© Icy Sedgwick; Père Lachaise Cemetery But earlier eras had a different relationship with death, particularly before the growth of secular beliefs within company. many superstitions exist around graveyards and burying. Who hasn ’ thyroxine heard the saying “ Someone walked over my grave ” if they ’ ve randomly shivered for no reason ?
I ’ ve talked about deadly folklore before – I pointed out in my post about cadaver roads that the body should leave the home feet-first. Ideally, mourners should take the body on a meandering route. That stops the spirit finding its manner back to their home to haunt the live. Some believe that carrying the cadaver in your own car is bad luck. Though undertakers could have put that about to preserve their business .
But a solid host of cemetery superstitions governed how you should move around a cemetery, or how the dangerous diggers should behave. What cemetery superstitions should you be mindful of ? Hit play to listen to the podcast sequence or keep read !
The graves should be the right way around…
One of the biggest belief concerns the predilection of the graves themselves. After all, most graves lie east to west. The torso should have its steer to the west and its feet to the east. That way the body faces the rising sun, and the final judgment in the east .
Ruth Richardson notes that burying people with their feet facing the sun actually pre-dates Christianity, and old churchyards preserve this customs ( 2000 : 6 ) .
Richardson besides points out that the tradition seems to disappear with the massive 19th-century urban cemeteries. They “ were planned on picturesque, utilitarian and socially stratify lines ” and tradition counted for little ( 2000 : 6 ). That could explain why the graves in Jesmond Old Cemetery run north to south. It didn ’ thyroxine stop the great and the good of victorian Newcastle clamor for graves there .
© Icy Sedgwick; Jesmond Old Cemetery By line, in 2012, residents in the Welsh town of Aberystwyth lodged complaints that some of the graves in the Cefn Llan cemetery ran north to south ( BBC ). The council defended the decision based on the topography of the site. Their solution was to allow local people to request burial in a section that still ran east to west .
It seems leftover to see cemetery superstitions in full rock in late times .
But an anglo-saxon burying ground ( as opposed to a cemetery ) in East Sussex has portions that run north to south, and other graves running at other orientations. It dates between the mid-fifth and mid-sixth centuries AD so the east-west predilection appears to have a christian origin .
Open graves are themselves ill omens
Graves shouldn ’ triiodothyronine be left open overnight or they would herald another death. This one is a bite gluey for me, because it doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate specify an open but as-yet-unoccupied scratch, or one containing a coffin. If it ’ s the early, then I ’ thousand guessing the second death could be whoever fell into an empty hole. If it ’ s the latter, then diggers should close the grave to deter grave robbers .
Corpses shouldn ’ thymine be buried with their jewelry, or bad luck would befall the class. It ’ s more likely that jewelry wasn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate buried, again to deter dangerous robbers !
As with a lot of things, creating cemetery superstitions is the best way to maintain cautionary practices .
It ’ s not the alone superstition around graves themselves. Some believe that gravediggers should leave their gravedigging tools at the locate for a day or more. Moving them besides soon is a bad luck omen. personally, I think that dates to periods of epidemics. Having to move the tools cursorily implies the indigence for several burials on one day, and the only reason I can think of that is during something like a cholera outbreak .
The mourners needed to be careful too
Leaving the side of a grave before the gravedigger lowers the coffin means another death will follow. Rain besides plays a part and I ’ ve listen two cemetery superstitions around rain and exposed graves .
One saying states that badly luck will befall the asleep ’ s kin if rain falls in an open dangerous .
The early believes the asleep will go to hell, and a relative will die within a year. It gets even more confuse when you consider the saying “ Blessed are the abruptly that rain falls on ”. It ’ second besides considered good luck if rain falls on the cadaver during its journey from the house to the cemetery .
© Icy Sedgwick; Kensal Green Cemetery possibly the superstitions surrounding rain date to a particularly wet area ; if an epidemic followed a showery spell, it would be easily to link the badly weather with the follow deaths, and so a superstition was born .
Some of these superstitions are unmanageable to date. But one thing is coarse ; many of them predict deaths to follow. The mortality pace was not the same as it is now. According to the Office for National Statistics, the life anticipation at birth for boys in 1841 was just 40, although the average age at end was closer to 45. For girls, the life anticipation at birth was 43, although the median old age was 48. Compare that to 1981, when the average age had risen to 73 for men, and 80 for women .
Avoid being buried first or last in a cemetery
many considered it extremely bad luck to be the beginning burial in a cemetery. I ’ five hundred think it would be bad luck for the individual to need to be buried at all, but that ’ s how the superstition ran. I ’ thousand going to assume they meant it was regretful luck for the class. so post new cemeteries would frequently bury an animal, or a aimless, as the first burial rather. This was the case even in Jesmond Old Cemetery, which opened in 1834 .
I did hear a touch fib that the spirit of the first burial remains to guard the cemetery. possibly that ’ s why it was considered unlucky. The other burials could pass into the following life, but you ’ vitamin d be stuck hanging around watching goths drink crimson wine and read Poe among the headstones .
That could explain why it was considered bad luck to visit a cemetery at night. You ’ d either encounter the defender spirit – or the local youth contingent .
That said, I ’ ve besides heard it that it ’ s the spirit of the last burial who has to remain to watch over the others. I don ’ t quite believe that one. No one would know how long a cemetery would be open until the authorities considered it closed .
Moving around a cemetery has its own problems
Yet it was besides considered bad luck to be the beginning mourner to leave the cemetery. Apparently it could even invite death. A related superstition claimed that if a woman left the cemetery first, a woman would be the next to die. If a man left first, a man would die adjacent. naturally, people needed to leave the cemetery finally, so possibly families took servants along to leave the cemetery before the mourners did.
Read more : Bra sizes balloon: Blame obesity!
© Icy Sedgwick; Brompton Cemetery I ’ ve long remembered that you should hold your breath while passing a cemetery unless you want to inhale the liveliness of the recently departed. alternatively, you can tuck your thumbs into your fists if you pass a cemetery, in decree to protect your parents .
The most celebrated of the cemetery superstitions is that it ’ s considered bad fortune to step over a scratch. I know I always apologise if I need to step over a grave, and I have no idea why I do that. I ’ ve besides heard it said that he who walks over a grave will soon die .
That said, many cemeteries used the areas that are now under footpaths as the locate of their overlooked graves for the hapless, so plenty of people will have walked over them ! Graves could collapse once the coffins decayed. Since families buried the poor in shroud, collapses caused less refer. The superstition possibly results from that .
© Icy Sedgwick; Highgate Cemetery Doctors advised fraught women not to walk on graves, or their children would be born with clubhouse feet. In earlier times, with hapless medical advice, it would be easier to blame something the womanhood did than try to understand a disabled child .
even pointing at a grave could bring bad luck. Given the proliferation of photos of graveyards, that means a bunch of people have been willingly courting bad luck !
© Icy Sedgwick; Abney Park Cemetery According to one web site, collecting epitaph means the collector will lose their memory .
That would explain a lot in my case…
Have you heard any of these cemetery superstitions? Let me know in the comments!
BBC ( 2012 ), ‘ Bodies buried ‘ wrong way ’ at Aberystwyth cemetery ’, BBC, available here .
Office for National Statistics ( 2012 ), ‘ Mortality in England and Wales : average Life Span, 2010 ’, Office for National Statistics, available here .
Richardson, Ruth ( 2000 ), Death, Dissection and the barren : The Politics of the Corpse in Pre-Victorian Britain, Chicago : University of Chicago Press .
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