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Old Wives’ Tales – 3rd Installment (#16-27)

by Marquette Turner

in Features, Old Wives Club, Old Wives Tales

Old Wives’ tales are urban legends, throughout the world. And, regardless of how much truth they hold or how much superstition they suggest, the advice on nutrition, puberty, manners, and pregnancy, to name but a few topics, are fun to read nonetheless.

In this article I’m looking at the “tales” on sneezing, yawning, shivering, coughing and laughing:


16) A newborn child is said to be under ‘the fairy spells’ until it has sneezed for the first time.

17) It was believed that an idiot could not sneeze, so a child’s first sneeze was extremely important.

18) If you sneeze when talking you are telling the truth.

19) A sneeze suggests that someone, somewhere is saying good things about you.

20) It is unlucky to sneeze at the same time as someone who is with you.

21) Coughing means the entry of a devil into a person who has been telling lies.

22) Hiccups are caused by someone who dislikes you complaining to someone else. The only way to stop them is to guess the name of the person who is complaining about you.

23) Yawning leads to evil spirits entering your body unless you cover your mouth with your hand.

24) Yawning is a sign that death is calling you and you must snap your second finger and thumb to stop this.

25) A shiver means someone is walking on your (eventual) grave.

26) Laughing before breakfast means you will end in tears before dinner.

27) Laughing excessively means you are possessed and your days are numbered.


Definitely worth a chuckle, if not a grain of salt!

Christine Watson

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