Saturday, June 30, 2012

Appalachian Omens, Charms & Spells

Appalachian Omens, Charms & Spells
So many of these seem to be universal in many beliefs....

Protection from the Dead and Prevention of Hauntings:
Dried basil hung over doorways, windows and fireplaces will keep ghosts from entering.

Rue or Purslane planted near the house discourages ghostly visitors

Wild horseradish or mustard placed under a pillow will prevent nightmares induced by ghosts.

Spinning clockwise 3 times before entering your dwelling reportedly confuses spirits so that they cannot enter

Rapping 3 times on your door before entering deters ghosts

Rapping 3 times on your bed post also deters ghosts from inducing nightmares

Bells, chimes, and door harps are ancient methods of deterring ghosts stemming from China and Scandinavia

Serve a plate of potatoes to a ghost just after sundown is another ghost banishing method. When leaving the plate announce that it is for the spirit. Just before dawn, bury the potatoes and the spirit should go with them.

If you know the identity of the spirit, and have access to their belongings there is a North Carolina Blue Ridge potato banishing that might be useful. Take an unwashed, unpeeled potato and cut it in half. Then hollow out a small section, leaving fairly thick walls. Place a small, non-valued item belonging to the deceased inside the hollowed out space. Then use two long nails or pins to reseal the potato. Take it to the cemetery where they are buried and leave it, the ghost should be bound to the cemetery until its ready to move on.
If you feel you are being followed by an evil spirit, cross over running water. It is said that spirits cannot cross over running water.

To turn away negative forces from a human, spectral or of an animal nature, toss nine broom straws, one at a time into a hearths fire at sunset

Squeaky doors should be fixed because they are invitations to ghosts and troublesome spirits

Windows can be protected with springs of fresh rosemary, basil, and woodruff

To prevent a curse, tie up a lock of your hair, a stick from your yard, and a clipped nail with red string and carry it in your pocket. Curses cannot affect you as long as you carry the charm. If you loose it, it can be used against you by competent enemies

The broken mirror curse (7 yrs. bad luck) can be undone by taking the largest shard to the cemetery and touching it to the oldest headstone at midnight.

Placing a fern r ivy on the porch will protect against curses. If its eaten by an animal, then a curse has already been placed. Planting dill with it protects against animals

Yarrow or Pixie Lichen Moss hung on a crib will drive away curses and negativity. This can also be achieved by driving a nail into the crib post

Milk containing chamomile fed to a child each night was said to protect it from evil and preserve its life ‘til dawn

Geranium petals will protect you from lightning strikes and snake bites

Carrying a branch from a tree that has been struck by lightening is said to protect the carrier

If outdoors, tapping a black stone against a white stone until you are indoors is said to create a magickal current that lightening cannot penetrate

Burning a candle during a lightening storm will protect the home from lightening
Burying a flint at the four directions around your house (must be done in a clockwise motion) will protect against lightening

A small bag containing chips from a lightning struck tree hanging above the door or buried at the four direction will protect the home.

Lightening will not strike a home or barn inhabited by swallows

Mistletoe offers a variety of protection against lightening. Preferably growing naturally on your property. It can be carried in the pockets for personal protection. Can be tied to a doorway for protection of the house or barn. It can be hung on farm animals for their protection

To protect against tornadoes, take a sharp knife and place it in the ground blade upwards in the southwest corner of your property or in a southwest window. Folklore states that the knife will magickally cut the tornado as it approaches so that it misses the house/property.

A large cauldron or barrel in the southwest corner is said to "confuse" a tornado and cause it to catch its tail inside which will dissipate it before it reaches your property

Geraniums on the southwest edge of your land can also provide protection against storms

Acorns thrown on the roof before it rains prevents hail damage

Oak logs burned in the hearth helps strengthen the home against natural disasters

Pine and Cedar logs burned in the hearth brings prosperity

Birch logs burned in the hearth brings happiness

Elm protects against curses and evil

Basil and Rosemary tossed into a fire protects and brings happiness

Tossing myrtle into a fire is said to cause the face of your future mate to appear

To prevent a miscarriage, carry a piece of mottled jasper/bloodstone in your left pocket

Blue glass (such as a bottle) placed in windows repels negativity

Iron above doors and fireplaces repels unwanted faery folk

A saucer placed above a door with turn away thieves

Appalachians 'smudged' their homes with a 'purging' incense, a combination of dried valerian root, dried basil, and rue. It was tradition to have the eldest member of the house carry the incense while the youngest carried a lit candle and walked behind them

Dried leather beans strung together and hung over the door brings good luck and protection

Some of these methods include harming or killing animals and are being added only for historical information.

