Articles & Stories


In addition to historical material gathered by our editor, The Kentucky Explorer is a unique magazine in that many of our articles and stories are submitted by readers, just like you. "Budding" authors have had their first stories published here at absolutely no charge, but the good news is that you don't have to be a professional writer to contribute.

There are a few basic guidelines and requirements, but they are rather simple:

(1) The material must be original and non-copyrighted;

(2) It must have a general interest to all Kentuckians;

(3) All stories and articles should be factual. Don't worry about spelling or grammar. We'll take care of that;

(4) Your stories should be accompanied by appropriate photographs and/or illustrations. Since the backlog of material is generally quite large, stories with the best photos and illustrations stand a better chance of being published; and

(5) Stories should be submitted in typewritten form, whenever possible, but may also be handwritten or printed. If submitting typewritten material, please use double-spaced lines and upper/lower case lettering. Do not use all caps or fancy fonts!

The Kentucky Explorer prides itself in the quality of articles and stories found in our magazine each month. The pages of the May 2001 issue, for example, has 22 of them, all interesting and unique. We invite you to view the "Table of Contents" this month, if you haven't already done so.

Here is a complete story found in our December/January 2002 issue:

Superstitions: How Many Have You Heard And Believe?

Note: The members of the 1919 junior class at Cynthiana High School were asked by Rev. J. D. Armistead to submit some of the superstitions and signs familiar in that community. Miss Lura Gayle Swin-ford was then asked to compile all of these into a collection, which she did in a very interesting way. There were 71 of them, as given below.

The Log Cabin - 1919
Cynthiana, Kentucky

All through the ages signs and superstitions have greatly influenced the lives of people of every race. Some persons do not believe in superstitions at all, but have faith and think the works, known by the ignorant and superstitious, are rather acts of providence.

Nevertheless, one may notice even the least superstitions as quoting some sign or saying, "Of course, I don't believe in superstitions, but I know this to be a fact."

01 - The little one, upon being ushered into the world, is greeted with ban or blessing, depending upon the day of its birth:

02 - "Born on Monday, fair of face; born on Tuesday, full of grace; born on Wednesday, merry and glad; born on Thursday, wise and sad; born on Friday, Godly given; born on Saturday, earn a good living; born on Sunday, never shall want; Lo, there's the week and the end of it."

03 - Many a fond mother pinches the nails on the baby's fingers, never using scissors; nor does she allow the little one to see its image in the mirror during the first year, or it will never live to be grown.

04 - Naming a child for a dead person brings bad luck to the child so named.

05 - If a person steps over a child, it never grows anymore.

06 - The little one born in September will never have luck, until it wears a garnet.

07 - The person who makes a gift of an opal to any child, save the one born in October, causes the child great misfortune.

In childhood, superstition goes hand-in-hand with fairy tales, and while some may doubt and be too matter-of-fact to lay much stress on the signs and sayings, the strongest little heart oftentimes quakes with fear over some superstition.

08 - What child fails to quote, "See a pin, pick it up, all that day you'll have good luck. See a pin, let it lay, you'll have bad luck all the day." What child would dare fail to obey instructions?

09 - The crowing of the rooster and the itching of the nose signal company is coming.

10 - If father or big brother brings the hoe or any other sharpened tool into the house, all sorts of horrible visions of bad luck crowd upon the minds of the children.

11 - When the right ear burns, someone is talking well of you; the left, bad of you. Wet the finger and rub it across the ear, naming the person thought to be talking about you. If the burning ceases, you have guessed correctly.

12 - "Granddaddy longlegs" has saved many a little fellow a long, useless tramp by showing him in which directions the cows are.

13 - The little dishwasher is filled with dismay upon breaking a dish, because she knows two more must follow almost immediately.

14 - Dropping a knife signifies a man is coming; a fork, a woman; and if the dishrag is dropped, a sloven person puts in his appearance.

15 - Spilling salt is fatal, unless the person who spills it throws a little of the spilled salt over the left shoulder.

16 - The child who sees a fever worm and fails to spit at once is stricken with the fever.

17 - Meeting a cross-eyed person and not crossing two fingers brings bad luck.

18 - No matter how well the lesson is learned, dropping the book means a bad recitation.

19 - A black cat crossing one's path brings bad luck; a rabbit to the right, good luck.

20 - When crows fly to the north, we have cold weather; to the south, warm weather.

21 - Walking around a post is a sign of a fuss.

22 - When hens fight, or the broom loses straws, the children exclaim, "Company is coming!"

23 - All little children stand somewhat in awe of these superstitions and unconsciously allow them to influence their manners. In Little Orphan Annie Riley says, "You'd better mind your manners and look what y'er about, 'er the gobblins will git you, if you don't watch out."

