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Category Animal Superstitions
Subcategory: Dogs

A dog eating grass - rain

Meeting a dog - good luck (especially Dalmatians)

A greyhound with a white spot on its forehead - good fortune

Being followed by a strange dog - bad luck (especially black dogs)

The spectral black dog (barguest) - a harbinger of death

A dog howling for no reason - unseen spirits

A dog howling three times - A death has occurred

At one time a dog that had bitten someone was immediately destroyed to protect the person from rabies (even if the dog was healthy)

Subcategory: Horses

Horse brasses were used to protect horses from witches

White horses - ill fortune

Inhaling a horses breath - cure for whooping cough

Eating a hair from a horse's forelock - cure for worms

Horses standing with their backs to a hedge - rain

Changing a horse's name - very bad luck

Subcategory: Albatross

An albatross flying around a ship in mid ocean - bad weather

Thought to be the spirit of dead mariners and so bringing bad luck to those who killed them

Subcategory: Adder

To see an adder - general bad luck

To kill an adder - general good luck

A live adder on the doorstep - a death in the household

Subcategory: Ant

Believed to be the final earthly incarnation of fairies

Believed to be the souls of children who had died unbaptised

Believed to be the transmuted souls of the Druids who refused to accept Christianity

Subcategory: Badger

Carrying a badgers tooth - Good luck (especially for gamblers)

Subcategory: Bats

In a church during a wedding ceremony - bad omen

In the house - either a death or a sign that the humans will soon be leaving

Flying close to a person - that person will be betrayed

Flying vertically upwards then dropping back to earth - 'The Witches Hour Has Come'

Flying early in the evening - good weather

Chinese belief - Bats are a symbol of long life and happiness

Subcategory: Bear

Believed to gain sustenance from sucking on their own paws.

Ghost bears are believed to reside at Worcester Cathedral and The Tower of London in England

Naming a bear - provokes attack

Subcategory: Bees

If a bee enters your home, it's a sign that you will soon have a visitor. If you kill the bee, you will have bad luck, or the visitor will be unpleasant.

A bee landing on someone's hand is believed to foretell money to come, while if the bee settles on someone's head it means that person will rise to greatness.

Bees were once considered to deliberately sting those who swore in front of them, and also to attack an adulterer or unchaste person.

It was once held to be a sure sign that a girl was a virgin if she could walk through a swarm of bees without being stung.

An old country tradition states that bees should not be purchased for money, as bought bees will never prosper.

Bee-stings were once thought to prevent rheumatism, and in some places a bee-sting was also thought to cure it.

Subcategory: Beetle

Ancient Egyptian belief - Scarab revered as a symbol of the Sun God Ra

Walking over a person's shoe - an omen of death

Crawling out of a discarded shoe - ill omen

Devil's coach horse beetle raising it's tail - a curse

African belief - throwing beetles into a lake produces rain

A dead beetle tied around the neck - cure for whooping cough

Subcategory: Birds

A bird that flies into a house, foretells an important message.

The white bird foretells death.

A bird call from the north means tragedy; from the south is good for crops; from the west is good luck; from the east, good love.

If a bird poops on your car, it is good luck.

If bird droppings land on your head it is good luck.

Subcategory: Blackbird

Ancient British Belief - A messenger of the dead

Two blackbirds sitting together - good omen

Subcategory: Boar

A manifestation of the Devil

Norse belief - A traditional food of the Gods

Subcategory: Bull

Bull's testes - aphrodisiac

To hide in a bull's pen - immunity from lightning

Subcategory: Butterfly

If the first butterfly you see in the year is white, you will have good luck all year

Represents the souls of unbaptised children

Inside the house - good luck

First butterfly of the season (white) - good omen

First butterfly of the season (brown) - misfortune

To see three butterflies together - bad omen

To see a butterfly at night - approaching death

Scottish belief - red butterflies are manifestations of witches

Subcategory: Calf

If the first calf born during the winter is white, the winter will be a bad one.

