D is a 60-year-old Caucasian female originally from Omaha, Nebraska. D is currently a real estate broker based in Phoenix, Arizona.
D informed me of this folklore during a phone conversation. I asked D if she had any folklore she would be willing to share with me.
D: When I was young, my brother in law who grew up in New Hampshire was at our home. And he, uh, I got out of a rocking chair, and I was little probably four years old and the rocking chair continued to rock, and he kinda weighed down a little bit about it because he believed growing up in New Hampshire that a rocking chair without someone in it that was rocking, that meant there was a ghost in it. So um.. anyway we had to stop the rocking chair from rocking, for him.
Reflection: I have heard of this particular superstition before, and given the context behind the superstition, I understand why D’s brother in law would insist that the chair should be stopped from rocking. As I understand it, an empty rocking chair attracts evil spirits toward itself. Assuming the chair continues to rock long after someone has left it, the spirit has already entered the chair and is free to cause bad luck to enter the household. I don’t know the origins of this folklore, but it seems to be correlated to the perception that inanimate objects moving by themselves is an inherently unnatural occurrence. Even though someone caused the rocking chair to move in the first place, once detached from the human element, the movement becomes uncanny and prompts notions of the supernatural.