24 - These childhood superstitions fade away and melt into visions of romance for youths and maidens; who, as they stroll at twilight, love to catch a glimpse of the first star and quote, "Star bright, star light. The first star I've seen tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, I wish to see my loved one tomorrow night."

25 - A wish made upon finding an old rusty horseshoe, spitting on it, and throwing it over the left shoulder is bound to come true.

26 - To break a wishbone with a friend and secure the shortest piece brings visions of an early marriage to the young girl, while placing the bone above the door tells her, very vividly, that her "Prince Charming" will be the first man who enters that door.

27 - Knocking over a chair means you will not get married this year.

28 - Losing a hairpin from one's hair means losing a friend, while finding one and putting it in the shoe insures that the girl shall see her future husband before the day is done.

29 - A gift of a sharp-edged instrument between lovers cuts their love in two.

30 - Superstition's potion for freckles is to walk backwards and wash the face in dew for ten successive mornings in May, before the sun is up.

31 - Should one be unfortunate enough to break a looking glass, he is doomed to seven years of bad luck.

32 - Many a person has worn an article of clothing all day wrong-side-out, because he feared to turn it, lest bad luck should befall him.

33 - A person who breaks a piece of bread, which another holds, will have a great misfortune.

34 - To take bread when you have bread is a sign someone is coming hungry.

35 - A hole in the stocking informs the public that the wearer has a letter in the post office.

36 - The person who raises an umbrella inside the house will have bad luck.

37 - Upon seeing a load of hay and saying, "Hay, hay, load of hay, make a wish and look away." You'll get your wish.

38 - Untied shoestrings show that someone's thoughts are of you.

39 - To take the last piece of anything is a sign you shall never marry.

40 - To find a pin with the point toward you is a good luck sign.

41 - When visiting in a strange place, it is bad luck not to leave by the same door you entered.

42 - Many a maiden, upon sleeping in a house for the first time, names each corner of the room for some admirer. The corner she sees first in the morning bears the name of her future husband.

43 - The bride who wears "something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue" will live happily ever after.

44 - The words "Blessed be the bride that the sun shines on" have been proven true too often to be doubted.

45 - Show me a maiden who will not stroll miles and miles in search of a four-leaf clover, for does she not hear it say, "Love, be true to her. Joy, draw near to her. Health, stay close to her. Life, be dear to her. Fortune, find what your gifts can do for her. Search your treasure house through and through for her. Follow her footsteps the world over. You must, for here is a four-leaf clover."

The most prevalent superstitions are those held to be tokens of death:

46 - If a person sees a ball of fire, it is a sure indication of the death of a loved one.

47 - The razing of a house means death of an inmate within a year.

48 - A bird flying in the house signifies death.

49 - The howling of a dog means trouble to the owner, generally denoting death.

50 - Clocks have been known to stop or strike at the approach of the death of an old person in the house.

51 - Mirrors are covered, while a dead person is in the house. There is a saying that were they left uncovered, two corpses would be reflected in them.

52 - Many persons lay great stress on dreams and say, "Dream of a marriage, hear of a death."

53 - Blessed be the corpse that the rain falls on.

54 - One of the oldest Easter superstitions is that the sun dances on Easter. One is considered very lucky, who rises early enough to see this unusual feat.

55 - Another legend declares it unlucky to omit wearing some new article of clothing on Easter day.

56 - Still another story has it an omen of great good luck to see a lamb the first thing on Easter morning.

57 - A calf born on Easter brings great prosperity to the owner for a whole year.

58 - If the wind is in the east on Easter, many think it is wise to draw water and wash in it, so avoiding the unhealthy influences of the east winds during the remainer of the year.

59 - The groundhog appears on the second day of February, and if he sees his shadow, goes back into his hole. We then have six weeks of bad weather.

60 - If during the month of March you see a man with too long hair, you know that he believes in the saying, "Trim your hair in March and have the headache all the year."

61 - If a bird weaves a bit of one's hair into its nest, that person will have the headache until the nest is destroyed.

62 - When March comes "in like a lion," it goes "out like a lamb," and vice versa.

63 - Seven is a lucky number; but 13, to most persons, is unlucky.

64 - If it rains on Monday it will rain two other days that week.

65 - When the sun shines while it is raining, folks say it will rain at the same time on the following day.

66 - A sign of a good crop year is rain on the 12th of March.

67 - A new moon seen through any obstruction is a bad luck sign; while seen in the open, a sign of good luck.

To guard against the evil spirits, various charms are known and used:

68 - A buckeye carried by an old person drives away rheumatism.

69 - If a string is tied around the neck of a child, it will never have the croup.

70 - A Swastika pin is to insure good luck.

71 - The person who wears a rabbit's foot around his neck is protected from all the works of evil spirits.

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