To stroke a calf on the back - bad luck to both the person and the animal

Twin calves - bad luck

Giving mistletoe as a gift to the first calf of the year - good luck to the herd

Subcategory: Cat

A kitten born in May - a witches cat

A black cat crossing your path - good luck (A white cat in USA, Spain and Belgium)

A black cat seen from behind - a bad omen

Stray tortoise shell cat - bad omen

Cats bought with money will never be good mousers

Cat sneezing once - rain

Cat sneezing three times - the family will catch a cold

USA belief - A cat washing on the doorstep - the clergy will visit

Killing a cat - sacrificing your soul to the Devil

Kicking a cat - Rheumatism

A cat sneezing is a good omen for everyone who hears it. - Italian superstition

It is bad luck to see a white cat at night

Dreaming of white cat means good luck

When you see a one-eyed cat, spit on your thumb, stamp it in the palm of your hand, and make a wish. The wish will come true.

If a cat washes behind its ears, it will rain. - English superstition

A cat sleeping with all four paws tucked under means cold weather ahead. - English superstition

English schoolchildren believe seeing a white cat on the way to school is sure to bring trouble. To avert bad luck, they must either spit, or turn around completely and make the sign of the cross.

A black cat crossing one's path by moonlight means death in an epidemic. - Irish superstition

A strange black cat on your porch brings prosperity. - Scottish superstition

It is bad luck to cross a stream carrying a cat. - French superstition

A cat on top of a tombstone meant certainly that the soul of the departed buried was possessed by the devil. Two cats seen fighting near a dying person, or on the grave shortly after a funeral, are really the Devil and an Angel fighting for possession of

To see a white cat on the road is lucky.

To kill a cat brings seventeen years of bad luck. - Irish superstition

If cats desert a house, illness will always reign there. - English superstition

In Normandy, seeing a tortoiseshell foretells death by accident.

In the Netherlands, cats were not allowed in rooms where private family discussions were going on. The Dutch believed that cats would definitely spread gossips around the town.

When moving to a new home, always put the cat through the window instead of the door, so that it will not leave.

In the early 16th century, a visitor to an English home would always kiss the family cat.

When the pupil of a cat's eye broadens, there will be rain. - Welsh superstition

In 16th century Italy, it was believed that if a black cat lay on the bed of a sick man, he would die. But there's also a belief that a cat will not remain in the house where someone is about to die. Therefore, if the family cat refuses to stay indoors,

Subcategory: Cattle

Cattle were highly regarded by the Celts, and nn some areas it is thought that cattle should be informed of any deaths in their owners' household, or the cows, sensing that something was wrong, would sicken and probably die.

In mediaeval times it was thought that cattle would kneel at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve; and some people thought they were even able to speak that night, although it was considered dangerous for any human to hear their speech as misfortune w

Subcategory: Cockerel

White cockerel - good luck

Black cockerel - evil spirits

A cockerel standing in a doorway - a visitor

It is believed that the cockerels will all crow on final day to awaken the dead

Subcategory: Cows

If a plow kills a daddy long legs the cows will go dry

If you see nine cows in a shed with a gray bull next to the door, and all of them lie on the same side, you are in luck, because you will be granted one wish.

A cow lowing after midnight - approaching death

To milk a cow being sent to market - bad luck

Sprinkling the cowshed floor with primroses - a guard against witches

Cows lying down in a field - rain

Subcategory: Cricket

A cricket is a lucky house spirit that takes it's luck away when it leaves.

A cricket can tell of oncoming rain, death, and x-lovers.

Subcategory: Crow

One's bad, Two's luck, Three's health, Four's wealth, Five's sickness, Six is death.

A messenger of the gods

A familiar of the traditional witch

Harbingers of death and disaster

Subcategory: Cuckoo

First sound of a cuckoo in spring coming from the right - good luck

First sound of a cuckoo in spring coming from the left - bad luck

Hearing the first cuckoo on the 28th of April - Excellent luck

Hearing the first cuckoo on the 6th of April or after midsummer - bad luck

Your condition on hearing the first cuckoo will remain all year

Subcategory: Daddy Long Legs

If a plow kills a daddy long legs the cows will go dry.

