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7 Superstitions About Funerals and Cemeteries

Cindy is an author and paranormal enthusiast who has published numerous books and articles on the subject of true unexplained phenomena.

Cemeteries are the focus of many superstitions.

Cemeteries are the focus of many superstitions.

1. Rain on the Day of a Funeral

Being drenched by an unexpected downpour on the day of a graveside funeral only serves to add to the misery of those in attendance. If superstitions are to be believed, there is more to this event than meets the eye. True believers will tell you that having a cloudburst interrupt this most somber of occasions is not an act of Mother Nature, but a display from the heavens.

It is said that if the sky opens up as someone is being laid to rest, this means that angels are mourning a soul bound for the netherworld. So despondent are these heavenly beings by the loss of the spirit they could not save that their tears drench those gathered below.

On the other hand, if claps of thunder are heard and lightning flashes overhead, this indicates that the devil's minions are throwing tantrums in response to learning that the departing soul is destined for paradise.

Some believe that it is a bad idea to have a funeral on Halloween.

Some believe that it is a bad idea to have a funeral on Halloween.

2. Funerals on Halloween

Although from an emotional standpoint no time is right for a funeral, some days are preferable to others. This is never more evident than during All Hallows' Eve. It is thought that holding the ceremony on October 31st will result in dire consequences, not for the living, but for the person being interred.

It is rumored among those who travel in dark circles that funerals are magnets for the ghoulish entities that emerge from the underworld during Halloween. Attracted by the presence of fresh souls, they will do anything within their power to convince these easy marks to come with them. Finding themselves in a situation they had not anticipated, the still-transitioning spirits run the risk of being tricked into spending eternity in the bowels of Hell.

In order to prevent this from occurring, it is advised that funerals be held on days when the worst that the devil has to offer are not walking among the living. This generally means anytime other than Halloween, a 24-hour period when every soul is up for grabs.

What does it mean if a grave marker is overgrown?

What does it mean if a grave marker is overgrown?

3. Overgrown Graves

It is said that if flowers grow naturally on a grave, the person whose name graces the marker was pure of heart. As a reward for their innate goodness, their final resting place will be adorned with a colorful array of wildflowers, forever tended to by earthbound angels.

If, however, the occupant of a grave was an unsavory character who willingly brought suffering to others, the ground beneath which they sleep will be covered with an overgrowth of weeds despite the groundskeepers' best efforts to keep them under control. Deemed unworthy of flowers, the gravesites of these bad souls will display only tangles of nature's castoffs for eternity.

Some believe spirits can be called forth with songs or music.

Some believe spirits can be called forth with songs or music.

4. Singing or Music in a Cemetery

Singing, or playing music of any kind, in a graveyard is believed to be a means of calling forth spirits. Attracted to the sound, these disembodied entities will converge and follow the source until it falls silent. While this is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, the unintentional interaction can lead to trouble if those involved are not careful.

Since there is no way of knowing if the otherworldly beings that are fabled to lurk in cemeteries are harmless or parasitic in nature, it's best to keep singing to a minimum while in their domain. In the frighteningly accurate words of 18th-century French poet Remy de Gourmont: "Demons are like obedient dogs; they come when they are called."

Sparrows are thought to be heavenly messengers.

Sparrows are thought to be heavenly messengers.

5. Sparrows at a Funeral

If a bird, most notably a sparrow, lights near a casket during a funeral, this is a sign that the dearly departed is paying one last visit before beginning their journey into the afterlife. If the winged visitor stays until the end of the ceremony, know that the soul it represents was taking in every face and savoring each moment until the time came to leave the mortal world behind.

Sparrows have the distinction of being considered by some to be heavenly messengers. If you are visiting a cemetery and one of these delicate creatures lands on a nearby grave marker or monument, this suggests that a soul has dropped by to say hello.

Although there is no way of knowing if the entity being hosted by the bird is someone with whom you are familiar or the essence of a total stranger, it doesn't really matter in the end. If you are fortunate enough to experience one of these encounters, take comfort in the knowledge that you spent time, however briefly, with a free spirit that hitched a ride on the wings of a sparrow.

6. Trampled Ground at a Grave Site

If you happen to be in a cemetery and notice that the earth atop a particular grave appears to be more worn down than that of its neighbors, this marks the occupant as a leader of spirits.

As the story goes, a burial mound on which the grass appears to be perpetually trampled, revealing the dirt underneath, indicates that this is an area frequented by beings that congregate in the after hours. While most souls do not choose to inhabit cemeteries, those that do often find themselves lost in these unfamiliar surroundings. As a result, they are constantly searching for guidance. If they find the resting place of someone who was in charge of others during their lifetime, such as a leader of men or a mother of numerous children, they gravitate toward that person's grave in search of solace.

So, if you ever come upon a grave that looks as if it has seen more than its fair share of visitors, consider the possibility that the person interred in that spot moonlights as a mentor for the dead.

What does it mean if you hear footsteps behind you but no one is there?

What does it mean if you hear footsteps behind you but no one is there?

7. Being Followed in a Cemetery

To suddenly be aware that someone is following close on your heels is enough to make anyone quicken their step. When this occurs within the confines of a cemetery, the apprehension is taken to the next level.

If you hear footsteps behind you while walking in a graveyard, despite there being no one else present, you would do well to leave the grounds on the double. To be trailed in a cemetery can be an indicator that you have been targeted by an opportunistic spirit. Should this occur, keep walking and, whatever you do, don't turn around. If the entity sees your face, it will retain the image from that day forward. From then on, no matter where you go, your unearthly shadow will follow. Unfortunately, whether you ever see them or not, you have invited them into your life, and it is there that they will stay.

More Superstitions About Death

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.