Wishing in Tunnels

Children in America often believe that tunnels that cars go through can grant wishes. The practice and ritual differs among children but many can agree that tunnels can be magical.

All the ways you can make a wish in a tunnel according to all the kids I was friends with at summer camps:

  • Hold your breath the whole tunnel, if you don’t make it your wish won’t come true
  • Close your eyes the whole tunnel, if you don’t the wish won’t come true
  • Touch the ceiling of the vehicle the whole tunnel, if you don’t the wish won’t come true
  • Lick your finger and if it’s still wet when the tunnel ends then your wish will come true and if it’s dry it won’t

*and obviously you cannot tell anyone you what you wished for cause if you do it won’t not come true*

My personal take away and practice: When I am a passenger I close my eyes and hold my breath, and when I’m driving I just hold my breath.

The informant described this wish magic to me during a discussion of childhood folklore. We originally were talking about wishes in general and their prevalence in childhood. I asked them to write down what they remembered about wishing in car tunnels. This stuck out to me because they noted how they still do this little ritual whenever they encounter a tunnel on the road.