"When I was a kid on a farm in Ohio, somewhere we were told when we picked up a Daddy Long Legs to ask it "Where are the cows?" and it would point (with it's feelers) in the direction of the cows. I remember thinking this usually worked!"

Subcategory: Dolphins

Dolphins are believed to transport the souls of the dead to the afterlife

Dolphins playing in fine weather or close to the shore - Wind

Subcategory: Donkey

Placing three hairs from a donkey's shoulders in a muslin bag worn around the neck - cure for whooping cough or measles

Sitting backwards on a donkey - cure for snakebites and toothache

A pregnant woman seeing a donkey - the child will grow wise and well behaved

Subcategory: Dove

Miners seeing a dove - bad omen

A dove circling above - an omen of death

Killing a dove - misfortune

Subcategory: Dragonfly

Catching a dragonfly - marriage within the year

Subcategory: Duck

Laying dark brown eggs - bad omen

Flapping its wings while swimming - rain

Subcategory: Eagle

Strength, divinity and immortality

Christian belief - symbol of resurrection

Several eagles flying together - peace

Eagles sitting motionless - an enemy approaching

Eagle egg eaten by two people - protection against witchcraft

Hearing the cry of an eagle - omen of death

Subcategory: Elephants

In Siam, white elephants were rare and not made to work for their upkeep, so a White Elephant is an item that is a non profit expense. Considering the value of space in our homes, items kept as memorabilia could be considered White Elephants.

Subcategory: Ferret

Drinking milk from a bowl from which a ferret has drunk - cure for whooping cough

Subcategory: Fish

Throw back the first fish you catch then you'll be lucky the whole day fishing.

It's bad luck to get married when the fish aren't biting, according to the custom of some fisherfolk.

A fish should always be eaten from the head toward the tail.

Dream of fish: someone you know is pregnant.

If you count the number of fish you caught, you will catch no more that day.

It's bad luck to say the word "pig" while fishing at sea.

Burning fish bones - unlucky

Subcategory: Flea

Suddenly leaving a body who was infested - death of the host

Flea bite on the hand - a kiss or good news

Person leaping over the midsummer bonfire - riddance of fleas

Subcategory: Fox

Seeing a lone fox - good luck

Seeing several foxes together - bad luck

Subcategory: Frogs

Frogs, like toads, were once thought to have peculiar properties, and were frequently used in healing charms, and in others of a slightly less innocent nature.

The dried body of a frog worn in a silk bag around the neck prevented epilepsy and other fits.

Frogs were used in love-magic. In one story, a girl, whose lover was untrue stuck pins all over a living frog and then buried it. The young man suffered extreme pains and eventually returned to her. She dug up the frog and removed the pins, after which t

A frog brings good luck to the house it enters.

Believed to be the souls of dead children

Shiny skinned - fine weather

Dull skinned - rain

Frogspawn at the edge of a pond - storms

Touching a frog - infertility

Killing a frog - bad luck

Subcategory: Gnat

When allowed into a sick room - removal of ailments

Flying close to the ground - rain

Flying high - good weather

Subcategory: Goat

Associated with Pan (or the devil in some religions)

Meeting a goat when on an important journey - good luck

Meeting a black goat on a bridle path - treasure hidden nearby

Subcategory: Goose

Goose eaten on Michelmas day - good luck

Brown tinted meat - mild winter

White meat - harsh winter

Geese leaving a farm - omen of a fire

A goose laying two eggs - bad omen

Subcategory: Guinea Fowl

Generally good luck

Brings sunshine

Subcategory: Hares

Good Luck.

