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Superstitons in the 1800's

A list of superstitions from the novel Tom Sawyer

Sabrina Sori

on 1 May 2013

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Transcript of Superstitons in the 1800's

By:Sabrina Sori & Alfonso Betancourt Superstitions in the 1800's The Bleeding Wound of a Dead Man Points to the Murderer Worms and a
New Suit of Clothes Rattlesnake Rattles
and Cramps Friday is Bad Luck Cure to Warts in Spunk Water Dead Cats and Warts "Injun Joe helped to raise the body of the murdered man and put it in a wagon for removal; and it was whispered through the shuddering crowd that the wound bled a little!
'It was within three feet of Muff Potter when he done it.'"

The superstition is that when a murderer touches a corpse that he killed, the wound will bleed once more. "Then Joe and Huck had another swim, but Tom would not venture, because he found that in kicking off his trousers he had kicked his string of rattlesnake rattles off his ankle, and he wondered how he had escaped cramp so long without the protection of this mysterious charm. "

This superstition is that without Tom's rattlesnake rattles, he would get many cramps if he went into the water. "'Lookyhere, Tom, do you know what day it is?'

Tom mentally ran over the days of the week, and then quickly lifted his eyes with a startled look in them—

'My! I never once thought of it, Huck!'

'Well, I didn't neither, but all at once it popped onto me that it was Friday.'

'Blame it, a body can't be too careful, Huck. We might 'a' got into an awful scrape, tackling such a thing on a Friday.'

'Might! Better say we would! There's some lucky days, maybe, but Friday ain't.' "

This superstition is that Friday is bad luck and many bad things will happen to you on this day of the week. They thought this because Jesus died on Friday. "Why, you take your cat and go and get in the grave-yard 'long about midnight when somebody that was wicked has been buried; and when it's midnight a devil will come, or maybe two or three, but you can't see 'em, you can only hear something like the wind, or maybe hear 'em talk; and when they're taking that feller away, you heave your cat after 'em and say, 'Devil follow corpse, cat follow devil, warts follow cat, I'm done with ye!' That'll fetch any wart."

This superstition is that if you throw a dead cat at a devil it will cure your warts. "As the creature still came toward him or seemed inclined to go elsewhere; and when at last it considered a painful moment with its curved body in the air and then came decisively down upon Tom's leg and began a journey over him, his whole heart was glad—for that meant that he was going to have a new suit of clothes—without the shadow of a doubt a gaudy piratical uniform."

This superstition is that if a green worm crawls on any part of your body, you will get a new suit of clothes. Tom thought that he would get a pirate's uniform. Finding Lost Marbles "The truth was, that a superstition of his had failed, here, which he and all his comrades had always looked upon as infallible. If you buried a marble with certain necessary incantations, and left it alone a fortnight, and then opened the place with the incantation he had just used, you would find that all the marbles you had ever lost had gathered themselves together there, meantime, no matter how widely they had been separated."

The superstition is that if you bury a marble with certain incantations you would find all the marbles you had ever lost. How Crossing Water Baffles Pursuit History of Superstitions Superstitions have been around for many years. Long ago, many people relied on the idea that superstitions were real because they could not understand why things actually happened. Their science was not advanced enough to understand natural things. But now, science has developed and many of the things that were believed to be caused by "supernatural forces" were actually completely normal. The setting of Tom Sawyer is in a time when superstitions were very common for kids at Tom's age. "You got to go all by yourself, to the middle of the woods, where you know there's a spunk-water stump, and just as it's midnight you back up against the stump and jam your hand in and say:

'Barley-corn, barley-corn, injun-meal shorts, Spunk-water, spunk-water, swaller these warts,'

and then walk away quick, eleven steps, with your eyes shut, and then turn around three times and walk home without speaking to anybody. Because if you speak the charm's busted."

This superstition is that you can cure warts with spunk water which is water from the stump of a tree. "He crossed a small "branch" two or three times, because of a prevailing juvenile superstition that to cross water baffled pursuit."

This superstition is that if you cross water, anyone who was following you would stop. Stray Dogs "They continued to whisper for some little time. Presently a dog set up a long, lugubrious howl just outside—within ten feet of them. The boys clasped each other suddenly, in an agony of fright."

This superstition is that if a stray dog howls at you, you might die! Where the Shadow of a Limb Falls at Midnight "Well, that's so. I didn't think of that. Oh, I know what the matter is! What a blamed lot of fools we are! You got to find out where the shadow of the limb falls at midnight, and that's where you dig!"

This superstition is that if you go to a tree at midnight, buried treasure can be found in its shadow.
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