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Southern Halloween Superstitions

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Southern Halloween Superstitions

Amanda Herman

For Halloween, we here at The Serpents of Bienville decided to bring you guys some of the Halloween superstitions that we have heard from down here in the Southern Alabama Gulf Coast region.  We decided to put them together in a collection in this blog today, just incase you missed them on Halloween, hope you guys enjoy!

Halloween sightings of bats are actually a sign that ghosts are present. If a bat happens to get in your house on this night, superstition says it's a ghost that opened a window and let it in. If the bat proceeds to circle one room three times, a death omen has been placed on your head.

 

 

A woman put to rest wearing all black is known to return to haunt her family. On Halloween, seeing a spider means that you are actually seeing a family member that has returned to check in on you, no matter what color garment the person was buried in.

 

 

Superstitious Southern Homeowners are told by lore to walk backwards and counterclockwise around their home before the sun sets on All Hallows' Eve, to ward off evil spirits, keeping their possessions and poltergeists at bay until the next Halloween comes around.

 

 

Halloween, being the night that spirits roam free and wreak havoc, searching for souls to take back with them beyond this world, made people fearful for the safety of their own soul. To keep these evil spirits from recognizing people as having their souls intact, they would wear masks, disguising themselves as soulless creatures unworthy of their time.

 

 

Halloween Superstition warns us not to turn around to the sound of footsteps, it may be the dead following you. But if you keep bread in your pocket as an offering to the restless souls, they may let you keep your soul.

 

 

Southern superstition warns that in passing a cemetery around All Hallows' Eve, a wandering spirit could take it as an invitation to hitch a ride and follow you home. To prevent this, be sure to turn your pockets out so the ghost has nowhere to hide.

 

 

The jack-o-lantern is said by the Celts to be the representation of a man who tricked the devil, but the heavens didn't want him, so his soul was cursed to wander the world for all eternity. The only possession he carried was a lantern passed to him from hell. The first Jack-o-lantern was carved from a turnip. They are meant to line the streets and guide lost souls on their journey on All Hallows' eve.

 

If a polite southerner has company in their home and doesn't care for them to return, superstition says black pepper should be sprinkled on the floor as they leave, and swept out the door behind them. 

 

 

The superstition on mirrors being covered in a person's house after they die is so that their soul can have safe passage out of the house without getting trapped behind its own reflection. Old southerners believe this is the soul reason why the devil invented mirrors. A man accidentally trapped a savage soul in a mirror toiling in a cemetery.

 

 

Alabama superstition holds that if you pull a hair from a horse's tail, place it in a jar and cover it in urine. The hair will transform into a snake come morning.

 

 

Spanish Moss is fabled to be the gnarly hair of the meanest man that ever lived. The devil came for him one morning, but he bargained for more time by vowing to spread more of his nastiness. He asked the devil to warn him before he came back to claim his soul in eternity, but the evil man grew deaf and blind. The devil could never get his attention, so the man went on living. He wandered the streets, never feeling nourishment, for the fruits withered in his presence and water ran black from his hatred. The only thing that grew was the man's hair. It grew so long and knotted the tangles snagged on limbs he passed. One day the frail man could hold form no longer, and fell to dust. All that was left behind were the knots of moss that marked his dark path.