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  #21  
Old 17 May 2007, 01:12 AM
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Luka_the_Pooka Luka_the_Pooka is offline
 
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I've always heard that a hawk circling overhead was a lucky omen, while a raven is a bad one.
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  #22  
Old 17 May 2007, 02:29 AM
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When I was a kid they always said if a pregnant woman looked at a snake it would "mark" the baby.
Sparklygirl
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  #23  
Old 17 May 2007, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by sparklygirl View Post
When I was a kid they always said if a pregnant woman looked at a snake it would "mark" the baby.
Sparklygirl
That sounds like "maternal impression" used to explain abnormalities in days befroe developmental abnormalities and genetic mutation was known. Hare lip was explained as "the pregnant mother was startled by a hare" and a performer known as the turtle woman was due to "the pregnant mother was startled by a turtle."
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  #24  
Old 17 May 2007, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by LadyAnnora View Post
My Grandmother was Japanese, and a Buddhist, and she always said that it was terrible bad luck to kill a spider, especially after dark. It had something to do with ancestors watching over you in the form of spiders. Unfortunately I can't remember the details, she died when I was young but my mother remembers the same thing. Has anyone more familiar with Japanese or Buddhist culture ever heard this?

Incidently I'm terribly arachniphobic, but can't shake the idea that I'm squishing a helpful grandparent or something. My ancestors have spent quite a lot of time under overturned drinking glasses waithing to be relocated!
Yes, I thought I heard that one many years ago. But I was looking around to confirm it and could only find this one: A spider in the morning is a good omen, while one at night is a bad omen. I found one site that says you were supposed to "kill a night spider even if it looks like your own parents!" and never to kill a morning spider "even if it looks like your parents' enemy!" Also, it was said that if a night spider comes in your home it is the sign that a burglar will also enter. After a cursory search, I wasn't able to find any mention of killing spiders in general so perhaps there isn't one. (I didn't get to the bottom of the ancestor thing yet, either.)

I think most people just accept the first part about not killing spiders but don't ever bother asking "why". (That's how it is for most superstitions.) I don't know many young people who follow this kind of thing except for perhaps by vague memories of something their parents told them.
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  #25  
Old 17 May 2007, 11:31 AM
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Tarquin Farquart Tarquin Farquart is offline
 
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Originally Posted by llewtrah View Post
That sounds like "maternal impression" used to explain abnormalities in days befroe developmental abnormalities and genetic mutation was known. Hare lip was explained as "the pregnant mother was startled by a hare" and a performer known as the turtle woman was due to "the pregnant mother was startled by a turtle."
I can understand a hare, but how can you a turtle startle you?
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  #26  
Old 17 May 2007, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Tarquin Farquart View Post
I can understand a hare, but how can you a turtle startle you?
Having grown up by a pond with snapping turtles, turtles can be QUITE startling.
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  #27  
Old 17 May 2007, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Tarquin Farquart View Post
I can understand a hare, but how can you a turtle startle you?
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  #28  
Old 18 May 2007, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Silkenray View Post
Having grown up by a pond with snapping turtles, turtles can be QUITE startling.

I can't remember the case, but it may have been a case of seeing a turtle (an unfamilar animal to the mother) in a public aquarium. Since the explanation was always retrospective (child has deformity, child has flipperlike limbs, child reminds me of turlte, I must have been startled by a turtle) the maternal impression explanation was pretty forced anyway.

(geeky mode) It's one of several discredited theories of inheritance from before the age of genetics (the bits below are summarised from my cat pages and info drawn from old books on animal breeding).

MULTIPLE SIRES - mating a female to 2 different males would mean the offspring inherited traits from both males - hopefully the best from each e.g. the tabby pattern from one male and the desired colour from the other male.

BLENDING - mating a black cat to a white cat would result in grey cats. Mating grey cats to white cats was believed to give paler grey cats. They were seeing the effect of polygenes, recessive and epistatic genes.

LAMARCKISM (INHERITANCE OF ACQUIRED TRAITS) - traits acquired during an individual's lifetime could be inherited by the offspring. Sometimes used to explain the Manx cat's taillessness - a cat whose tail had been cut off would pass on the trait of taillessness to the kittens. Before its tail was removed it would have tailed kittens.

