Advanced search

Old wives tales!

(97 Posts)
Alfiesmom74 Fri 18-Jan-19 09:16:22

Yesterday was the first time I’ve ever gone out with damp hair after always thinking that if you go out in the cold with wet hair you’ll catch the flu/pneumonia. What old wives tales have you believed in?

Alfiesmom74 Fri 18-Jan-19 09:16:40

Old wives tales!

Meralia Fri 18-Jan-19 09:47:01

Eating cheese before bed can cause nightmares.

toriatoriatoria Fri 18-Jan-19 09:54:27

Waiting an hour after eating before going swimming.

VictoriaBun Fri 18-Jan-19 09:59:04

My mum's were - it's bad luck to put a pair of new shoes on the table, also don't walk under a ladder I might still be doing this

babycatcher411 Fri 18-Jan-19 09:59:17

‘Oh that bump is so low, you’ve got to be carrying a girl’

ChampooPapi Fri 18-Jan-19 10:03:15

Putting butter or oil on a burn! and then adding flour.

This was actually one going round in the late 60s when my mother was nursing and it essentially bakes the skin.

Really dangerous old wife tale especially when regarding infants

Ginkythefangedhellpigofdoom Fri 18-Jan-19 10:03:56

The ladder, the shoes.

It's bad luck to gift someone a purse without putting a little money in it. 20p or something normally does.

A rowan tree next to the gate protects the property from the bad things like witches and the like (I don't have a rowen tree)

HowlsMovingBungalow Fri 18-Jan-19 10:06:12

Saluting magpies. DP is always doing it.

I do the new shoe thing - never put them on a table or work surface.

FruminousBandersnatch Fri 18-Jan-19 10:08:06

Vinegar can be used instead of sunscreen.

Whyislarryhappy Fri 18-Jan-19 10:09:37

Wee gets rid of warts and veruccas - apparently this worked for someone I know!

HappydaysArehere Fri 18-Jan-19 10:09:38

Never give someone something sharp so they must give you a penny for it.

EwItsAHooman Fri 18-Jan-19 10:13:42

Vinegar can be used instead of sunscreen

I heard a variation on this one, vinegar rubbed into sunburn to take the sting out.

kalinkafoxtrot45 Fri 18-Jan-19 10:15:11

Kill a spider and it’ll rain.

bakebakebake Fri 18-Jan-19 10:25:12

It's bad luck to cross on the stairs.

My 6 year old won't even cross the cat on the stairs just incase haha.

Alfiesmom74 Fri 18-Jan-19 10:36:26

Bloody hell you’d smell like a bag of fish and chips hahaha!!

Alfiesmom74 Fri 18-Jan-19 10:37:54

You’ll be in agony but throw some eggs in there and you’ve got yourself a nice Victoria sponge lol!

Alfiesmom74 Fri 18-Jan-19 10:38:38

Never heard that one before.

ChairmanMiaow123 Fri 18-Jan-19 10:43:08

If my nan ever dropped cutlery, she’d always say ‘Knife on the floor. Man at the door’.

Nope...not the foggiest! confused

snowie01 Fri 18-Jan-19 10:46:35

Every time I see and ambulance I say and do the actions "touch my collar touch my knee thank god it wasn't me" hmm my mums fault

ChairmanMiaow123 Fri 18-Jan-19 10:47:00

I always salute a single magpie, Howls. So many of these things are ingrained in me from my parents.

My husband always laughs at me for some of the daft things i do, cos he’d never even heard of some of them.
Maybe it’s an East End, thing...i dunno.

CantWaitToRetire Fri 18-Jan-19 10:47:38

Don't put new shoes on the table
Walking under a ladder (though I think that one is common sense)
Rubbing a gold wedding ring on a sty on the eye to get rid of it
Don't open an umbrella indoors
Swinging a wedding ring over a baby bump to tell the sex
Pull out a grey hair and two will grow in its place
Spilling salt brings bad luck
Breaking a mirror brings 7 years bad luck
Bad luck comes in threes

These are all ones my DM used to come out with grin

CantWaitToRetire Fri 18-Jan-19 10:48:44

DM also used to say "new house, new baby". I think she was desperate for a DGC when we moved house, but it was another 4 years before we obliged!

