Soviet Folk Belief


“All right so uh, basically, if you leave your apartment, and it’s apartment because nobody lived in houses in the Soviet Union, I’m pretty sure it’s a Soviet thing, um if you leave your apartment, you better not come back in, because if you come back in you might get run over by a bus that day. Um if you really have to come in though, you have to look in a mirror before you re-exit your apartment because uh, and I wish I remember what my grandma told me about this, something about staring into your soul.”


The informant (his parents are from Ukraine and Azerbaijan) and his family observe this folk belief. He stated: “My mom does not let me go back inside if I’ve forgotten something, she freaks out, she’s like, ‘no, wait outside, I’ll get it for you,’ and she comes out and brings it to me. She won’t hand it to me through the doorway. My mom’s neighbor got hit by a bus when she was a kid, and I’m pretty sure the little girl went back inside to get her jacket, as far as I remember.”


I tried to research this folk belief online and could not find anything, therefore I believe that this belief is particular to the informant’s family. That the informant’s mom’s neighbor got hit by a bus confirms, in my mind, my opinion of the folk belief: I feel it arose in the aftermath of the little girl’s death. The part about the mirror confounds me though, because it is seemingly unrelated to the death of the little girl.