MATERNAL IMPRESSION - the unborn offspring were affected by the mother's environment. The female could, therefore, be mated to a mediocre stud, but if the pregnant female was then housed in close proximity to outstanding examples of her own species, the sight of those animals would cause her to impress their characteristics onto her unborn young. On the other hand, if the pregnant mother was exposed to a bad example, that would be transmitted to her offspring. This led to some unusual advice on mating and housing cats in the 1800s!

PATERNAL IMPRESSION (TELEGONY) - a female's first ever mate had a permanent effect on her and would affect all of her future offspring, even those fathered by different males. If her first ever mate was an outstanding stud, that stud's characteristics would supposedly turn up in later litters fathered by other studs. If a female was mis-mated to a poor quality on moggy male she was "ruined for life" and would always produce tainted poor quality offspring. Many such females were needlessly destroyed. Common in dog-breeding e.g. a Staffie's first mate might be a bulldog and the puppies drowned; thereafter the Staffie bitch was mated to Staffie studs and the offspring would supposedly get the Bulldog's strength of jaw carried over from her first mating!

(end of geeky mode)
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  #29  
Old 18 May 2007, 06:49 AM
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From Gould & Pyle

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According to Pare, Damascene saw a girl with long hair like a bear, whose mother had constantly before her a picture of the hairy St. John. Pare also appends an illustration showing the supposed resemblance to a bear. Jonston quotes a case of Heliodorus; it was an Ethiopian, who by the effect of the imagination produced a white child. Pare describes this case more fully: "Heliodorus says that Persina, Queen of Ethiopia, being impregnated by Hydustes, also an Ethiopian, bore a daughter with a white skin, and the anomaly was ascribed to the admiration that a picture of Andromeda excited in Persina throughout the whole of the pregnancy." Van Helmont cites the case of a tailor's wife at Mechlin, who during a conflict outside her house, on seeing a soldier lose his hand at her door, gave birth to a daughter with one hand, the other hand being a bleeding stump; he also speaks of the case of the wife of a merchant at Antwerp, who after seeing a soldier's arm shot off at the siege of Ostend gave birth to a daughter with one arm. Plot speaks of a child bearing the figure of a mouse; when pregnant, the mother had been much frightened by one of these animals. Gassendus describes a fetus with the traces of a wound in the same location as one received by the mother. The Lancet speaks of several cases--one of a child with a face resembling a dog whose mother had been bitten; one of a child with one eye blue and the other black, whose mother during confinement had seen a person so marked; of an infant with fins as upper and lower extremities, the mother having seen such a monster; and another, a child born with its feet covered with scalds and burns, whose mother had been badly frightened by fireworks and a descending rocket. There is the history of a woman who while pregnant at seven months with her fifth child was bitten on the right calf by a dog. Ten weeks after, she bore a child with three marks corresponding in size and appearance to those caused by the dog's teeth on her leg. Kerr reports the case of a woman in her seventh month whose daughter fell on a cooking stove, shocking the mother, who suspected fatal burns. The woman was delivered two months later of an infant blistered about the mouth and extremities in a manner similar to the burns of her sister. This infant died on the third day, but another was born fourteen months later with the same blisters. Inflammation set in and nearly all the fingers and toes sloughed of. In a subsequent confinement, long after the mental agitation, a healthy unmarked infant was born.

Hunt describes a case which has since become almost classic of a woman fatally burned, when pregnant eight months, by her clothes catching fire at the kitchen grate. The day after the burns labor began and was terminated by the birth of a well-formed dead female child, apparently blistered and burned in extent and in places corresponding almost exactly to the locations of the mother's injuries. The mother died on the fourth day.

Webb reports the history of a negress who during a convulsion while pregnant fell into a fire, burning the whole front of the abdomen, the front and inside of the thighs to the knees, the external genitals, and the left arm. Artificial delivery was deemed necessary, and a dead child, seemingly burned much like its mother, except less intensely, was delivered. There was also one large blister near the inner canthus of the eye and some large blisters about the neck and throat which the mother did not show. There was no history of syphilis nor of any eruptive fever in the mother, who died on the tenth day with tetanus.

Graham describes a woman of thirty-five, the mother of seven children, who while pregnant was feeding some rabbits, when one of the animals jumped at her with its eyes "glaring" upon her, causing a sudden fright. Her child was born hydrocephalic. Its mouth and face were small and rabbit-shaped. Instead of a nose, it had a fleshy growth 3/4 inch long by 1/4 inch broad, directed upward at an angle of 45 degrees. The space between this and the mouth was occupied by a body resembling an adult eye. Within this were two small, imperfect eyes which moved freely while life lasted (ten minutes). The child's integument was covered with dark, downy, short hair. The woman recovered and afterward bore two normal children.