BloodyDisgrace Fri 18-Jan-19 11:07:27

That's exactly how I'd get a cold: wet hair and going out, so I stopped even going for a swim in winter because getting out after all that warm air from a hair dryer and int the cold used to give me a cold. And cold sores as well. Never flu or pneumonia though.

It must have something to do with getting cold quickly if you have wet hair and, when you are cold, you are more likely to be affected by the germs around. So no, I don't think this one is old wife tale.

Alfiesmom74 Fri 18-Jan-19 11:14:46

It makes sense doesn’t it so I couldn’t believe it when everybody laughed at the suggestion.

Eliza9917 Fri 18-Jan-19 11:39:57

Don't put new shoes on the table
Walking under a ladder (though I think that one is common sense)
Rubbing a gold wedding ring on a sty on the eye to get rid of it
Don't open an umbrella indoors
Swinging a wedding ring over a baby bump to tell the sex
Pull out a grey hair and two will grow in its place
Spilling salt brings bad luck - chuck the spilled salt over your left shoulder
Breaking a mirror brings 7 years bad luck
Bad luck comes in threes

All of these plus walking over 3 drains is bad luck, as is walking under a street sign or scaffolding that straddles the pavement. I also say 'Good day Mr Magpie, how's your family?' whenever I see one on its own.

Eliza9917 Fri 18-Jan-19 11:40:41

I always toast a new house when I move in too.

Tonightstheteriyakichicken Fri 18-Jan-19 11:44:23

Saluting magpies reminds me that a colleague used to say when she saw a lone magpie,
"Hello Mr Magpie, where's your mate?"
First time I rattled that off in front of then DP he thought I'd gone mad.

OohToBeAah Fri 18-Jan-19 12:27:18

When I was a child, my wonderful granny told me that if I didn't eat my crusts then I wouldn't get curly hair.

In my 3 year old wisdom, I didn't want curly hair. I liked my messy, but sort of straight hair. So I didn't eat my crusts.

I'm 28 years old, and I have a huge, thick mop of curly hair 🙄

And I still don't eat my crusts.

HebeMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 18-Jan-19 12:31:41

@bakebakebake It's nigh on impossible NOT to cross our cat on the stairs. The bastard trips you up by weaving between your legs as you walk! In fact, it clearly IS bad luck because I've almost broken my neck several times as a direct result!

My nan used to turn mirrors to face the wall during a thunderstorm. No idea why. Do mirrors conduct electricity?

Winterfellwonderland Fri 18-Jan-19 12:35:44

Shameless place mark

Frlrlrubert Fri 18-Jan-19 12:58:31

I don't do superstitions, so most make me 🙄

I'd never heard the 'never gift something sharp' one until recently.

I have a friend who's really weird about stepping on cracks, and turns everything electrical off at the first sign of thunder.

The ones around having baby things in the house before the birth seem particularly cruel to me. As if the presence of a pushchair could damage your unborn child!

Ladders seems sensible though, and saluting magpies is cute.

Whoopsies Fri 18-Jan-19 12:59:56

@Champoopapi My uncle still has a scar on his eyebrow from where my dad put butter on a bump when they were kids....He used a bread knife to apply it!!!

NoonAim Fri 18-Jan-19 13:11:56

I've never heard of saluting magpies!

My Dgran used to say that dropping a knife meant a visit from a man, a fork meant a woman and a spoon a fool confused

Ifangyow Fri 18-Jan-19 13:24:20

Don't reach up when pregnant, you will give the baby a flat back confused
Said to me by my shocked grandmother when she saw me pegging the laundry out when I was having my first.
Also, never get your feet wet when having your period ( to this day I don't know what bad luck will come of that )
Apparently it's bad luck to fall UP the stairs.....well in my bloody experience it's worse luck to fall DOWN them!

Alanamackree Fri 18-Jan-19 13:25:25

A robin coming into the house is a warning of impending death.

If you’re making a funny face the wind could change and you’d be stuck like that.

If you give a knife as a gift you sever the relationship (hence the exchange of a penny so you’ve paid for it)

A gift of pearls means you’ll shed a tear for every pearl.

Never look at the new moon through glass

When planting seeds -one for the worm, one for the crow, one for God and one to grow.

Alanamackree Fri 18-Jan-19 13:26:04

Oh and it’s lucky to get pooed on by a bird. Right.

MacarenaFerreiro Fri 18-Jan-19 13:27:06

Sitting on a cold wall gives you piles.

rosie39forever Fri 18-Jan-19 13:32:28

Too much vinegar will dry your blood up🤣

QuestionableMouse Fri 18-Jan-19 13:35:20

Mirrors used to be made from metal so I guess they could have theoretically attracted lightening.

No shoes on the table because it's bad luck.
Killing spiders is bad luck (my theory is this come from the fact that clean spiders webs can be used to help wounds clot. No spiders, no webs and you'd be stuck in an emergency)
If you don't crush egg shells before you put them in the bin, the witches will attack sailors at sea.

Ifangyow Fri 18-Jan-19 13:39:41

Another one of my grandmother's......drinking a hot drink too quickly will make your blood boil 😂
The only time my blood is boiling with steam coming out of my ears as I gulp my coffee is when i receive the new council tax bill.

AnyoldAnna Fri 18-Jan-19 13:40:14

Two spoons - two husbands. I think that’s right. I always salute a magpie.

I blame my DF he is very superstitious!

myidentitymycrisis Fri 18-Jan-19 13:51:20

I think the wet hair = cold and eating before swimming = cramp are old wives tales.

I think things like walking under ladders = bad luck, and shoes on the table are superstitions.

I used to believe the first two by the way.

MulticolourMophead Fri 18-Jan-19 13:56:32

DM also used to say "new house, new baby". I think she was desperate for a DGC when we moved house, but it was another 4 years before we obliged!

I've moved house in the last year. I'm 50, no baby here grin

SpoonBlender Fri 18-Jan-19 14:05:08

Cold noses do encourage cold viruses - if you inhale someone else's, the little bastards are more likely to survive and multiply in cooler rather than warmer noses.

Wet hair definitely doesn't, unless it chills you enough to cool your nose down. Which it might on a cold day I guess?

Not going under a ladder is simple common sense, you might get things dropped on you.

Stroller15 Fri 18-Jan-19 14:05:27

Oh we had all of these! And eating pumpkin will give you curly hair. Eating watermelon seeds will have one grow in your tummy. Right hand itches you're going to give money, left hand lose money (or other way round, I never remember!) My DG also said ladies that sat on kitchen counters didn't get married.

KittensAndCake Fri 18-Jan-19 14:06:32

If you don't crush egg shells before you put them in the bin, the witches will attack sailors at sea.

🤣 How random

Bluntness100 Fri 18-Jan-19 14:11:11

I think thr no shoes on the tables goes back to thr plague or something, it was about germs and subsequent risk as people ate at the table.

I saw someone salute a magpie a few weeks ago for the first time. I was totally bemused. I looked at rhe magpie and at the person and thought did he just salute that magpie 🤣

gentlyscented Fri 18-Jan-19 14:13:00

Can't wash your hair while your on your period. So I walked around for a week with greasy hair 😩

Birdsgottafly Fri 18-Jan-19 14:16:19

Before we laugh at old Wives, just remember that they were telling the doctors that their babies could see, when the doctors decided that human babies were born blind.

They also got the on-demand feeding right and more Women died at the hands of early doctors than they did when a local experienced Woman oversaw a Birth.

There's loads others that I could list.

But, yes they were right about being cold, helped you get a cold. Less relevent today, if you live in a modern house etc.

gentlyscented Fri 18-Jan-19 14:17:50

Heartburn means your baby will have lots of hair. My 5 babies all had lots of hair but only one gave me heartburn!!

If you drop a knife you can't pick it up yourself, have to get someone else too 🤷🏻‍♀️ your fucked if your home alone!

gentlyscented Fri 18-Jan-19 14:19:03

@Ifangyow yep I was told never to reach up too 🤦🏻‍♀️

ChairmanMiaow123 Fri 18-Jan-19 14:20:07

It’s funny you should say that Stroller, cos a friend of my mum’s used to regularly say to me (cos i used to sit on the kitchen table), ‘tables are for glass, not little arses’. 😉

Clawdy Fri 18-Jan-19 14:22:50

Saw the ambulance one upthread, we said something similar "Touch your knee, touch your nose, Never go in one of those!" I've wondered since if the touching thing is linked with making the sign of the cross!

gentlyscented Fri 18-Jan-19 14:25:30

My mother wouldn't let us cut our hair or nails on a Sunday. No idea what that was about 🙄

BlooperReel Fri 18-Jan-19 14:26:58

I've heard a lot of these but have no truck with superstitions, I do find the 'folk lore' behind them fascinating though.

ChairmanMiaow123 Fri 18-Jan-19 14:28:23

I remember seeing something in that vein, actually, Birds, when it was only midwives who would deliver babies and the particular seat the pregnant woman sat on during labour looked ridiculously clever.

It was all about using gravity and the pregnant woman’s comfort, whereas when doctors/men became more involved, the woman gave birth on her back; which included the use of stirrups.

There’s one of these birthing chairs/stools in the Wellcome Collection, i think.

Pugwash1 Sat 19-Jan-19 08:43:29

I always salute a single magpie and say "morning Mr Magpie" although have no idea why! Spilling salt and throwing some over your shoulder, itchy palms depending on which one means you will either give or receive money, ladders, black cats, the list goes on for me! In Hampshire we also have the Hag Stones story, stones with complete holes through them and if you spit through the hole and make a wish it comes true and they ward off evil spirits. I also have my own where if I find an elastic band I always pick it up for luck and then dispose of it when I go to bed. I consider them very lucky as once found one when on my way to an interview and my hair band broke and this saved the day and also once a huge file with important documents broke and I found a large elastic band that kept everything together before I could get it home safely. DH and friends think I'm mad but always guve me Hag Stones and tell me if they have found an elastic band! Also finding a penny and giving it away. When I was little I used to kiss new shoes before putting them on a table as felt sure this would stop the bad luck. Still do this now!

Pugwash1 Sat 19-Jan-19 08:50:04

Rembered another one. We sail and it's considered unlucky to change a boat name, so if you do you have to do a rather lovely ceremony to Neptune, make a toast, pour some overboard for Neptune, splash some on the deck and place a gold coin under the mast. Except the sodding thing rolled around like a marble in the bilges annoying the hell out of us until we managed to find it and superglue it in place!

misskatamari Sat 19-Jan-19 09:00:18

I say hello to magpies. And the most random one - i think my friend got it from her mum and then got me doing it when we lived together - touch red when you see a royal mail van. The extra bonkers bit is she decided that you should also count to 8 (thankfully not out loud!) when touching the red thing. And yes, i actually do this. Don't know why as i'm not superstitious but it's a habit now lol

ShadowsInTheDarkness Sat 19-Jan-19 09:17:52

In our family we always did "the doors" at midnight on new years eve, and no one else I talk to has ever heard of it - We had to open the back door to let the old year out and then rush to the front door to let the new year in. Any one else? I still do it, and my grandmother used to be really anxious about never only opening the back door as then you were in a kind of yearless limbo and bad spirits could come through. So we always ran to open the front door as soon as the old year was out the back!!

I dont salute magpies but always look for a 2nd as "one for sorrow, two for joy". And touch wood if we are talking about something going well or a run of good luck. Also grew up with "companys coming" if a broom or mop fell over. I'm sure there are lots more but Id love to find anyone else who has heard of the doors thing?

DaphneDiligaf Sat 19-Jan-19 09:26:34

I had forgotten the doors one on New Years Eve but we did that too when I was a child.
Always salute lone magpies and you are supposed to say Good morning Mr Magpie, how's your wife and children so it implies there are more than one which is lucky.
I always heard shoes on table was unlucky because that was the height of a persons feet if they were being hanged.
If you spill salt you have to throw a bit over your shoulder to blind the devil.

By the way I used to work in a swimming pool and we do really prefer people (especially children) not to eat for half an hour before swimming.
Things like an apple a day of course now certainly have been proved to be good advice.

vampirethriller Sat 19-Jan-19 09:34:28

When I was pregnant I had horrific heart burn and everyone told me the baby would have a lot of hair. I didn't believe a word of it but she was the hairiest baby this side of actually being a werewolf. Her ears and forehead had hair (ears still do) and she's got long curly hair. It came right down her cheeks.
I'm not convinced it has anything to do with heartburn though!

