Friday, September 3, 2010

I probably have hundreds of ghosts all up in my nose hair.

When I was little, somebody told me that if you didn't hold your breath when you passed by a cemetery, something bad would happen.

I assumed ghosts would fly in through your nose, because why else would it matter?

Life in the Pitts

I told my sisters, and it became our favorite superstition. We never worried about black cats, ladders, or throwing salt over our shoulders. But whenever we drove by a cemetery, we made a point of holding our breath, and crossing our fingers.

(No, crossing your fingers wasn't part of the original superstition. But we figured it couldn't hurt.)

My dad caught on, and sometimes he would slow to a crawl when we drove by the tombstones. Our little faces would turn bright red, and we would start bouncing up and down anxiously.

Clearly, he had a terrible sense of humor.


Sometimes when I had friends in the car, I would try to do it subtly. Not because I was embarrassed, but because there simply wasn't time to explain. I would slouch down in my seat, and quietly hold my breath.

"Why are you crossing your arms like that?"

Because crossing your fingers once is good luck, and twice is bad luck. Obviously. Since I wanted both hands involved, I needed to counter-act the bad luck by crossing my arms, too.

I would have explained, but my dad was slowing down again, and I had to focus on holding my breath.

Life in the Pitts

By the time we were teenagers, we had it down to a science. If you saw headstones in the distance, you would nudge the person sitting next to you, and gesture with your eyes in an effort to keep dad from noticing. Then you would wait until the last possible second, and take a big gulp of air.

"I can see your eyes are crossed. Maybe I should slow down, and let you catch your breath."

Like I said, terrible sense of humor.

(yes, crossing our eyes WOULD have ruined it, but we crossed our legs, too.)

I haven't done this in years, mostly because trying to steer with your fingers, arms, eyes, and legs all crossed is a lot more difficult than it sounds.

Yeah. I probably have hundreds of ghosts all up in my nose hair.


It's been years since I've thought about this superstition. Amber reminded me of it when she was here, and when I explained it to Kurt, he didn't seem surprised.

He probably already knew about it, actually, since I am so predictable (jerk).


I don't really have any superstitions anymore. I check the doors before going to sleep, I glance in the back seat before getting in the car, and I try not to park next to big white vans when I'm at the grocery store. But those are just practical things.

Then again, most superstitions probably seem practical to the people who believe them.

For example: We've all heard stories of people who park next to big, windowless vans. They get dragged inside, and are never heard from again.

But a few hundred years ago if someone witnessed an abduction, and noticed a black cat watching from a nearby windowsill, they would have made the obvious connection.


(It's how that one started. Probably.)

Life in the Pitts

I wonder if anything we do right now will be considered a superstition by our grandchildren.

Things like....

....huh. I can't think of anything. Except for brushing your teeth and putting on deodorant. I'm not sure why those things came to mind right away. Maybe because I forgot both today?

Hopefully those don't go out of style.

I'll let you guys know if I think of any more.

Now if you'll excuse me, I am going to go look up superstitions on the internet.

Do you have any favorites?



Megan said...

You are hilarious. You had me at "This is Not a Craft Blog" and kept me the whole way through.

I was not a cemetery breath holder. I was a bridge breath holder. Because if I took a breath, the bridge would collapse. Or something.

Following you and subscribing, too.

the thrifty ba said...

ok i do breathe near cemeteries but i never walk under ladders. and when i used to act, i never spoke the word 'macbeth'. other people thought it was hysterical to bring it up, but i wouldnt and i never forgot my lines!

mypixieblog said...

I loved this post. I come from a very superstitious family so there were certain things I picked up way back when and I still can't kick them. I think it's bad luck to wish someone a happy birthday before the actual date, walk under ladders, arrange for travel on the 13th... normal stuff (I guess?). I love the holding of the breath at the cemetery though--that's a new one for me!

elizabeth @ twelvecrafts said...

did you grow up with my life? exact same cemetery superstition with the exact same reaction from my dad. ;)

Show Me Mama said...

I am your new follower. You can visit me at Make sure you leave a comment, so I know you visited :)Have a great labor day weekend!

Chantel said...

Haha! I love this post. And I love your pictures. How did you take one of a cat thinking that? :-P

Sometimes I'll still hold my breath when we drive my a cemetery.

Also, I have the same precautions about backseats and white vans.

The Rantings of a Drama Queen's Mum said...

I've heard of the cemetary thing before. I never did it. I won't walk under a ladder or open an umbrella in the house either. Oh, I also throw salt over my shoulder if I spill it.

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