USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘beds’
Folk Beliefs
Magic

Hats on a Bed…Bad Luck

The Folklore:

E: What peculiar superstitions do you follow?

L: I never put a hat on a bed.

E: Why is that?

L: It’s believed that if someone puts their hat on their bed they are too ill or injured to set it down where it needs to be.

E: What happens if you do set a hat on a bed?

L: You get all sorts of bad luck.

E: Is it all headwear or just hats?

L: Glasses are fine. But I stray from putting beanies or anything else of the sort.

E: Where did you hear this from?

L: I heard it from my father when I was a little girl.

E: What does it mean to you?

L: It makes me a bit less lazy. I have to remind myself to place my hat where it needs to be or else I receive supernatural consequences.

Context:

This is a family member of mine from France. I was taught this superstition at a very young age and it came to mind when beginning my research. I called said family member and transcribed our phone call.

Analysis:

This sort of story works well to deter laziness. I feel as though all superstitions hold some sort of deeper meaning or lesson. I wonder circa what year this came from and by proxy the circumstances that created it. I think it is interesting to people who follow superstitions for fear of sway in their faith. I personally heard this superstition when I was younger and have since always practiced it. I won’t even let friends put their hats on beds.

general

Mirrors

Mirror Ghost

If you sleep with your head/face toward the mirror then the ghost in the mirror will come out and chop off your head. I heard this from my parents when I was in elementary school and I got my first room. I asked them by the bedframe was facing away from the mirror and not toward it and they told me this story.

The Analysis:

This was a ghost story that his parents told him to spook my friend as a child. He mentioned, however, that many of his friends also shared similar stories that were told by their respective parents as a child. The ghost would not always come out from a mirror but maybe spring out from under the bed, from the closet, or a window. It appears that parents use ghosts and scary stories as a means of keeping their children tucked into bed throughout the night, and leaving them to stay still and not clamber around the room.

Folk Beliefs
Protection
Proverbs

Whistling at night attracts snakes to your bed.

When you whistle at night you attract snakes to your bed.

My informant first heard about this proverb from her mother.  Due to this superstition my informant never whistled at night as a child as she did not want to bring harm to her family. She lived in a small country town in Korea, thus this environment helped this superstition gain steam. In her specific city, snakes were prevalent all over the neighborhood. She believes now that this proverb was told to discourage children to make noise at night, as this bothered the neighborhood. She also once witnessed her sister whistling while she was about to go to sleep, my informant then quickly told her the proverb so she would not brings snake into her bed.

This is actually quite an interesting usage of folklore as it was used to discourage children from doing a certain thing that bothered other townspeople. It also makes sense as snakes were prevalent all over the town and children usually hate snakes, thus the adults used a familiar animal to discourage children from whistling for generations as adults constantly passed this folklore down.

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