Old -Time Pennsylvania German Homestead Superstitions

Every once in a while I’ll run across a Pennsylvania folk belief that is taken as more than just a custom or superstition.
The two that I hear most often are:

  •   Keep a smelly Billy goat with your cows and they’ll never get sick.
  •   Cure a scouring calf by feeding it a whole egg – egg shell and all.

I was first told about scouring calves and eggs almost 30 years ago by an old-timer who had been a dairy farmer for many years. At that time I had a young calf sick with  watery, yellow diarrhea. According to the old farmer’s advice I was to shove an entire egg down the throat of the calf.

Well to make a long story short, my calf was at death’s door and was probably going to die. I had nothing to lose by pushing an egg down its throat. So I did. It may have just been a coincidence, but that calf lived another 2 years and finally ended up in my freezer.

Holstein Calf

Webster Got An Entire Egg Shoved Down His Throat

Over the years I’ve collected many Pennsylvania German folk beliefs and superstitions. I thought I’d share a few:

  • To prevent abortion in cows hang a dog skull in the cow barn.
  • Never sew anything while the person is wearing it.
  • When you leave the house don’t turn back for something you forgot unless you sit down first.
  •  A witch cannot cross a blue threshold.
  •   If a bat flies in your house it’s a sure sign the devil is after you.
  • If you carry the 91st Psalm into battle the bullets will not harm you.
  •  Sneeze before breakfast and you will have company that day.
  • If you receive money before 9 in the morning you will receive money all week. If you pay out money before 9 you will be paying out all week.
  •  Never wash clothes on Wednesday. Cattle may die and bad luck will come to those who do.
  • If you pick your teeth with a toothpick made from a lightning struck tree you will cure the toothache but the tooth will decay.
  • Shoot a cat and your luck is gone.
  •   If you want large cucumbers have a man plant them.
  •   Call a dog “Water” or “Fire” and he can’t be bewitched.
  •   If your gun is bewitched stick two pins on it in the form of a cross.
  •   Egg shells should always be burned or crushed small to prevent chickens from being bewitched.
  •   With a newly married couple, the first to go to sleep on the wedding night will be the first to die.
  •   Move the bee hive when a funeral leaves the house or else the bees will die.
  •   When a dog drags its rear it’s the sign of a wedding.
  •   Don’t turn the wheels of a buggy or wagon backwards while greasing or fixing the wheels. You’ll have a breakdown and the witches will bother you.



Go ahead. Share it!...Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponDigg thisPrint this pageEmail this to someone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *