Days Gone By - stories from the past

MONDAY MUSINGS: I love old Southern Superstitions and sayings – Do you know others?

Cats playing with their tails means that bad weather isn’t far off

cat tail

See a cardinal, made a wish, and pinch someone to make it come true.


Sleep with a mirror under your pillow, and you will see your future husband.


Wash your hair in the first rain of May, and it will grow faster.


When you get up from a rocking chair, don’t leave it rocking or you will get sick within the year.


Check your cup of coffee in the morning. If the bubbles on the surface float in your direction, you will soon come into some money you didn’t expect.


If you spill a jar of face powder, a bad quarrel will come soon.



See books by the author Donna R. Causey


Discover Thomas Jefferson’s recipe in the book VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES: Recipes & curious tips from the past Now in paperback

The legend of Vinegar of the Four Thieves states that four thieves robbed the homes of many who had died from the plague and one of the robbers was a herbalist. The thieves were finally caught and brought to trial and there are at least two versions of what happened next.

One version states that they were sentenced to bury the dead from the plague but would be set free if they survived.

Another version states that the robbers were released in exchange for the recipe for the medicine created by the herbalist that saved from getting the plague when they stole from the houses. This tonic has been used for centuries and some people vouch for its effectiveness against illness today.

VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES: Recipes & curious tips from the past (Kindle Edition)

By (author):  Donna R Causey
List Price:Price Not Listed
Kindle Edition:Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only
buy now

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

Liked it? Take a second to support Alabama Pioneers on Patreon!


  1. Teresa Wolford

    Don’t put a hat on the bed. Bad luck.
    Don’t open an umbrella in the house. Bad luck.
    Sit on the bed during a storm and lightning can’t strike you.
    Squirrel builds nest higher in the trees when a very cold winter is coming.
    I could keep going… LOL

  2. Sarah Holland

    When cows lay low during day storms soon to follow.
    Wash on new years day you will wash fir corpse before year ends

  3. Mary Wilburn Stanfield

    If my father in law hands you a pocket knife w the blade open, you give it back w blade open. Same way if its closed or you have bad luck. Never take a hat off a mans head. Bad luck

  4. Robyn Hamons Green

    If the the sun is out and its raining the devil must be beating his wife!

  5. Janie Ward

    If your left palm itches – you are about to get some money, if your right palm itches – you are about to shake hands with a stranger.

    If animals put on heavy coats of fur or hair – prepare yourself for a long, cold winter

    Plant gardens on Good Friday to have a good garden full of healthy vegetables and fruit

    Knock on wood to keep something from happening that is being discussed

    Never wear white shoes before Easter

  6. If a black cat crosses your path going to the left, it is bad luck. If they cross to the right, it is good luck. If the cat has one white paw and crosses your path, you are getting some money.

  7. Jean Moore Sanderson

    Never “gift” knives to a person unless you plan to “cut” your ties with the person.

    1. If giving a knife, people would tape a penny to the box so the receiver could buy the knife.

  8. Jean Moore Sanderson

    If a black cat crosses your path (going to the LEFT) it is bad luck. If it crosses your path (going to the RIGHT) then it is good luck. If the cat which crosses your path has one white paw, it means you are getting money.

  9. Charlotte Hensley

    If you see a redbirdthen you will see your love that day. Something about if the hem of dress truns up but forgot the rest maybe someone can help

    1. If the hem of your dress turns up, kiss it and unfold it and you’ll get a new dress soon!

    2. Faye Rich

      You get a new dress!!

    3. Betty Maze Patterson

      You have to kiss it first Faye

  10. Glenn Dale Bryant

    I read this from a book when I was a child. If you look between the ears of a cat with green eyes from behind, you can see ghosts….lol

  11. Theresa Veasey

    Whistling indoors is bad luck. (Not a real one, but my middle schoolers bought it.) Silence is golden 🙂

  12. Nina Ann Johns Nalley

    If you hear a Mourning Dove 3 days in a row, somebody in family is going to pass away. Crows flying in circles above your house is bad luck.

  13. Nina Ann Johns Nalley

    Don’t look at anything gross while you are pregnant or you will “mark” your baby.

    1. Faye Rich

      My husbands grandmother told this for a fact. She remembers a lady being frightened by a frog and lo and behold when he was born, the baby looked like a frog. lol Funny!!!

  14. Kathy Holland Jones

    Sarah Holland my daddy refused to let us wash on new years day. I still do this just in case. 😉

  15. Dog howling under a house means a death will happen.

  16. Faye Rich

    Most of these came from the slaves that lived over here. Some from old wives – or both??

  17. Betty Maze Patterson

    If the hem of your dress is turned up, kiss it and you’ll get a new one soon.
    Red bird, red bird fly to the right. Let me see my love before tomorrow night!
    If you have bad heartburn while you’re pregnant, your baby will have lots of hair.
    It your nose itches, someone’s coming with a hole in their britches!

