My Mother was Superstitious ~ Tales from the Dark Side

For the last 3 weeks of the month of October, I have written blogs about my mother’s superstitious nature. Some of the Superstitions were passed down from previous generations, some; my mom developed on her own and some…well, who knows where they came from?

Living with my mom and her “fears” was not always easy. However, it was almost always entertaining. I can look back now and laugh at so many things she did because of them. Being raised by a very superstitious person I too developed some of my own. I used to knock on wood, throw salt over my shoulder, stamp a white horse, and not tell a Friday Nights’ dream on a Saturday. If you’re not sure what I am talking about and you haven’t read the previous “Superstitious” blogs you may get a laugh or two from them.

I do feel bad that my mom allowed herself to be controlled by these beliefs. When I was 12 years old, she had a mental breakdown. Everyone tried to get my Dad to have her committed, but he couldn’t bring himself to do that. So her care was left up to me and my 16-year-old sister. My Dad swore this happened because she was so Superstitious that even life scared her. She spent the next 30 years confined to the home, never leaving except when we moved. She missed weddings and births and funerals, she missed out on life. She passed away at the age of 80 a sad, frightened woman.

When I was 19 I became a Christian and I decided that I should not let my life be controlled by Superstitions the way my mom did. I have worked all these years to not have any, but every once in a while I will still reach over and knock on wood after I say something or I hesitate to say “thank you” when someone gives me a plant. I am amazed at how ingrained these can become in our lives.

I have enjoyed all of the stories and Superstitions that some of you have shared with me. Each culture has its beliefs and Superstitions. For example, my daughter-in-law is a gypsy. Whenever someone is sick in the house she has my son remove all of the canned goods from the kitchen and place them outside. When I asked her why she does this she said that having too many cans in the house brings on illness. She said this was a gypsy belief.

One of the goals of a Genealogist or Family Historian is to make our Ancestors as well-rounded as possible. After all, they were people like us with likes and dislikes, beliefs, jobs, homes, etc. When we write their stories we should include as much about them as we can discover and that includes their Superstitions!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, 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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