CrossedToTheDarkSide Sat 19-Jan-19 09:42:01

@ShadowsInTheDarkness I am sure I have heard the doors one from my Gran!! We spent the millennium New Year with her (though I was only 7 at the time) and I swear as soon as I read your comment about doors I vividly remember being at hers and her saying the same thing.
I’m seeing her later so I’ll ask and report back!!

gentlyscented Sat 19-Jan-19 09:46:46

@ShadowsInTheDarkness yes we do the doors thing too

DSHathawayGivesMeFannyGallops Sat 19-Jan-19 09:55:01

My mum had horrendous heartburn when pg, eventually the pharmacy gave her a dispensary sized bottle of gaviscon & kept refilling it for her. Lo and behold, as predicted by the midwives I had a beautiful head of hair. Masses of it. It never fell out or rubbed off either and I still have thick hair.

DM loves aniseed gaviscon though and aniseed and liquorice flavours. I loathe them, I'm sure it's from the amount she used to swill whilst pregnant!

LinoleumBlownapart Sat 19-Jan-19 09:55:46

l always salute magpies

DH is Brazilian and there's a Brazilian old wives tale that if you don't put your shoes straight or tidy away your shoes, then your mother will get sick or die. DH is a always telling the kids to straighten their shoes, which I suppose I should be flattered about and it's a ironic really because he throws his shoes in the cupboard any old which way. But then MIL is cast iron grin

LinoleumBlownapart Sat 19-Jan-19 10:01:38

Pugwash, I remember that one. If you change the name don't you have to remove the boat from the water and completely repaint it? I remember someone changing the name of a canal barge near my aunties house once. Sure enough a year later, it was half sunk on its mourings and looking awful.

FrenchyQ Sat 19-Jan-19 10:05:04

This one comes from my Nan.... Never wash clothes on New years day as you'll was someone out of your life.

Me and my mum still do husband thinks i'm mental

I do the shoes on the table too....he also thinks i'm mental for that too!

But he comes from the Isle of Man where its bad luck to say the word rat (called long tails, little fellas etc instead)

bridgetosomewhere Sat 19-Jan-19 10:25:24

My grandma used to cover mirrors up at night. No idea why

Never pass on the stairs

New shoes

IsItThatTimeAgain Sat 19-Jan-19 10:32:21

I hate old wives tales, my Mother's never heard an old wives tale she didn't believe. Since I've had a baby she now passes it down as if it's actual viable advice, rather than the made up bullshit any reasonable person knows it to be.

vampirethriller Sat 19-Jan-19 10:41:26

Oh and my great grandmother used to crush the shells if she used eggs otherwise witches could use them to make boats.

Judashascomeintosomemoney Sat 19-Jan-19 10:57:26

Spilling salt brings bad luck
Unless you then throw some over your shoulder. Except I can’t remember which one, so......

SheSnapsThenSheFarts Sat 19-Jan-19 12:53:58

I had to put up with not having a bath or washing my hair when I had my period, also that only married women could use tampons. Even at 12 I knew this to be bullshit and to be ignored. So I did, much to my mothers annoyance....

MulticolourMophead Sat 19-Jan-19 13:59:47

Heartburn means your baby will have lots of hair.

I had the most awful heartburn both times. Both of my DC came out with hardly any hair grin

Marshmallow91 Sat 19-Jan-19 14:14:17

It's bad luck to have a pram in the house before baby is born - which is why my mum is currently holding mines hostage until my little girl makes her appearance in a couple weeks grin

either salute or address a lone magpie - I do this every time, normally "hello Mr Magpie", but in my defence I also say hello to pigeons, crows, snails; pretty much everything... My partner is used to it now blush

KissingInTheRain Sat 19-Jan-19 14:18:41

Change the name but not the letter
Marry for worse and not for better

BagofTeeth Sat 19-Jan-19 14:28:38

"Shoes on the bed, never get wed"

I figured since I'm married now it's ok if I want to put new shoes on my bed before they get put away.

Moanger Sat 19-Jan-19 14:36:11

I always used to get complained at by a friend for passing salt the wrong way down the table. I still don’t know where that came from.

