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Current Superstitions Collected from the Oral Tradition of English Speaking Folk by Fanny Dickerson Bergen (1846-1924) is useful book that makes one familiar with superstitions prevalent in 19th century America. It is a comprehensive survey of superstitions and beliefs of people classified into categories like childhood, love and marriage, dreams, weather, warts, cures and money etc. These superstions are still believed in by many either as such or in a modified form. The writer also analyses the mind and attitude of the masses who believe in them. Many of these superstions have astrological or occult values as they are still practised.


The writer says, "The record contained in the present volume forms the first considerable printed collection made in America of superstitions belonging to English-speaking folk."


Some of the beliefs presented in the book are:




126.  Beware of that man,

        Be he friend or brother,

      Whose hair is one color

        And moustache another.

          _Portland, Me._


127. The color of the hair growing on the neck indicates the color of the

hair of one's future husband.


128. A single white hair means genius; it must not be pulled out.


129. If you pull out a white hair, two will come in its place.

          _Somewhat general in the United States._


130. Hair growing upon the upper lip of a woman means riches.

          _Boston, Mass._





148. A mole on the eyebrow denotes that one will be hanged. On the ear it

denotes that he will be drowned.

          _Chestertown, Md._


149.  Mole above breath

      Means wealth.


150.  Moles on the neck,

      Money by the peck.

          _Prince Edward Island and Northern Ohio._


151. A mole on the neck indicates that its owner will be hanged.

          _Boston, Mass._


152. A mole on the side of the neck means a death by hanging.

          _Central Maine._





194. If a girl puts a two-leaved clover in her shoe, the first man who

comes on the side where the clover is will be her future husband.



195. Put a four-leaved clover in your shoe, and you will marry a man

having the first name of the man whom you meet first after doing it.

          _Province of Quebec._


196. With a four-leaved clover in your shoe, you will meet your lover.



197. If the finder of a four-leaved clover put it in her own shoe, she

will marry the first person with whom she crosses a bridge.



Usefulness of the book can be understood from having a look at its contents:




CHAP.                                                             PAGE

       INTRODUCTION                                                  1

    I. BABYHOOD                                                     21

        Baptism.--Physiognomy.--Introduction to the World.--First


   II. CHILDHOOD                                                    26



  III. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS                                     32

        Beauty.--Dimple.--Ears.--Eyes and Eyebrows.--



   IV. PROJECTS                                                     38


        Buttons.--Four-leaved Clover.--Counting.--Daisy Petals.--

        Doorway.--Eggs.--Fingers.--Garments.--Letters of the


        Walking Abroad.--Water.--Various.

    V. HALLOWEEN AND OTHER FESTIVALS                                55

   VI. LOVE AND MARRIAGE                                            59

        Engagement.--Attire of the Bride.--Lucky Days.--The

        Marriage Ceremony.--Courting and Wedding Signs.

  VII. WISHES                                                       67

VIII. DREAMS                                                       70

        Animals.--Colors.--Dead Persons.--Earth.--Eggs.--Fire

        and Smoke.--Human Beings.--Meteorological Phenomena.--Money

        and Metals.--Teeth.--Water.--Weddings and Funerals.--


   IX. LUCK                                                         79


        Sweeping.--Turning Back.--Miscellaneous.

    X. MONEY                                                        87

   XI. VISITORS                                                     89

  XII. CURES                                                        94


XIII. WARTS                                                       101


  XIV. WEATHER                                                     106

        Cold.--Days and Times.--Fair or Foul.--Moon.--Rain.--Wind

        and Storm.

   XV. MOON                                                        117

        Divination.--Fortune.--Moonlight.--Wax and Wane.

  XVI. SUN                                                         123

        Domestic and Mechanical Operations.--Cures.

XVII. DEATH OMENS                                                 125

XVIII. MORTUARY CUSTOMS                                            131

  XIX. MISCELLANEOUS                                               134

        Actions.--Bodily Affections.--Apparel.--Customs.--Days.--

        Domestic Life.--Various.

       NOTES                                                       151


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Copyright:  2009  Standard Copyright License

Language: English

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