My stepdaughter’s ex-husband married a Native American woman and they had a baby together. Since most Native Americans have extremely straight hair, she did not want her daughter to have this hair so she found an old folk way of making it wavier for when she grew up. Right after the baby was born, she went out to the pastures to where the cows lived and took back some manure. She took the manure and rubbed it on her baby’s head because this was supposed to ensure that when her hair grew in, it would be wavy or curly and not straight like traditional Native American hair.
How the hair grew in I don’t know, but this belief was passed down through Native Americans to use on their children to avoid the extremely straight hair of their people.
This superstition my mother used to tell me about dishrags. She believed that whenever you dropped a dishrag, that meant that someone would come knock on your door soon. This could happen any time of the day, any time of the year, just in general someone would be there soon.
I’m not sure if this is a good or bad superstition but it seems pretty general and forward. I do not know if this ever comes true or if it means something else. If it were to mean something else I believe that it would mean that right when you are doing a lot and moving a lot and are really busy, someone will come and visit you right then. I picture a housewife moving swiftly in the kitchen and dropping her dishrag while busily cooking and being flustered when the doorbell rings right as she picks it up. So it could be a metaphor for when you’re busy something else will come along too.
A common household fix for back pain.
When my mother was little my grandmother and the same for my father, would take a regular drinking glass, heat it with a match, then slam it down on the part of the back that was in pain. This was said to suck the pain out of the area for immediate relief. This is something I had never heard of until discussing folklore with both of my parents in which they both agreed that this is what their mothers would do because someone somewhere had told them it would work and take away back pain. I’m sure this method could be used other places than just the back but this is where it was usually used.
An old superstition.
My mother always warned me that if I ever spilt salt on the table I had to pick some up with my right hand and throw it over my left shoulder or else I would be getting in a fight with someone soon.
Although this is a common superstition and I always make sure to throw the salt over a crossed shoulder, I always thought it was because it was bad luck not to. Nobody had ever really explained to me why people in my family did it other than that is what we were supposed to do. After speaking with my grandma about learning it from my great grandma, it makes much more sense why people believe in it so wholeheartedly. Also, after learning why some people did it, I thought that this was an interesting twist on people’s reasoning for acting on this specific superstition.
Since my grandmother has been a nurse all her life, she somehow managed to learn numerous home remedies and folk medicine that she swears by to this day that she also learned from her mother which seem to work better than modern medicine for some.
One of the more interesting remedies she seems to go by involves earaches. She believes that if you have an earache what you need to do is blow cigarette smoke into the infected ear and it is supposed to help the ear heal quicker. This is one of the craziest folk remedies I’ve ever heard of to date, it seems that cigarette smoke would hurt the ear because of the chemicals but maybe there is some ingredient that helps ears.