In the woods close to where my Nan used to live, there was some white flowers (cow parsley) and everyone called them mother-die. If you were to pick them and take them home to your mum she would die. I never tried it out!

Another one with heartburn and kids with lots of hair.

sueelleker Sat 19-Jan-19 18:17:24

Sitting on radiators (old school type) will give you piles.
And my Mum used to turn the telly off if we had a thunderstorm-I suppose it was in case the aerial got struck by lightning and conducted it into the house.

labazsisgoingmad Sat 19-Jan-19 18:27:41

in our family if you salute a magpie you say 'good morning mr magpie hows your wife?'

labazsisgoingmad Sat 19-Jan-19 18:28:45

if you pick dandelions it means you will wet the bed still very wary of the yellow things

labazsisgoingmad Sat 19-Jan-19 18:34:52

on new years eve a dark haired man must bring a piece of coal in handy really in our house dad had dark hair!

MulticolourMophead Sat 19-Jan-19 19:32:46

I don't wet the bed and I've picked loads of dandelions. In fact isn't dandelions root used in coffee substitutes?

Clawdy Sat 19-Jan-19 20:27:32

Apparently dandelion leaves are diuretic. And the French nickname for dandelions is pis -en -lit. Which translates as wet the bed!

MulticolourMophead Sat 19-Jan-19 22:46:06

And my Mum used to turn the telly off if we had a thunderstorm-I suppose it was in case the aerial got struck by lightning and conducted it into the house.

You can ground the aerial to reduce the risk. Not sure I'm physically up for doing this, though.

Biggerknickersagain Sat 19-Jan-19 23:12:03

I salute a single magpie, and don't cross on the stairs, I think they were just ingrained as a child tbh and something I do without thinking.
Interesting about the renaming of a boat, it's also considered unlucky to change a horses name, not sure if that's for the owner or the horse though 🤔

RubiksQueen Sat 19-Jan-19 23:16:11

My mum says the egg thing and this thread reminded me of it and I absolutely howled laughing. It's one of those things I'd never have remembered if someone hadn't reminded me.

Frankthebank Sat 19-Jan-19 23:19:17

How do people know the magpie is male?

Firesuit Sat 19-Jan-19 23:21:16

Eating cheese before bed can cause nightmares.

I'm not sure about nightmares, but it causes disturbed sleep and unusual dream patterns for me. (So does wine.)

Frankthebank Sat 19-Jan-19 23:22:27

A recent one. My mother reckons the heated seats in my car give you a kidney infection. As will sitting on a cold step. She's obsessed with kidney infections. Also you could never go outside or to bed without bone-dry hair or you would surely be struck down with double pneumonia.

ivykaty44 Sat 19-Jan-19 23:34:21

* heard a variation on this one, vinegar rubbed into sunburn to take the sting out.*

It works, due to the vinegar being acidic and helping return the skin to the correct ph it soothes greatly

elephantoverthehill Sat 19-Jan-19 23:42:43

I always knew it as 'never kiss on the stairs'.

DareDevil223 Sat 19-Jan-19 23:45:22

When I was at school in the dark ages 1980s you couldn't sit on a cold wall OR a hot radiator without being told that it would give you piles. grin

BunsOfAnarchy Sun 20-Jan-19 00:01:09

FML im Indian and we have more old wives tales than bloody old wives!

*dont wash your hair on a thursday (?)
*Bad luck to throw salt
*Dont sweep the floors at night (wtf)
*When youre talking about someone and they suddenly appear/suddenly call u (speak of the devil kind of moment) that person will have a long life.
*Dont leave the house at quarter to.
*Dont leave the house if u sneeze (wait about 2-3 mins post sneeze to leave)
*If u cry when peeling onions,means your MIL will adore u (true for me, my MIL was a diamond)
*if your babies hair grows with a circular pattern at the back of their head, your next child will be a boy

Ill have to remember a few more and add to the list later grin

BunsOfAnarchy Sun 20-Jan-19 00:03:09

Ooh! Just remembered!
*dont walk over or jump over someones legs, youll stunt their growth

rustytissues Sun 20-Jan-19 00:16:43

@EwItsAHooman vinegar does work on sunburn, tried and tested! 😂

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »