I am an author and paranormal enthusiast who has published numerous books and articles on the subject of true unexplained phenomena.
1. Black Crows
The association between crows and the dark side is a mainstay in tales of lore. Due in part to their mysterious appearance, the presence of these highly intelligent creatures is often seen by the more superstitious among us as a sign that someone, or something, from the land of spirits is attempting to make contact.
It is said that to have a single crow show up unexpectedly at a gathering means that a departed loved one, commonly one who was ostracized in life by those present, has joined the festivities. After making certain that it has been seen, usually be letting out a loud "caw," the unexpected visitor will perch someplace nearby where it will then observe the goings-on for a while before taking flight.
When a crow targets an individual rather than a group, this indicates that someone with whom the person had unfinished business has dropped by from the afterlife to remind them that all is not forgotten.
Growing up, I was told a story in which a woman and her sister had feuded over their mother's estate. One of them passed away suddenly before the matter was settled. Not long after her death, a crow began showing up at the home of the surviving sibling. The harried woman claimed that the bird quickly became the bane of her existence, stalking her every time she left the house. It was only after she wised up and shared the proceeds from the sale of her mother's home with her deceased sister's children that the crow went about its way, never to be seen again.
To have several crows appear in an area they don't normally frequent is thought to be a warning that danger is on the horizon. It is not unusual for the ominous presence of a murder of crows to be witnessed in the days leading up to natural disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes.
A crow pecking on a window pane is a sign that big changes are in store for those who dwell inside. When this occurs, rather than being a harbinger of doom, this winged messenger is letting you know in advance that good fortune is headed your way.
The gentle butterfly is one of nature's most magical creations. Few can resist their beauty and charm, which makes them ideal conduits to the spirit world.
To see one of these graceful creatures at a funeral signifies that the soul of the person being laid to rest, carried on the wings of the butterfly, is bidding his or her final farewell before beginning their journey into the afterlife.
If a butterfly lights on someone from out of the blue, this is to be taken as a sign that a lost loved one is paying an impromptu visit. If several of Mother Nature's angels appear all at once, consider it a family reunion of sorts. This divine occurrence, according to lore, suggests that relatives who have passed on have gone to great lengths to spend time with those they left behind, even if only for a moment.
Cardinals are objects of beauty, to be sure, but there is more to these winged marvels than meets the eye. They are also thought to bring good luck and prosperity to those whose lives they grace.
The female of the species, while not as colorful as their male counterparts, are thought to be positive influences on the well-being of those they encounter. To have one visit your yard means that your future will be as bright as the morning sun.
To see a red cardinal in all his glory indicates that someone you hold dear, who is no longer living, is letting you know that they are at peace. If an individual encounters a lone cardinal on a regular basis, this is believed to mean that a deceased loved one is attempting to remain close to them for as long as possible. When this occurs, this ethereal presence should be taken for what it is: a gift from beyond.
4. Spiders and Crickets
We have all experienced the horror of discovering that a spider has invaded our safe haven. While our first instinct may be to squash the unwelcome guest, in the world of superstitions, this impulsive act is not without consequences.
Those who take it upon themselves to end the lives of these creepy crawlers would do well to grab an umbrella before venturing out for the day. According to lore, spiders are nature's exterminators, deposited into homes from above for the sole purpose of clearing out other, more destructive, pests. To kill this creature, whose presence was carefully orchestrated by a higher power, is to break the giver's heart, resulting in a flow of tears that manifest in the form of a sudden cloudburst.
Crickets are also known to enter houses from time to time, although their appearance is not considered nearly as blood-curdling. As nature's music makers, they do no harm, but homeowners who are a bit on the squeamish side will nevertheless swat them into the afterlife. While superstition doesn't place this on the same moral level as killing a spider, it does come with a price.
Crickets, you see, are bringers of good fortune. To find one inside a dwelling is to be assured that health and prosperity are on the horizon. If this representative of positive things to come is sent packing, by whatever means, it takes the good luck that was meant for the home's occupants with it. If the cricket is killed outright, then the person whose hand did the deed can expect a spate of misfortune that will span a three-month period, which is approximately how long the insect would have lived had its life not been taken prematurely.
The moral of these stories is a simple one: if you find that an insect or arachnid has made itself at home under your roof, rather than obliterating the tiny invader, let it out the way it came. After all, a selfless act of compassion benefits everyone in the end.
5. White Animals
In the realm of superstitions, encountering a white animal, or other creature whose species is typically pigmented, can be either a lucky fluke or a recipe for disaster, depending on the circumstances.
To stumble upon a white snake in the wild suggests that you are a pure soul who is destined to lead a blessed life. While most of us have heard that it is bad luck to have a black cat cross our path, to have a white one step in front of us signals that good fortune lay ahead. If a snowy feline smothers a stranger with affection, the charmed recipient of the unsolicited attention can expect a windfall within days of the interaction.
To see a white owl perched near one's home in the light of day is to court misfortune. If it, or any other bird, flies into a home and lights on a bed, death waits around the corner for the person who last slept on the piece of furniture it targeted.
If a white animal shows up at a graveside funeral, this indicates that either the decedent or someone already interred in the cemetery has made an appearance. If it departs before the ceremony is complete, so too has the soul it personified.
To do harm to a white animal is considered by some to be a mortal sin. In 1913, Austria's Archduke Franz Ferdinand, an avid hunter, happened upon a rare white deer while on a routine hunt. Seizing the opportunity, he took its life without a moment's hesitation.
Those closest to him later claimed that he was stricken with regret almost instantly. Having known for years that there was a curse associated with killing a white animal, he became obsessed with the notion that his impulsive action would hasten his demise.
Less than a year later, Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were felled by an assassin's bullets while riding in a motorcade through the streets of Sarajevo. This tragedy would prove to be the spark that helped ignite the first world war, leading many to wonder if the monumental events that followed were set in motion, not on a battlefield, but on a hunting trip. Anything is possible given the belief that within every superstition lies a modicum of truth.
- Appalachian Folklore
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Iqra from East County on April 26, 2021:
Its true animal kingdom figures heavily in the world of folklore and superstition. People of different religions think that is not true.