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Modem Graveyard in the Hills •There are abandoned graveyards, overgrown with weeds and sprouts, rocks for headstones without nameá, but there are many as carefully tended as this one. The building is a modern version of the arbors prepared for the preachers, mourners, and church members. 22 DEATH AND BURIAL IN THE MOUNTAINS: Superstitions, Customs, Practices Superstitions II by Judy Stewart The preceding installment (Summer 73) presented a large selection of superstitions related to signs or predictions of death. There were, also, many beliefs more specifically related to the dead, the funeral, and the grave. Some beliefs attributed magical or medicinal powers to the corpse or the grave, others served to regulate funeral activities and attitudes toward the grave, and still others were related to views about the afterlife of the soul. The general effect sought seemed to be that of engendering respect for the dead and providing proper decorum. Numerous superstitions existed about the magical powers of the corpse and about the relationship between the living and the corpse. Among those in the former group are: Birthmarks can be removed by rubbing the hand of a corpse on them. The corpse's hand can also cure eczema. The hlade used to shave a dead man will cure a corn if it is cut with the hlade. A cut on the body hy that same razor brings death. A bullet which has passed through a dead body brings good luck to one who wears it. To carry a dead man's hone in your pocket will bring you good luck if you play cards. Practices involving the living and the corpse include: Fear of dead people can he dispelled hy touching a corpse. (This practice is said to rid one of the fear of death also.) You need not fear being haunted by the spirit of the deceased if you touch his body, nor will you worry about him. The spirit of the deceased can be subdued if one puts a lock of his hair in a hole in a tree. If the hair is removed, the spirit will haunt you. The grave was also thought to have medicinal powers for the living. Warts disappear when dirt from a new grave is sprinkled on them. Numerous superstitions about funeral processions exist. A funeral procession should never cross a river. Three stops on the way to the cemetery signify three deaths to follow. If a wagon carrying a coffin gets stuck in a mudhole, another death will soon follow. If two white horses draw the wagon, a death will occur in the neighborhood within two months. One who comes to a funeral after the procession starts brings with him another death for the bereaved family. The corpse must not pass over the same part of the road twice. If a person drops out of a funeral procession, he will die next. Pointing your finger at a funeral procession brings bad luck. 23 A frightened horse in a funeral procession meant* another death in the family that year. A ldaek rat crossing in front of the procession brings death Io a relative of the deceased within three «lays. Another group offered warnings to those on their way to a funeral. Had luck was assured if one met any of the following on his way to a funeral: a li/ard, a white chicken , or a dog with hydrophobia. Those which apply to the hy-standers include: To avoid death walk in the same direction of the funeral procession. It if« had luck to count the number of vehicles in a funeral procession. Each vehicle represent!» one year until your death. It is unlucky to pass through a funeral procession. A group of superstitions attempt to explain the soul's destiny. A man who dies violently is destined to hell. Heaven will he the final resting place for the deceased's soul if a turtledove flies upward after death occurs. Your liody (after you «lie) will hum continuously if you hurn brush on Sunday. Burial on a rainy «lay reserves a place in heaven for the soul, as does thunder after the funeral. Mean Negroes return after death as mules. The souls of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2692-9287
Print ISSN
2692-9244
Pages
pp. 22-24
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-08
Open Access
No
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