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The following newspaper articles are from the Chester County Historical Society Library (West Chester, Pa.):

Daily Local News; 9/07/1883
Mrs. Mary A. Bowman, who lives at No. 1603 Summer street, has, through her counsel, had a capias issued by the Sheriff of Montgomery county for the arrest of Charles Clark, of Pottstown, who is charged with casting a spell on her and bewitching her to such an extent that she has suffered both mental and physical injury. Mrs. Bowman owns considerable property in Pottstown, where she resided until recently. In her complaint she states that she has been married for thirteen years, and up to within three years ago lived a very happy and contented life. One night, while preparing her children for bed, she heard the voices of several men. One of the voices said:--"She is George Davis' daughter; I know she is, for she got the money." From this mention of her--for she is a daughter of George Davis--the voices proceeded to talk about her in a shocking manner. Such remarks were made as to cause her to hide her face in shame and confusion. She rushed upstairs to the bedroom with the children very much frightened. It appeared to her that the men were looking right at her all the time. From that time, she says, she has had no peace of mind, and misfortune has followed her constantly. Day after day, she would hear the voices of these men and from what was said to her, the persons to whom they belonged appeared to contemplate her ruin and disgrace.
Charles Clark, whom she did not know personally, she says was the leading spirit in the persecution. The voices said that they wanted to separate her from her husband, and one of them said that if she would leave her home he would marry her and discard his own wife.
For long periods the voices would not come to her. Then they would return more persistent than before. Threats were made that if she did not do as directed a spell would be put on her little baby. Soon afterwards the child was taken sick and died. Threats were then made that her husband would be led to drink and soon after the voices had said this the husband did go off on a spree, and spent all his wages.
Mrs. Bowman's counsel, George N. Corson, Esq., of Norristown, says that although there is no Pennsylvania statute providing for such an offense as witchcraft or sorcery, he will depend, in the prosecution of the case, upon the common law.

Daily Local News; 11/03/1885
MR. EDITOR:-- I read in the DAILY LOCAL NEWS of a late date of the relic of a wooden pin which Charles W. Ash, of West Caln, had found embedded in a white oak log and covered by many years' growth of the tree, even to the depth of nearly a foot, and that one of the men in his employ attributed the phenomemon to the act of a superstitious person in process of curing a horse from "sweney." Such a superstition or belief in "faith cure," prevailed to a considerable extent many years ago; and when I read the article referred to an experience of my early life recurred to my memory with a vividness as if it were but yesterday, wherein I acted a silent part in a like ceremony. About seventy years ago, while living at home with my parents, in the township of West Whiteland an old friend of our family had a valuable mare that was crippled beyond profitable or humane use with sweney in the left shoulder. One evening in the fall of the year said neighbor asked me if I would like to take a short ride on horseback early the next morning. Of course, boy-like, I promptly accepted his proposition. "Well, then be ready at early dawn." True to the appointment I awaited his beck a half hour before sunrise. He helped me mount "Flower" as he called his mare and then moved on, he carrying a chopping axe under his arm and a wooden plug or pin, about nine inches in length, in his hand. I could not surmise what he was up to, and the disparity in our ages and circumstances prevented me from asking him. We proceeded to a small piece of woodland lying on the west side of the road leading from the old Red Lion, in Uwchlan to West Chester, about a quarter of a mile south of the Lancaster turnpike, on land then the property of Col. Richard Thomas, of Revolutionary memory, now in the ownership of his grandson Richard T. Ashbridge. My venerable companion led the way to the eastern side of said wood lot and stopped at a yellow poplar tree of eighteen inches diameter, which stood in the front ran_ of its _ellows. On the eastern side of said tree and about four and a half feet from the ground was an inch and a half auger hole, freshly bored. The mystery deepened with me. The old gentleman then took from his pocket a sharp knife and clipped from the mare's shoulder-plate where there was evidently an indentation of hollow in the flesh, three small tufts of hair, one from the upper end of the hollow, one from bottom thereof, and the third, midway between. This hair--in bulk-- he thrust into the auger-hole in the tree. Then, with a gentle pressure of his hand, he inserted the plug into the auger-hole and for a few minutes stood motionless, with the axe on the ground and the helve in his hand while he looked intently toward the east. He remained in that attitude until the first peep of the sun above the horizon, when with two gentle taps of the axe he drove the plug nearly into the ____ of the tree; a third stroke, of greater force drove it home. Whether silence was a required observance promotive of a successful result I did not learn; but after our first early salutation and his command to follow him he had not spoken. His task being completed he exclaimed: "There! If it should not cure her it will do her no harm." Then I first understood the programme that had been acted in pantomime. It seems that there were three important points to be observed: First, three clips of hair must be taken from the diseased part and deposited in the auger hole in the tree; second, which must face the rising sun; and third, the plug must be driven in at that auspicious moment by three strokes of the axe. The mare improved rapidly thereafter, and soon became efficient in her place on farm or road.
*--A term frequently used in veterinary parlance and sometimes by the medical fraternity, signifying a shrinking or contracting of a muscle by reason of injury to the part or point adjacent, but seldom found in the printed vocabulary of either profession. With the horse the "sweney," is mostly exhibited in the muscle of he shoulder-blade, causing a vertical concavity of a foot in length attended by extreme lameness. H.

Daily Local News; 6/09/1887
A Faith Cure.-- A correspondent of the Chester News writing about faith cures tells the following story: "I remember an instance that occurred in Chester county forty years ago on the farm of Joshua Evans, father of William Evans, a member of the present Legislature. He had an Irishman blowing rocks, who went to old Dr. Hickman for medicine. The doctor gave him a pitch plaster and also a liquid preparation for internal use. By mistake he ate the plaster and rubbed on the liquid, and a permanent cure was the result, although he declared it was the toughest medicine he ever had taken."

Daily Local News; 7/14/1888
Says a Reading special of Friday: A woman living between Macungie and Centreville has been ill for some time with a disease that puzzled the physicians. Her symptoms were sleeplessness and delirium at night and she frequently became so violent that it required two persons to hold her. In the day time she was quiet and restful. It was suggested among the neighbors that she must be witched, and one of them, a woman, averred that she had seen the witch in front of the house at night during the time when the invalid was afflicted with the most violent paroxysms. The apparition was described as being in the shape of a headless black cat, about as large as a good sized fox, which walked back and forth in the air about the height of the fences in front of the woman's house. Some twenty persons watched and assert that they saw this apparition, and becoming convinced that the woman was indeed bewitched, a celebrated witch or "hex" doctor from Reading was sent for. He came and, prescribing a powder made of the ashes of dogs' hair, advised a watch to be kept upon the witch, so that when it appeared the question should be asked, What do you desire? If it answered, the spell would be broken and the patient recover.
On Monday night, it is claimed, the apparition was encountered by those lying in wait for it, but they say it was so frightful that they were powerless to move their lips to utter a word. In consequence of their report the excitement in the community is intense. The woman, however, under the influence of the dog hair powders, is rapidly improving, and her friends hope that the apparition will vanish without any more personal contact on their part.

Daily Local News;8/14/1888
Lancaster County Superstition.
Columbia, Lancaster county is excited over a story of witchcraft. Mrs. W.W. Fairer, wife of a well-known boiler manufacturer, recently became insane and was taken to the insane asylum at Harrisburg, where she died. Her husband now believes her insanity and death were due to witchcraft, practiced by an old woman of Columbia, who is charged with having given her charms to drive the demons away. These charms were found on Mrs. Fairer and are German words written on slips of paper.
Mr. Fairer has placed the case in the hands of his attorney, and a suit against the woman will be brought for indirectly causing Mrs. Fairer's insanity. Columbia is very much stirred up over the matter. When Mrs. Fairer died her body became covered with peculiar blue marks, and her superstitious neighbors now believe that they are due to the influence of the witch.

Daily Local News; 12/07/1888
William Smith, the colored pioneer or woodchopper, whose tall figure is familiar to all West Chesterians, had a dream the other night. The next morning he quit work on the borough streets and started off. He said that in his dream he saw a spot in Lancaster county, where there was gold in large quantities. So firmly impressed was he with the idea that the dream would come true, and that it was the hand of Providence that had in the stillness of the night pointed out the pathway to untold wealth, that he determined to hunt the spot which he saw in the dream. He returned however, without locating the glittering treasures; but nothing daunted he will try again. He went to Borough Surveyor Walter A. MacDonald for the loan of a clock compass, with which he hopes to find the exact location of the gold mine.
"I kem very near ter hit." he said in an earnest, honest way, "I'll not rest now till I unearth de precious gems, en den I'll lay me back in my cushioned chair en welcome the grandure en peace which de blessin's of riches bring. Den I'll lay down my axe en won't cut wood no mo'."

Daily Local News; 2/04/1889
The believers in ghosts and spirits are excited because of the fact that a large portion of the country graveyard adjoining the "Pike" meeting-house, near Hinkletown, has suddenly sank about fifteen feet.
A short time ago the body of Samuel Sensenig, the wealthy proprietor of the Martindale Mill, was buried by the side of his child in this graveyard, and the curious cave-in is in the immediate vicinity of where they lie buried.
There are those ridiculous enough to allege that several times during the past week the figure of a man dressed in white and wearing a shining helmet with a halo of red and green light has been seen in this graveyard at night carrying a beautiful, fair-haired child in his arms, and that sounds similiar to the hum of conversations in subdued tones are heard coming from the depths at any time after midnight.

Daily Local News;2/26/1890
A Farmer Who Thinks His Cows Were Bewitched.
A farmer over in New Hanover, five or six miles from Pottstown, says the Ledger, thinks his cows were bewitched recently. He says the quantity of milk they gave dropped suddenly from over hundred quarts to less than sixty, and that a whole lot of cats, among them one entirely white, were running about the stalls and upon and over the feed-troughs of the cattle. He tried in vain to catch or kill those wicked cats, but could not even touch them; then he resorted to pow-wowing, and that was too much for them, he could knock them over and kill them at every pop, and he then did so. And that settled it--the cows commenced giving their usual quantity of milk again, the witches having been all slain or driven away. When a person doubted this, in presence of the farmer, he said he did not care what people said--he knew what he knew, and believed what he saw.

