Dale 15 months ago

      what is the meaning if you find dried beans in odd places ie, kidney beans

    • profile image

      Vanessa 10 months ago

      What's the old saying about seeing frogs?

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