A guise of a witch

Crossing your path - omen of disaster

Dreaming of hares - bad omen or death

Seeing a brown hare - good luck

Carrying a hare's foot - good luck

Killing a hare - bad luck

Rubbing hare's blood into the skin - cure for freckles

Subcategory: Hedgehog

Another witches guise

Killing a hedgehog - protection against bad luck

Entering the house - very bad omen

Subcategory: Hens

A hen which crows is considered to be unlucky, as is a hen with tail-feathers like those of a rooster.

Hens which roost in the morning are said to be foretelling a death, usually that of the farmer or someone in his household.

A hen which enters the house is an omen that a visitor will arrive, and this is also the case if a rooster crows near the door or comes inside.

Subcategory: Heron

Seeing a heron near the house - bad luck

Killing a heron - extremely bad luck

Subcategory: Jackdaw

A jackdaw settling on the house - an omen of death

In some cultures, a jackdaw on the roof - a new arrival

Seeing one jackdaw - bad omen

Subcategory: Horseshoes

A circular ring made from an iron horseshoe nail gives the same protection against evil as the horseshoe itself.

The horseshoe or crescent moon shape was seen as a sign of good fortune and fertility.

Witches fear horses, so they are also turned away by a door with a horseshoe mounted on it. The horseshoe must be hung with the points up to keep the luck from spilling out.

Subcategory: Jaybirds

Jaybirds go down to the devil's house on Fridays to tell all the bad things that have happened during the week. Jaybirds who remain on Friday are checking up on what people are doing.

Subcategory: Kingfisher

Greek legend

Christian Legend

Seeing a kingfisher - good luck

Wearing kingfisher feathers - promotes the beauty of a woman by magic

Subcategory: Ladybird (Ladybug)

Landing on you - very good luck

Landing on your hand - Good weather

Number of spots - number of happy months ahead

Direction after it leaves your person - the direction from which your future love will come

Subcategory: Lamb

First lamb of spring (black) - good omen

First lambs of spring (twin white) - excellent fortune

Subcategory: Lapwing (Pewit)

The call of the lapwing - 'bewitched bewitched'

Seeing a lapwing - bad omen

Subcategory: Lark

Eating three larks' eggs - improvement of voice

Disturbing a lark's peace or nest - curse

Pointing at a lark - a whitlow will appear on the finger

Subcategory: Magpie

Seeing a single magpie - bad luck

A single magpie circling the house - portent of death

Greeting a magpie is said to remove the bad omens it brings

A single magpie on a roof - the building will never fall down

Chattering in a tree near a house - arrival of a stranger

Chinese belief - a magpie is good luck and shouls never be killed

Subcategory: Martin

Nesting in a house - good luck to the household

Harming a Martin or its eggs - dire misfortune

Subcategory: Mole

Sudden arrival of molehills in a garden - someone will leave, or death

More molehills than usual - bad weather

Subcategory: Mosquito

Same omens as the gnat (When allowed into a sick room - removal of ailments, Flying close to the ground - rain, Flying high - good weather)

Subcategory: Moth

A big black moth in the house means a deceased one is just visiting reincarnated through that moth.

In the house - arrival of an important letter

Subcategory: Mouse

If somebody throws away a dead mouse, the wind will soon start to blow from that direction.

Subcategory: Muskrat

Building it's home clear of the water - heavy rains

Constructing the home with thin walls - mild winter

Subcategory: Nightingale

Heard singing before the cuckoo - Success in love

Subcategory: Nightjar (Whippoorwill)

Heard after dark - premonition of death

First call in spring - A wish made will come true

Subcategory: Owl

The ancient Greeks revered owls and believed them sacred to Athena. Affiliated with the goddess of wisdom and learning, the owl was considered wise and kind.

hearing the hoot of an owl is now associated with bad luck. To counter evil owl power put irons in your fire. Or throw salt, hot peppers or vinegar into the fire, the owl will get a sore tongue, hoot no more, and no one close to you will be in trouble.

When you hear an owl, to prevent bad luck, take off your clothes, turn them inside out and put them back on.

Any man who eats roasted owl will be obedient and a slave to his wife.

