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Old Wives Tales - Just Plain Fun Or Is There Some Truth To Them?

Updated on April 20, 2013
Cross your eyes, and they'll STAY that way!
Cross your eyes, and they'll STAY that way!
Don't touch a toad or you'll get warts.
Don't touch a toad or you'll get warts.
A watched pot never boils.
A watched pot never boils.
Learn something new on a Friday and you'll get another wrinkle!
Learn something new on a Friday and you'll get another wrinkle!
Cute ladybug!
Cute ladybug!
An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Carrots are good for your eyes!
Carrots are good for your eyes!

Most of them are just tales, but some might have some truth to them...

We've all heard them growing up from friends and family and of course from MOM. I have actually USED this one on my boys... "don't crack your knuckles or you'll get arthritis". Not true, but I guess it really is NOT good to crack your knuckles - when you do, you are slightly displacing the joints and moving the fluid in the joint, making "bubbles" causing the sound you hear.

So, CUT IT OUT! Quit cracking those knuckles! Listen to your mother, she didn't get to this age by being a dummy!!

There are so many old wives tales that are just plain fun to tell with no truth at all to them.

If your ears are burning (or itching), or if your face feels hot, someone is talking about you!

Cross your eyes, they'll stay that way!

Touching a toad will give you warts - (not true, warts are caused by viruses just like colds).

A watched pot never boils (not true, it just seems that way). A lot of "old wives tales" are centered around the kitchen... maybe because that's where they ("old wives") spend a lot of their time!

Go outside with wet hair, you'll catch a cold! Not true, viruses cause colds, not going outdoors.

If your right hand itches, money will come to you, if your left hand itches, you'll be paying money to someone. C'mon right hand, start itching while I'm walking through a casino here in Vegas! Mama needs a new pair of shoes!

Break a mirror you will have seven years bad luck, put the broken pieces under a running stream to counteract the bad luck (see? didn't you learn something new today?)

Speaking of learning something new... never learn something NEW on a Friday or you will get another wrinkle! I used that one often at work just to avoid learning something new on a Friday. It didn't always work, but the ladies I worked with got a kick out of it!

Another one about mirrors... cover up a mirror during a rainstorm to prevent lightning from striking your home (not true, but there are people to this day who still do it!)

It's bad luck to kill a ladybug.. not true, but they're so pretty why would you kill them anyway?

The five second rule... pick up a piece of food before it has been on the floor for five seconds, and it is still OK to eat it. NOT true!! Bacteria is on most floors all the time, you take a risk by picking it up and eating it if it falls to the floor, regardless of how long it has been on the floor!

Some old wives tales center around the subject of death. I had heard that when you drive by a cemetery, you should hold your breath to avoid breathing in the spirit of someone who is recently deceased.

And another one is," bury a woman in black, she will come back to haunt you" - I've threatened to come back and haunt our boys a few times! **winking**

Eating hot chicken soup can cure a cold ~ While it doesn't actually cure a cold, hot chicken soup really is incredibly good for your health when you're sick. There is an amino acid called cysteine in it that helps with some of the cold symptoms like congestion.

Oh and another fact, the same amino acid, cysteine, is also related to the ingredient in an antibiotic called acetylcysteine that is sometimes prescribed for congestion. SO, EAT your chicken soup next time you have a cold or flu, you just might feel better! See? Sometimes Mom really DOES know her stuff!

Now, some of the health related "old wives tales" might not be totally true, but there is some truth to them, and they sure don't hurt. We've all heard "an apple a day keeps a doctor away." Apples really ARE good for you, and have some cancer fighting properties (a positive affect on good cells), so why not eat your apples?

And the one about carrots being good for your eyes as well. There is actually SOME truth to these, so, remember to listen to your Mother, eat your apples and carrots (but not if they fall on the floor), and quit cracking those knuckles!

You'll not only make MOM happier, but you'll do yourself some good as well!


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    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      OH NO! I'm so sorry 'bout that wrinkle, Mary! Shoot, you can just name it "Kathy"! ;) I used to tell one of my best friends at work that every wrinkle she gave me on Fridays was going to have HER name on it!

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, I appreciate it! :)

    • Mary Merriment profile image

      Mary Merriment 5 years ago from Boise area, Idaho

      Recently I read a book with all kinds of wives-tales in them. So many of them were so funny and bizarre. I couldn't help wondering why anyone would believe them in the first place. But they are so much fun to learn about. Oh...wait, today is Friday; I think I feel a wrinkle coming on after reading this hub. ;o)

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Thanks so much, Earthy Mother! I'm so glad this is relate-able even to those from outside of the US! :) Thank you so much for reading and commenting, I appreciate it! :)

    • Earthy Mother profile image

      Earthy Mother 5 years ago from South East England

      This is funny and am familiar with most of them, despite living here in the UK! They are great and enjoyed reading this hub!

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      I hadn't heard that one, thatchjl, very interesting! I did hear one about covering a clock after stopping it in the room where a person has passed away and always thought that was interesting. Thanks so much for reading and commenting! :) Much appreciated!

    • thatchjl profile image

      thatchjl 5 years ago from Dayton, Ohio

      Remember the one about an empty chair rocking....means someone is going to die.....aarrgghh. It is fun to read these and think about all the others we know about and maybe even believe.

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Thanks so much EuroNinila! I'm glad people with all different backgrounds can relate to these! Thanks so much for visiting and commenting! :) Glad you liked this!

    • EuroNinila profile image

      Fotinoula Gypsyy 5 years ago from NYC BABY

      Yes, I grew up hearing most of these too. Plus I come from a Greek-American family so there were a lot more. Funny, I still use some and don't even realize, LOL.

      Voted up and more :)

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 6 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Thanks, Eiddwen! :) It was a lot of fun writing this one!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      Hi thanks for sharing this great hub which I vote up/interesting and here's to many more to share.

      Take care


    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 6 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Hi Marellen! I grew up hearing most of these, too... to this day it is hard to step on a crack on a sidewalk, and I still get a funny feeling something bad might happen on Friday the 13th! :) It was fun writing this one! Glad to share it!

    • profile image

      marellen 6 years ago

      Hi Kathy.....this hub is so true and fun too. My Mom is part Irish and somewhat superstitious, so we grew up hearing all sorts of crazy things but as kids we did believe some. Thanks for sharing this fun hub.


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