Here’s a collection of Victorian superstitions around death and funerals. Of course, everyone didn’t believe all of them but, even so, it’s remarkable (perhaps) how few have survived.
If the deceased has lived a good life, flowers would bloom on his grave; but if he has been evil, only weeds would grow.
If several deaths occur in the same family, tie a black ribbon to everything left alive that enters the house, even dogs and chickens. This will protect against deaths spreading further.
Never wear anything new to a funeral, especially shoes.
You should always cover your mouth while yawning so your spirit doesn’t leave you and the devil never enters your body.
It is bad luck to meet a funeral procession head on. If you see one approching, turn around. If this is unavoidable, hold on to a button until the funeral cortege passes.
Large drops of rain warn that there has just been a death.
Stop the clock in a death room or you will have bad luck.
To lock the door of your home after a funeral procession has left the house is bad luck.
If rain falls on a funeral procession, the deceased will go to heaven.
If you hear a clap of thunder following a burial it indicates that the soul of the departed has reached heaven.
If you hear 3 knocks and no one is there, it usually means someone close to you has died. The superstitious call this the 3 knocks of death.
If you leave something that belongs to you to the deceased, that means the person will come back to get you.
If a firefly/lightning bug gets into your house someone will soon die.
If you smell roses when none are around someone is going to die.
If you don’t hold your breath while going by a graveyard you will not be buried.
If you see yourself in a dream, your death will follow.
If you see an owl in the daytime, there will be a death.
If you dream about a birth, someone you know will die.
If it rains in an open grave then someone in the family will die within the year.
If a bird pecks on your window or crashes into one that there has been a death.
If a sparrow lands on a piano, someone in the home will die.
If a picture falls off the wall, there will be a death of someone you know.
If you spill salt, throw a pinch of the spilt salt over your shoulder to prevent death.
Two deaths in the family means that a third is sure to follow.
The cry of a curlew or the hoot of an owl foretells a death.
A single snowdrop growing in the garden foretells a death.
Having only red and white flowers together in a vase (especially in hospital) means a death will soon follow.
Dropping an umbrella on the floor or opening one in the house means that there will be a murder in the house.
A diamond-shaped fold in clean linen portends death.
A dog howling at night when someone in the house is sick is a bad omen. It can be reversed by reaching under the bed and turning over a shoe.