Wednesbury superstitions.

The Wednesbury Comberfords had a family superstition that if three knocks were heard it was a death-warning.This soon became a Wednesbury superstition.

Another superstition was that of the Wednesbury colliers, who at certain times professed to hear at the “cole-pits” a noise in the air like that of a pack of hounds, which they called “Gabriel’s Hounds.

This superstition was to be worked up into a novel by that eminent novelist, Mrs. Henry Wood – who, by the way, is related by marriage to the Mills’ family, of Darlaston.

In the year 1667 a strange superstition was confessed to by “William Hopkins, of Wedgebury.” he said he had “Pythagoras’ Wheel” (whatever instrument of divination that may have been) “and could tell when an untruth was spoken.

Wednesbury miners would not work on Good Friday, or Old Christmas day, under any circumstances.

And after a fatal accident in a pit, till the dead man was buried nothing could tempt the survivors to work in the mine.

If the smoke incrusts the bars of the grate, and then gets loosened and hangs in a flake, it is said that a stranger will come.

As long as the flake does not blow into the fire, it is usual to clap hands near to it to create a wind, saying at each clap “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday etc.

On the day that the flake flies off, that is the day the stranger will come.

If a knife falls off the table, a male visitor may be expected and if a fork falls it we be a woman visitor.

It is unlucky to turn a chair all the way round on one leg.

It is a sign of a quarrel if two knives get crossed on the dinner table.

If a dog howls in front of a house, it is a sign of death in the family.

And if a person gives a sudden shiver, somebody is walking over the person’s future grave.

If the ear tingles, it is caused by some person not present speaking about you.

The nature of the remarks, being denoted by which ear was tingling. In the right bad or left ear good.

The proverb “Helping to salt, helping to sorrow” may be traced to the emblematical use of salt for sorrow, as the “sowing with salt” mentioned in the Bible.

The Wednesbury housewife is careful to mix her pudding with a spoon, because:

“..Mix with a knife,
Stir up strife.”

A belief in dreams had a firm hold upon Wednesbury people at one time.

But if a dream was “made out” nothing disastrous would ensue.

For instance, if the subject of the dream was supposed to be dead or ill, or in danger in some way, and the dreamer immediately after, or within a few days, saw or heard from the person affected by the foreboding. The dream was then made out.

In fact, if it was a “bad dream” great anxiety would be manifested to “make it out” by going out of their way to see this person.

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