Interesting Ideas

Barney's heritage

Barney Fife's hopelessly superstitious nature should come as no surprise. Consider these notions from the Frank C. Brown collection of North Carolina Folklore, collected between 1912 and 1943 and published by Duke University Press in 1964:

  • If you meet with a jack-o'-lantern at night, turn all your pockets wrong side out and no harm can happen to you. The light will change its course.
  • Sneeze on Sunday, and the devil will be with you all the week.
  • If you cut your nails on Sunday, you will be ruled by the devil all the week.
  • If a person will draw a circle and count five stars, count five bricks while in the same circle, and then run around the house five times, and then look under the house, he will see the devil.
  • Whatever you are doing when you see the new moon, that is what you will do all the month.
  • Kiss your elbow and change your sex.
  • When three people wake up abed together, the oldest one will die first.
  • If you turn over the bed tick before the baby is nine days old, the mother will die.
  • If you start anywhere and stump your left toe, it will bring you bad luck.

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