Parvin mentions an instance of the influence of maternal impression in the causation of a large, vivid, red mark or splotch on the face: "When the mother was in Ireland she was badly frightened by a fire in which some cattle were burned. Again, during the early months of her pregnancy she was frightened by seeing another woman suddenly light the fire with kerosene, and at that time became firmly impressed with the idea that her child would be marked." Parvin also pictures the "turtle-man," an individual with deformed extremities, who might be classed as an ectromelus, perhaps as a phocomelus, or seal-like monster. According to the story, when the mother was a few weeks pregnant her husband, a coarse, rough fisherman, fond of rude jokes, put a large live turtle in the cupboard. In the twilight the wife went to the cupboard and the huge turtle fell out, greatly startling her by its hideous appearance as it fell suddenly to the floor and began to move vigorously.

Copeland mentions a curious case in which a woman was attacked by a rattlesnake when in her sixth month of pregnancy, and gave birth to a child whose arm exhibited the shape and action of a snake, and involuntarily went through snake-like movements. The face and mouth also markedly resembled the head of a snake.

The teeth were situated like a serpent's fangs. The mere mention of a snake filled the child (a man of twenty-nine) with great horror and rage, "particularly in the snake season." Beale gives the history of a case of a child born with its left eye blackened as by a blow, whose mother was struck in a corresponding portion of the face eight hours before confinement. There is on record an account of a young man of twenty-one suffering from congenital deformities attributed to the fact that his mother was frightened by a guinea-pig having been thrust into her face during pregnancy. He also had congenital deformity of the right auricle. At the autopsy, all the skin, tissues, muscles, and bones were found involved. Owen speaks of a woman who was greatly excited ten months previously by a prurient curiosity to see what appearance the genitals of her brother presented after he had submitted to amputation of the penis on account of carcinoma. The whole penis had been removed. The woman stated that from the time she had thus satisfied herself, her mind was unceasingly engaged in reflecting and sympathizing on the forlorn condition of her brother. While in this mental state she gave birth to a son whose penis was entirely absent, but who was otherwise well and likely to live. The other portions of the genitals were perfect and well developed. The appearance of the nephew and the uncle was identical. A most peculiar case is stated by Clerc as occurring in the experience of Kuss of Strasburg. A woman had a negro paramour in America with whom she had had sexual intercourse several times. She was put in a convent on the Continent, where she stayed two years. On leaving the convent she married a white man, and nine months after she gave birth to a dark-skinned child. The supposition was that during her abode in the convent and the nine months subsequently she had the image of her black paramour constantly before her. Loin speaks of a woman who was greatly impressed by the actions of a clown at a circus, and who brought into the world a child that resembled the fantastic features of the clown in a most striking manner.

Mackay describes five cases in which fright produced distinct marks on the fetus. There is a case mentioned in which a pregnant woman was informed that an intimate friend had been thrown from his horse; the immediate cause of death was fracture of the skull, produced by the corner of a dray against which the rider was thrown. The mother was profoundly impressed by the circumstance, which was minutely described to her by an eye-witness. Her child at birth presented a red and sensitive area upon the scalp corresponding in location with the fatal injury in the rider. The child is now an adult woman, and this area upon the scalp remains red and sensitive to pressure, and is almost devoid of hair. Mastin of Mobile, Alabama, reports a curious instance of maternal impression. During the sixth month of the pregnancy of the mother her husband was shot, the ball passing out through the left breast. The woman was naturally much shocked, and remarked to Dr. Mastin: "Doctor, my baby will be ruined, for when I saw the wound I put my hands over my face, and got it covered with blood, and I know my baby will have a bloody face." The child came to term without a bloody face. It had, however, a well-defined spot on the left breast just below the site of exit of the ball from its father's chest. The spot was about the size of a silver half-dollar, and had elevated edges of a bright red color, and was quite visible at the distance of one hundred feet. The authors have had personal communication with Dr. Mastin in regard to this case, which he considers the most positive evidence of a case of maternal impression that he has ever met.
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  #30  
Old 20 May 2007, 12:47 AM
Gizmo
 
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Originally Posted by llewtrah View Post
I don't consider any animals unlucky, but I'm aware of several bad luck superstitions associated with animals.

