“My dad believed it was bad luck to leave a hat on the bed. He thought it would bring death to the family.”
Background: The informant’s father, who comes from Western Pennsylvania, told her this superstition when she was a child and would always remind her, when she did leave a hat on the bed, to put the hat elsewhere. She believes it has something to do with hat pins that people used to use to keep hats on their heads. So if they were to put a hat on a bed with the hat pins still on and then accidentally laid on it, it would cause harm. The informant says that she still practices this in her own household.
Analysis: This superstition could have many different origin points for many different reasons. Hat pins are likely because laying down on one may lead to harm. Though there are a multitude of reasons for this superstition. There are beliefs that evil spirits spill from the hat when placed on a bed leading to your misfortune. A more common and far less superstitious reason for not placing a hat on the bed is the possibility of transferring lice to or from your bed. That being said, there are many superstitions that are passed down from previous generations that many don’t have a reason to believe in, but still choose to practice and pass down to their children. Many superstitions these days don’t have long explanations and we still follow them out of tradition and out of habit, whether we believe in the negative or positive result of the superstitions.