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

Shackles of superstitionsFor the entire 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 8 blogs you may get a laugh or two from them.                             Mom 1966

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 become in our lives.

crossed fingersI have enjoyed all of the stories and Superstitions that some of you have shared with me. Each culture has their 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 Genealogist or Family Historians 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, 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.



Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Genealogy, Halloween, Superstitions

16 responses to “Finale: My Mother was Superstitious – A Month of Tales from the Dark Side

  1. Such funny stories with a very sad ending. By reading your blog the last few days I have learned so many new way to be supersites.

  2. I’ve really been enjoying your stories, how sad to hear about your mother’s ill health.

    • Thank you for reading the blogs. I appreciate it. My Mom passed away in 1999 just a month after turning 80. It is sad because she missed out on so much in her life. My wedding, her grandkids being born, even my Dad’s funeral.

      One thing I learned from it all was to have patience with those who have a mental illness.


  3. Enjoyed reading about the superstitions, some I’m familiar with, others not so much, especially the one about the cans.. Love your blog.

  4. I thought your mother’s superstitions were cute until this post. So sorry to hear about your mother’s illness. I can’t imagine the effects it had on you and your family. My heart goes out to you. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt story. I do agree that we should not allow our fear to cripple us. I enjoy reading your posts.

  5. Jane ( Limeade Gal)

    Thanks for sharing:)
    I still knock on wood & throw salt over my shoulder! Something my mother has passed down, obviously through her mother. My maternal side of the family is Welsh, so they have a lot of superstitions.
    Sorry to hear of your Mom’ s situation. How kind you and your sister were to take care of her.

    Have a beautiful day 🙂

  6. I think everyone comes across superstitions or has some of their own – I don’t consider myself superstitious but I still knock on wood without even thinking about it. They are fascinating, but it must be so hard to live with someone who is governed by their superstitions.

  7. Valerie, I have enjoyed your series on your mother’s superstitions. I realize with this post, this series could not have always been easy for you to share. Thank you for sharing.

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