  18. Betty Maze Patterson

    A whistling woman and a crowing hen both shall come to no good end! I don’t know why mine all Rhyme? Heard them from my mother.

  19. Therese Nicholson Bowen

    If you drop a fork company is coming. If your ear is burning someone is talking about you . When buzzards circle one is for sorrow, two for joy and three for a boy.

  20. Stir with a knife, invite strife.

  21. Mary Jane Sims

    No shoe’s on the table!

  22. Patti Lewis

    When cattle are laying (upright) on the ground….severe weather Is not far away.

  23. Ruby Sherman
  24. Mary Carton

    If a snapping turtle bites you, it won’t turn loose until it thunders

  25. Norma McClure

    If you break a mirror it’s 7 years bad luck!! If you plant a dogwood tree & it gets big enough to shade you, you will die! If you see cattle laying down, the fish won’t bite!

  26. Linda Dulin

    VonDoom at Camp Grist. Dallas County.

  27. Mildred Plant Masten

    i am very sorry to have missed the first rain of may 🙁

  28. Michael Stallings

    i had heard of the cardnial superstition….

  29. Francis Martin

    love home rememdies, but can’t remember them anymore !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. Nancy Owen Runyan

    See a penny and pick it up and all that day you’ll have good luck.

    1. Next line is….See a penny let it lay, bad luck will follow you all day.

  31. Sunshine Smith

    if you cut your hair at night, don’t throw it outside til daylight.

  32. Kelly Naramore

    When you cut your hair don’t bury it! The birds will find it and build a nest and you will get a headache……. ;/

  33. Kelly Naramore

    “It’s gonna rain….the moon is holdin’ water!”

  34. Janet Pendergrass Carlile

    Don’t go out the same door you came in. Bad luck.

  35. Eddie Wergin

    When you hear thunder in fall no snow at all

  36. All the entries about cows and weather….beats me! I have experienced that if the cows are laying down in their pasture, and you planned to go fishing, you might as well just go on home, because you won’t catch any fish!

  37. Kathryn Flynn

    If the sun is shining when it is raining it will rain again the next day

  38. Ron Griffin

    Don’t kill a crickett inside the house or your milk cow will go dry.

  39. Ron Griffin

    Don’t kll a toad frog or your milk cow will give bloody milk.

  40. Donna Verdi Smith

    When a bird flies into your house…

    1. Betty Holsen

      someone is going to die

  41. Donald Wheeles

    Red clouds at night, a sailors delight – Red skies in the morning – sailors take warning.

  42. Donald Wheeles

    Don’t take wooden nickles.

  43. Lee Vann Self

    Don’t open an umbrella in the house

  44. Lee Vann Self

    Don’t put your hat on the bed.

  45. Peggy Payne Garrett

    Red cardinals mean angels are near.

  46. Has anyone ever heard the one about a hay truck? If you see or meet a hay truck on the road it’s bad luck to watch it after it passes or follow it in the mirrors of your car.
    Saw a movie last night set in Jackson, AL and that was a big superstition in the film.
    I’ve never heard that one.

    1. What movie? I’m from Jackson, just wondering.

    2. next line…. See a load of hay, make a wish and turn away. If you look twice, your wish won’t come true!

    3. Take a piece of wedding cake home from the wedding and sleep with it under your pillow. You’ll dream of the man you are going to marry!

  47. Ruth Breda

    My great grandmother had a saying about woolly-booger caterpillars and their middle striped band. I can’t remember if a wide band meant a hard winter or if it was a thin band. Does anyone know?

    1. Wes Dixon

      I believe it’s a wide band

    2. Ruth Breda

      Thanks, I saw one the other day (first time in a looong time) and it had a wide band – so we will see!

  48. Lara Armstrong

    Cindy Banks Armstrong It’s not new yr superstitions, but still quite an interesting read.

  49. Vickie Edwards Henriquez

    If a wild bird flies in your house, there will be a death in the family.

  50. Martha Hopper Reeves

    Red bird, red bird fly to my right and I will, see my boyfriend before midnight tonight.

  51. Ellen Hutchings

    My grandmother said a snake won’t die until the sun goes down.

  52. Sonia Waid

    I am as southern as you can get, and the only one of these I have ever heard is about the Cardinal granting wishes !!! ….. but I am definitely gonna use the others !!! Especially the cat chasing his tail !!!

    1. LOL.. I am about as Southern as you can get too, but I have never heard of the redbird superstition, but have heard of most all of these posted. In addition, my maternal grandmother was big on dreams and their superstitions.

  53. Sonia Waid

    My favorite shared by my husbands late Grandfather was that if it Thunders in December, it will snow on the same day of the month the following March !!! Thats how we got the Blizzard of 93 in Alabama !!!

  54. Jeff Moore

    Hang a dead snake on the fence to make it rain.

  55. If a woman is the first to come visit you in the New Year, You will have bad luck.My Dad always believed that one.

  56. Tonja Young

    High as a cat’s back…….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.