FANNY D. BERGEN
FANNY D. BERGEN
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.
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.
148. A mole on the eyebrow denotes that one will be hanged. On the ear it
denotes that he will be drowned.
149. Mole above breath
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.
152. A mole on the side of the neck means a death by hanging.
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:
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
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
and Smoke.--Human Beings.--Meteorological Phenomena.--Money
and Metals.--Teeth.--Water.--Weddings and Funerals.--
IX. LUCK 79
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
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
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