15 Death Folklore Customs of Appalachia


Stevie Tombstone 2/2022

Many of these sayings and practices are rooted in traditions brought over from the Old World and Religious beliefs.

Stories and sayings were passed down as a tradition and as a way of life from generation to generation. From parent to child or thru the local healers the sayings and customs were preserved. To the folks who hail from the Appalachians the supernatural is just a palpable as their faith and these customs are unique to this area of the country . It affected every aspect of life from farming to burial customs.

The elders still know the old saying and old ways. I can personally say that growing up in the South I’ve heard more than a few of these.The mountains are mysterious and beautiful

Much of the folklore has a basis in truth to some degree.

Here are my top 15 dark customs and superstitions of Appalachia.

  • Death always comes in threes.

  • Mirrors must be covered after a death (to make sure the spirit finds its way out).

  • Howling dogs at night signify a death.

  • When someone dies, all the clocks must stop ( or cover the clocks).

  • It is very bad luck to walk on graves (disrespect ay cause the spirits to follow or attach).

  • Pregnant women should never look at a corpse (or it will mark the baby).

  • Bees signify death ( you must tell the hive the beekeeper has passed or the hive will swarm).

  • Never let a rocking chair stop on its own.

  • Hold your breath when you pass a graveyard ( otherwise a spirit may enter through your mouth and nose).

  • Never bring an axe or shovel in the house (it will bring death).

  • Don’t walk on someone's grave of they will haunt you .

  • Don’t talk in the graveyard or the spirits will follow you home.

  • If a bird flies in the house someone will die.

  • If a picture falls off the wall someone will die.

  • If you hear a screech owl at night someone will die.

Stevie Tombstone 2/2022