Saturday, October 13, 2012

Charms Used to Ward off Ghosts

As long as people have believed in ghosts, there have been countless “charms” described in the US, Great Britain, and Northern Europe that will keep spirits away from humans. * 

Of course all of these are based in Old Wives’ Tales, folklore and superstitions. I decided to write about them here because they are really fascinating and one has to wonder how people came to these conclusions.

For instant, did you know?

That a cock crowing in the morning is a charm against ghosts because at daybreak ghosts have to disappear. I guess the ghosts that are seen during the day don’t know this.

Hansel and Gretel used breadcrumbs so they would not lose their way home but did you know breadcrumbs are a charm against ghosts. The belief is if you have to walk along a lonely road alone at night, you must put breadcrumbs in your pockets. This will not only protect you against ghosts but also keep you from being scared.

Here’s one everyone should know—if you see a ghost all you have to do is be brave enough to walk around it nine times and it will disappear.

Did you know?

If you walk past a place at night that is known to be haunted just turn your pockets inside out and any ghosts about will not be able to harm you.

Both in Great Britain and the United States, the belief is if you leave a light on in one room of your home a ghost will never approach it especially if you use lit candles, which are considered powerful protection.

If you have ghosts in your home—you must scatter ashes on your floors, the next day if you see footprints in these ashes, it means the spirits will not return.

Did you know?

Ringing bells and banging on pots and pans usually make ghosts leave in a hurry. The reason for this is spirits can’t stand these noises. It is said Church bells especially are useful in this endeavor.

A classic belief is if you can call the ghost by their name it will banish them for good.

Ghosts can’t cross running water. So the belief is people must somehow get to the middle of a body of water or at least run across a bridge with flowing water below to avoid them.

An old belief is if you walk along a country lane, at night and see a ghost you must cross the road because spirits cannot cross a pathway to follow you. It is believed that once they are in a lane they are trapped—in other words, they have to continue following the same path so humans should just alter their route.

Did you know?

 You should always carry a key. The reason for this is you can get rid of a ghost by throwing this key at them.

Another belief is that you should always carry a knife. An old theory is ghosts are afraid of being cut.

Around Christmas people should carry holly because it is an evergreen. The belief is ghosts have no power over evergreens.

Did you know?

Last but not least...

Nets, sieves, and screens are considered to be suitable barriers against ghosts. The reason for this if they are hung over a keyhole no spirit can get in because they have to stop and count the holes, so it takes then past daybreak to finish counting them--this means just like the original charm on this list they just disappear. 

Another belief along this line involves leaving a newspaper close to a door or window because the spirit has to count every word before entering. 

In the Antebellum South people would wallpaper their walls with newspapers, first and foremost to insulate their homes but these newspapers were also used to confuse ghosts which it was said would have to read every single word before they could hurt someone.

I know these beliefs may sound silly, but fear and the power of suggestion often reinforced the views above. In fact, for years they were commonly practiced among people who believed they needed protection from ghosts.

*  Several of these charms were also used to ward off other dark forces, such as evil entities, witches, etc.

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