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luck, weather predictions, animals, superstitions, folk beliefs, Christmas, mirrors
A handwritten letter from Elsie M. Smith addressed to Alfred L. Shoemaker, dating from circa 1950. Within, Smith provides Shoemaker with a list of weather prediction beliefs and other superstitions involving animals and luck.
Elsie M. Smith
Alfred L. Shoemaker
To Dr Shoemaker:
Here are some beliefs of the Pa. Dutch.
Signs of bad weather birds and animals hole up. They seem to have a sixth sense and can foretell. Lots can be learned by watching them.
Smoke from chimney rising straight up. Fair weather.
Smoke from chimney falling towards ground. Heavy air and rain.
Morning red, sign of rain.
Evening red, sign of another nice day.
Ring around moon. Sign of rain.
Wild geese going south. Sign of cold weather and winter coming.
Wild geese going north. Sign of warm weather and spring.
East wind brings rain.
West and north wind, clearing.
South wind, mild and warm weather.
Frost out of ground between Xmas and New Years, ground will open every month all winter.
Fur on animals: if heavy sign of cold winter.
Fur on animals: if light sign of mild winter.
If no wind and one wants to test which way air moves, wet finger and hold it up. The side drying first shows that is the way the air moves.
If it clears up at night. Fair weather will only last a day or so.
If it clears up in day time you will have nice weather for a couple of days.
If wind turns up under side of leaves sign of rain.
Most things go by threes if one has 2 accidents, expect a 3rd one.
If a cat washes herself, expect visitors.
If a rooster crows towards doorway, expect visitors.
If a knife falls on floor, expect a man, coming from direction of point of knife.
If a fork falls on floor, expect a woman.
If a spoon, expect a clown
If a dish rag falls on floor expect a slop. If none comes you are it.
If a wishbone is placed above door way. The first one coming in will become your husband, or wife, if a boy places it above door way.
If a wishbone is held by 2 people and broken. The one holding the short end will die first. The long end the person will get his or her wish.
Lots of toads around sign there are no snakes.
Lots of snakes around sign there are no toads.
Cricket in house sign of luck.
Bragging how lucky you are you had better knock on wood or else your luck will leave you.
In wearing shoes. If shoe sole wears out in center of sole you will become rich some day.
Iron a mans shirt on back he will always stay poor.
If hem of your dress is turned up shows a widower is following you.
If your nose itches sign of a kiss.
If center of hand itches you will receive money.
If you break a mirror, 7 years of bad luck.
If you fall upstairs, no man for 7 years.
If a girls room is full of spider webs she will have no husband.
If 2 people look in a mirror at the same time, sign of bad luck.
If someone is buried on a cemetery between Xmas and New Years. That cemetery will be open all year and a lot of people will be buried on it the following year.
Guess this is all for now, hope there are some beliefs in that are new to you.
Elsie M. Smith
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Smith, Elsie M., "Undated Letter From Elsie M. Smith to Alfred L. Shoemaker" (1950). Alfred L. Shoemaker Folk Cultural Documents. 140.
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