Looking into an owl's nest - sadness for life

Heard hooting by a pregnant woman - baby is a girl

If an owl lands on the roof of your house, it is an omen of death. Constant hooting near your house also foretells death.

If an owl hoots at the moment of childbirth, the child will have an unhappy life.

The Irish believe that if an owl flies into a house it must be killed immediately. If it escapes, it will take the luck of the house with it.

If an owl nests in an abandoned house, then the dwelling must be haunted. An owl is the only creature that can abide a ghost.

By eating salted owl, a person can be cured of gout.

If an owl hoots during a burial service, the deceased is bound to rise from the grave and haunt the living.

An owl living in the attic of a house will cause a pregnant woman to miscarry.

Subcategory: Oyster

Oysters should only be eaten in months with an R in them

Aphrodisiac properties (dating back to Roman times)

Carrying an oyster shell - good luck

Subcategory: Peacocks

A peacock feather has an evil eye at the end. Argus, the Greek legend, says a hundred eyed monster was turned into a peacock with all it's eyes in it's tail.

Revered by Hindus as sacred

Greek mythology - tail consists of the eyes of the giant 'Argus'

Peacock feathers indoors - bad luck

Hearing a peacock cry - storms approaching

Subcategory: Pigs

To get rid of warts involves rubbing a peeled apple and giving it to a pig.

Crossing your path - unlucky

Running with straw in its mouth - storms approaching

Driving pigs indoors On Beltane morning - good omen

Subcategory: Porpoise

Harbinger of good luck

Seen swimming north - fine weather

Seen swimming south - bad weather

Subcategory: Rabbits

Passing in front of you - good luck

Passing behind you - bad luck

Running down a street - a house will catch fire

Keeping a rabbit's foot - good luck

Because of the rabbit's ability to reproduce, the rabbit's foot became a symbol of fertility.

Rabbits were linked with darkness, witches and the devil because they live underground.

By owning a rabbit's foot as a talisman, you would have vital connections with many powerful forces.

A left rabbit hind foot, carried in the left pocket after having been removed from a rabbit that was killed during a full moon by a cross-eyed person is truly lucky. The foot is considered a powerful charm against evil because the rabbit's strong hind le

Actors may keep a rabbit's foot in their makeup cases for good luck, and will have misfortune if they lose it.

In Wales an old belief is that a new-born child rubbed all over with a rabbit's foot will be lucky for life.

Subcategory: Rat

Most relate to the rat's association with death

It is believed that rats can predict death

Rats leaving a ship - the ship will sink

Rats seen boarding a ship - lucky

A rat leaving a house - A death is imminent

A sudden arrival of rats in a house - the occupants will move soon, or (in Scotland) an occupant will come into money

An increase in numbers - an omen of war

Subcategory: Ravens

To kill a raven is to harm the spirit of King Arthur who visits the world in the form of a raven.

Seen near a sick person - no recovery

Welsh belief - A raven on a chimney is good luck to those within

Ravens leaving The Tower of London - The United Kingdom will fall

Flying towards the sun - fine weather

Subcategory: Robins

A wish made on the first robin of spring will be granted.

A robin entering the house was a sign of a death in the family.

Killing a robin - extremely bad luck

Causing a robin injury - a similar injury to the perpetrator

Entering a house or church - omen of death

Subcategory: Roosters

Roosters have long been connected with the sun, as they crow to herald its arrival at dawn, and are considered watchful protectors of humankind.

When a cock crows at midnight a spirit is passing

In England it is a death omen if a rooster crows three times between sunset and midnight. Crowing at other times is often a warning against misfortune.

If a cock crows while perched on a gate, or at nightfall, the next day will be rainy.

A white rooster is considered very lucky, and should not be killed as it protects the farm on which it lives

Black roosters are a bad omen, often associated with sacrifice.

Subcategory: Seagulls

Three seagulls flying together, directly overhead, are a warning of death soon to come.