Seeing a single magpie is supposed to be unlucky here ("one for sorrow ...") and rooks, ravens and crows are associated with death and doom.

A horse or pony with one or two white socks is unlucky ("one white leg - keep him not a day, two white legs - send him far away, three white legs - give him to a friend, four white legs - keep him to the end").
Yes, this is the version I've heard around here...
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  #31  
Old 20 May 2007, 12:50 AM
Gizmo
 
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Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
The version I heard as a child:

"Ladybird, ladybird fly away home
Your house is on fire, your children are gone
All except one, and that's little Ann
For she crept under the frying pan."

No idea what it's supposed to mean though.
Not heard of this one but I've heard similar: -

Two blue birds sitting on a wall,
Fly away Peter, fly away Paul,
Come back Peter, come back Paul...

Can't remember the rest of it as it's been donkey years since I heard this at school as a child of about 5 years old.
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  #32  
Old 20 May 2007, 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Gizmo View Post
Not heard of this one but I've heard similar: -

Two blue birds sitting on a wall,
Fly away Peter, fly away Paul,
Come back Peter, come back Paul...

Can't remember the rest of it as it's been donkey years since I heard this at school as a child of about 5 years old.
I think that's mostly all there is, but it has hand gestures as well. Starting with both fists and thumbs extended upwards (in the style if a Roman Emperor sparing a gladiator)

Two little dickie birds, sitting on a wall

One named Peter wiggle right thumb, one named Paul wiggle left thumb

Fly away Peter put right thumb down into fist, Fly away Paul put left thumb down into fist

Come back Peter raise right thumb and wiggle it, come back paul raise left thumb and wiggle it.
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  #33  
Old 20 May 2007, 10:56 AM
Gizmo
 
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Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
I think that's mostly all there is, but it has hand gestures as well. Starting with both fists and thumbs extended upwards (in the style if a Roman Emperor sparing a gladiator)

Two little dickie birds, sitting on a wall

One named Peter wiggle right thumb, one named Paul wiggle left thumb

Fly away Peter put right thumb down into fist, Fly away Paul put left thumb down into fist

Come back Peter raise right thumb and wiggle it, come back paul raise left thumb and wiggle it.
Many thanks Eddylizard, I had left this line out: One named Peter wiggle right thumb, one named Paul wiggle left thumb

Interesting to note the use of thumbs.

I think if I were to sing this along with the children, I'd probably use two hands with thumbs linking together, in a flapping motion for "Fly away."
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  #34  
Old 09 June 2007, 04:01 PM
Muchita
 
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This page lists a lot of "lucky" and "unlucky" animals.

http://www.doghause.com/superstitions.asp
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  #35  
Old 09 June 2007, 07:38 PM
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I'm with whoever said it's interesting that there are two opposite versions of the myth about horse hooves. I actually was quite fond of that one as a child though... my Dad got my pony cheap because his previous owner believed that crud lol. And he never did have any hoof problems.

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Originally Posted by me, no really View Post
Hmmm, we are in a really bad drought at present. I wonder how many I need to squish...
No doubt! I'd spend all day every day squishing them if it would help! Colorado is drought-ish too for the last several years. Our usual afternoon thunderstorms have become our "once, maybe twice a week" thunderstorms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyAnnora View Post
Incidently I'm terribly arachniphobic, but can't shake the idea that I'm squishing a helpful grandparent or something. My ancestors have spent quite a lot of time under overturned drinking glasses waithing to be relocated!
Thanks for the new mind worm... now all I can think about is a little old lady under a drinking glass shouting to be let out (using all three of your names of course, grandparents always use your full name when yelling at you lol) and beating on the glass lol.
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  #36  
Old 10 June 2007, 08:46 PM
kajerayn kajerayn is offline
 
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Thanks a lot Eddy! If my baby is born all turtle-y I'm blaming you!
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  #37  
Old 11 June 2007, 08:20 AM
Kutter
 
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Well, my mom was frightened by an alligator while pregnant with me, and I have scales (the skin condition Icthyosis lamellar). Of course I know the two aren't really related but it does make an interesting little story.

While I can't think of any animals that I was ever told were inherently unlucky, my mom did consider killing a cricket in the house to be so.
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