My Mother was Superstitious –A Month of Tales from the Dark Side

SUPERSTITION 1Growing up our lives revolved around superstitions. My Mother had one for every occasion or event, everything from the fear of Friday the 13th to dropping a knife on the floor.  I know that my Mother wasn’t the only person to hold to these superstitions but to this date I have never met another person who believed as many or as strongly as she did.

I thought I would spend this month leading up to Halloween telling stories of things that happened in not only my childhood but in the lives of my Ancestors that helped form most of my Mothers superstition beliefs or were a result of her beliefs.  I will post a blog every Friday and Tuesday and I hope you will enjoy them and even get a laugh or two out of them.

Superstition #1:  If you scare a pregnant woman they will have a child with a mark on it. 

Baby with a birthmark
Baby with a birthmark


When I was 5 years old my Brother Gordon came home on leave and he brought his wife and 2 children with him.  Lily was born and raised in France. She had met Gordon while he was stationed there and it didn’t take long before they were married. When they showed up at the door we were all so surprised and thrilled to learn that there would be another child added to their family. It was odd for me to have a niece and a nephew that were only a couple of years younger than I.


Lily was a fun person to be around. She had learned to speak English pretty well , although she still had a little trouble making us understand some things she said. One day Lily and I were out in the yard walking around and she was looking very nervous. I asked her what was wrong and she said “I like spiders and I am looking for one.” I thought she was nuts! I hate spiders; they are probably the only creepy crawler that scares me.  The next day my Brother took me with him to the store and he gave me some money to spend. I bought a rubber spider. When I got home I put it in a box and wrapped it up really nice. I was so excited; I ran to the dinner table and gave it to Lily. She was so touched that I thought of her she eagerly tore the wrapping off and opened the box. The next thing I knew chaos broke out. Lily threw the box against the wall and was screaming hysterically! My Brother was trying to calm her down, my Dad grabbed the box and tossed it outside, my Sister was laughing, the two kids were crying and my Mother fainted.

Michael and Baby Earl
Michael and Baby Earl

When everything calmed down my Mother asked me “How could you do such a horrible thing to Lily?” I told her what she had told me the day before and then Lily started laughing. She realized she had said that she liked spiders instead of disliked them. Everyone was fine with it except my Mother. I got in a lot of trouble for it and almost every day until my Nephew Earl was born I had to hear my Mother tell me that the poor little baby was now going to have a spider shaped birthmark on it and that it will be all my fault. After Earl was born Gordon called to tell us he was fine, no birthmarks of any kind. My Mother never believed them; she thought they were just saying that to make me feel better.

Soon after their last son was born, Gordon and Lily divorced. She and the children stayed in France and Gordon was transferred to the Philippines. I never got to see Lily or the kids again.

Along with this Superstition my Mother had all the regular ones too. You know like:

broken mirror 2Breaking a mirror brings 7 years of bad luck

A black cat crossing your path brings bad luckBlack cat crossing your path

knocking on woodKnocking on wood after you say something and you don’t want it to get jinxed.

spilled salt

Throwing salt over our shoulders was a common occurrence at the dinner table. To say the least things were never dull in the Hughes household!

Do you or anyone in your family have a Superstition? I would love to hear about them.

Come back on Tuesday for the next round of My Mothers Superstitions  – Tales from the Dark Side.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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