Killing a seagull - bad luck

Seen far inland - bad weather

Subcategory: Sheep

A shepherd counting his flock - bad luck

Sitting still on the grass - fine weather

Walking about and bleating - bad weather

Subcategory: Snake

Hanging a snake skin from the rafters - protection from fire

Crossing your path - unlucky

Carrying a snake skin - protection against illness

Carrying a snake's tooth - protection against fever and luck in gambling

Wearing an emerald - protection against snake bites

Subcategory: Sparrows

Sparrows carry the souls of the dead, it's unlucky to kill one.

Believed to embody the souls of the dead

Killing a sparrow - the tree it lived in will die

Hearing a sparrow call rain

Subcategory: Spiders

It is unlucky to kill spiders because a spider spun a web over baby Jesus to hide him from Herod.

A spider with syrup cures fever.

Seeing a spider run down a web in the afternoon means you'll take a trip.

You'll meet a new friend if you run into a web.

A spider is a repellent against plague when worn around the neck in a walnut shell.

Killing a spider - very bad luck

Seen running over clothes - a new set of clothes

Finding a spider in the morning - Sorrow

Finding a spider at midday - Anxiety

Finding a spider in the evening - Loss

Killing a spider - Bad Luck

A spider spinning in the morning - Good Luck

A spider climbing its thread - Good News

A spider dropping on its thread - Good Luck

Finding a spider on your body - Good Fortune

Seeing a spider cross a wall - Good Luck

A spider's web on a doorway - A Visitor

A spider on your clothes Money

Arcane is said to be the missing 13th sign of the zodiac based on 13 lunar months. Arcane is associated with psychic abilities, weaving and women.

Subcategory: Sow Bugs

A Texas superstition says that a bag filled with 13 sow bugs tied around a child's neck will cure the child from the thrash, or sores in the mouth.

Subcategory: Storks

Storks deliver babies.

Storks were sacred to Venus in Roman mythology.

If a stork builds a nest on your roof, you have received a blessing and a promise of never ending love from Venus. Aristotle made killing a stork a crime, and Romans passed a stork law, saying that children must care for their elderly parents.

Killing a stork - bad luck

Building a nest on the roof - good omen

Seeing two storks - omen of pregnancy

Subcategory: Swallow

Herald of the summer

Killing a swallow - bad luck

Nesting on the roof - protection especially against lightning and fire

Storms will accompany the arrival and departure of swallows

Subcategory: Swans

A swan's feather, sewed into the husband's pillow, will ensure fidelity.

Subcategory: Toad

If you eat a live toad first thing in the morning nothing worse will happen to you all day.

Crossing the path of a bride on the way to the church - prosperous and happy union

Seeing a toad - end of drought or good fortune

Thought to be the familiars of witches

Killing a toad - rainstorms

Carrying a dried toad - protection against plague

Handling toads - causes warts

Subcategory: Tortoise

Killing a tortoise - bad luck

Wearing a tortoiseshell bracelet - protection against evil

Subcategory: Wasp

Killing the first wasp of the season - good luck

Subcategory: Vulture

Seeing a vulture - omen of death

Subcategory: Weasel

Seeing a weasel - bad luck

Keeping money in a weasel skin purse - financial security

Subcategory: Wolf

During the middle ages, wolves were ascribed magical powers and wolf parts became an important part of many early pharmacies. Powered wolf liver was used to ease birth pains. A wolf's right paw, tied around ones throat, was believed to ease the swelling

It was widely believed that a horse that stepped in a wolf print would be crippled

The gaze of a wolf was once thought to cause blindness

The breath of the wolf could cook meat.

It was believed that Wolves sharpened their teeth before hunting

Dead wolves were buried at a village entrance to keep out other wolves (some farmers continue to shoot predators and hang them on fence posts to repel other predators.)

Travelers were warned about perils of walking through lonely stretches of woods, and stone shelters were built to protect them from attacks. Our modern word "loophole" is derived from the European term "loup hole," or wolf hole, a spy hole in shelters

Seeing a wolf - dumbness

Subcategory: Wren

Harming a wren - broken bone


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