We’ve all heard the famous “Old Wive’s Tales.” Advice and superstition like “It’s bad luck to walk under a ladder” or “If you cross your eyes, they will stay that way” or “Tickling a baby’s feet will make them stutter” or “To cure a cough, take a hair from the coughing person’s head, put it between two slices of bread, then feed it to a dog, saying, ‘Eat well, you hound — may you be sick and I be sound.’”
OK, so maybe only some of us with crazy old wives in our family have heard that one.
Recently, I did some research on old wive’s tales, and found some rather bizarre superstitions. What struck me most about old wive’s tales are that old wives are obsessed with death, getting married and visitors coming to see them — just like new wives are.
Below is a listing of actual old wive’s tales (while I can’t vouch for their veracity, I do suggest you try each for yourself). In some cases, I have added my own sarcastic comments in parentheses for your — no, let’s be honest, my — enjoyment.
• A bird in the house is a sign of death.
• An acorn on a window sill keeps lightning away.
• Seeing an ambulance is very unlucky, unless you pinch your nose or hold your breath until you see a black or brown dog.
• Spit on a new bat before using it for the first time to make it lucky.
• It’s bad luck to put a hat on a bed.
• Placing a bed facing north and south brings misfortune.
• If a bee enters your home, it’s a sign that you will soon have a visitor. If you kill the bee, the visitor will be unpleasant. A swarm of bees settling on a roof is an omen that the house will burn down.
• If you use the same pencil to take a test that you used for studying for the test, the pencil will remember the answers.
(My rebuttal: This is absolutely not true. I know because I tried…