Mountain Folk (including the Irish) believe that a raven that nests on the roof is an omen that a death will occur within a fortnight. To undo this omen you must scare away the ravens before they leave of their own accord. This must be accomplished without the use of human gestures or voices. To do so means that the death will occur in half the original amount of time. Gunshots, rocks and or other animals have been traditionally used.

Black birds that come to rest on a windowsill is a bad omen. If it takes something and for caws, while it is there the omen means a death in the family. There are two ways to undo the omens. If it only takes something, you must retrieve the stolen item. If it caws, you must kill the bird and then burn it in a cemetery. Please note that there is a difference between blackbirds and crows. Crows indicate a blight on your land or a famine.


  1. This article is very interesting about Spells

  2. Giggle..I knew I liked your page for a reason..and now I accidentally found you be
    The Hedgewitch Goddess

  3. Mother used to say dreaming of a wedding meant death and death marriage. If a bird hits our window it means an unfortunate accident will befall a family member. If the bird happens to be an owl in broad daylight the death will be within the day. We use Elm to banish dark haunts but it can be used to conjure spirits too if necessary. There is a whole lot more to it but reading all of this reminds me a lot of home.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing! I love all of the different beliefs from various parts of the country - and the world. It's also interesting how some areas of the world, which had no contact with other parts around the globe will each hold very similar beliefs.
      I'm glad I could help stir up some memories!

  4. My mother was from West Virginia and she said if a bird flies in your window it means someone will die. My grandfather never allowed a hat to be put on the bed because it was bad luck, as was singing at the table. If few went into the house through the front door we had to leave through the back (or maybe it was the other way). When we got up from a rocking chair we could never leave it rocking. Umbrella's could never be opened in the house. And, he always called off work on Friday the 13th.

    1. Very cool stuff! Some of it I've heard before (in the front, but out the back), but most of it not. Thank you for sharing!

  5. are you the author or know the author of Ghost of Black Mtn?

    1. :) No, I am not. I don't know the author either, sorry.

    2. The Ghost on Black Mountain was written by Anne Hite.

  6. My grandmother's twin sister was a psychic and she read tea leaves and cards. Their father was a preacher so that did not go over well with him. I have inherited her psychic gift and I wish I had known her better. As I was young when she was alive it didn't occur to me to ask her about her life but I bet she could have taught me a lot.

    1. OH, I'm sure she could have! I wish I'd met my husband's mother. She passed over 40 years ago, but she was 1/2 Cherokee born & raised in the Appalachian Mountains. I would give anything to have been able to pick her brains and to be mentored by her.

      I must say though, I do believe she has guided me many times into finding that obscure bit of folk healing & magical knowledge I needed at one time or another.

      I think you could do the same. Start talking to her as if she were there with you. Request specific knowledge to come to you that you need. I'll bet she will send it to you. :)

  7. I am thinking about writing a book about my great aunt. Would you object to me using some of the information from this site? I will credit you with anything I use. This is interesting: I have my kitchen window lined with blue glass and I had no idea it repels negativity! I wonder if my aunt has already been guiding me?

    1. I apologize - I've been down for over a week with bronchitis. First time sick in almost 15 years!

      Yes, you may use the information you need, with appropriate resourcing listed. I appreciate it. Good luck with your book. Let me know when you've finished, and if you don't mind, I'd love to proofread it (it's actually what I do professionally!) :)

  8. Thank you so much for allowing me to use your info and I would LOVE for you to proofread it! I am excited about doing this. Right now I have too many irons in the fire but soon I will be able to work on it.

  9. My Grandmother just about raised me because both my parents worked alot. She passed away in 2003. All this reminds me of her. I miss her so much, she told me to try and peel an apple with a knife in one peeling. and use the longest peeling , throw it over your left shoulder and it would form into the first letter of your soul mates name. she had strange old sayings and beliefs. She wouldnt let me play cards or when i tried to whistle she would say " A whistling woman and a crowing hen runs the ol devil right out of his den " Rest easy meemawl Lucy. We're from the Appalachains, in south east kentucky. by the way :)

  10. Interesting post, I really enjoyed reading.
    Thanks for sharing