Daily Local News; 9/06/1891
Serious Outcome of Consulting a Dream Book.
The following story comes from Reading under date of July 5: Miss Mary Ruth, residing a short distance below the city with her brother, is in terrible agony and torture on account of being charged with being responsible for an alleged case of witchcraft. She has been unable to eat or sleep during the past four weeks and has fallen away so that she is now a mere skeleton.
She says she is blamed for the illness of a neighbor. Her brother first told her that the people in the neighborhood suspected her of placing a "spell" upon the sick woman and that she would be arrested. This so preyed on her mind that she is said to be on the verge of insanity.
Miss Ruth was in Reading some time ago and a dream book was given her to read. For amusement she tried one of the things referring to the moon, but had no idea of injuring any neighbor. She visited a witch doctor in Reading and asked him whether she had bewitched a neighbor. He told her she had been magnetized, but did not say anything about the effect on her neighbor. He gave her medicine, and after she had taken it she must have lost her senses, as that night she climbed out of the attic window and down over the grape arbor and left home.
The young woman is in a pitiable condition and it is likely she will have to be removed to an asylum for treatment. She is 30 years old and rather prepossessing. She was so violent yesterday that she assaulted her sister, striking her with a large club. She picked up the furniture and threw it out of the window. She emptied all the bureau drawers and threw them out of the second story window and then rolled the bureau to a door leading to a porch in the second story and also threw it to the ground.
The woman upon whom it is said the alleged witchcraft was practiced is Mrs. Horace Boyer, the wife of a respectable farmer near Greshville. She was first afflicted eighteen months ago and is seized with the spell two and three times a week. Her husband says that she becomes so violent at times that she tears her hair out, tears her clothing and wanted to jump out of the second story window. She consulted a Reading witch doctor and now she is almost entirely cured.

CWT; 1-02-1892
The days of superstition are not numbered with the past, and few there are in this enlightened age, who have not their little weaknesses in that direction. I have seen educated men leave their carriages to pick up worthless horseshoe by the road side, and taking it home, would place it over their office door as a harbinger of good luck. And who has not noticed pedestrians hurrying along the street, stop suddenly to pick up a pin which might be lying with head towards them? But I have learned of a superstition which is new to me, and one in which one person in Coatesville at least has implicit confidence.
For a number of years I have known a family here who have a child which had a birthmark, almost a perfect cluster of cherries on its neck. I saw the child on Christmas Day, and noticed that the mark as gone, and I naturally asked what had caused its disappearance. The child's mother told me that an old colored woman had told her that if she would take the child to a dead person and rub the head hand on the mark it would go away. At first she laughed at the idea, but the more she thought of it the more it grew, until one day, in company with another woman, she took the child to the home of a friend in whose family there was a death, and rubbed the spot with the dead person's hand. No one knew of it but herself and the woman who accompanied her, but just the same in a few weeks the mark began to fade away, and continued to do so until it had disappeared entirely. She said she knows another case, that of a young man, who tired the same remedy to get rid of a red blotch which disfigures his face. A few weeks ago the young man visited a friend of his, who is a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and rubbed a dead hand to the blotch on his face, which is now rapidly disappearing. She did not tell me who the young man is, but as I know two or three such afflicted motals in Coatesville, I mean to keep a sharp lookout.
No explanation could be given of the cure except a vague allusion to the superstition that as the body in the ground decayed the mark on the living person disappeared the time required in the removal being coincident, or supposed to be as that required in the decay of the body.
Another superstition which has a strong hold on the minds of some people, is the old "thirteen superstition", and I see by the Morton Chronicle that Bro. Smith, of that journal in speaking of the death of the late Joseph Ad: Thomson, (Steele Penne), calls up to memory the last editorial banquet of the craft of Delaware county, which occurred on May 23d, 1891. Mr. Thomson presided and just thirteen sat down to the banquet.

Daily Local News; 7/26/1892
Recently a reporter of the NEWS was standing on Gay Street, West Chester, when a person close by called to a little girl and urged her to hurry up and make the errand upon which she had been sent. The little girl was standing watching funeral that was passing at the time. Promptly she answered, "I can't cross the street until the funeral has passed or there would be a death in our family." The person who urged her to hurry said no more and just as the last carriage approached the little girl bounded across the street behind it and hastened away on her errand. Some one had very foolishly taught that little child an old and foolish superstition which in one shape or another is sought to be impressed on multitudes of young people.
At one time it is that they should avoid coming up with a funeral on the road. At another not to let a hearse be hitched at their gate or it will come there next, and at other times it takes some such form as had been taught the little girl referred to, who was afraid to cross the street between two carriages in the funeral procession.
To people who have no such superstition in their minds it appears very foolish to be subject to these false fears, but the saddest consideration is that little children should be taught these things and be made to be all their lives subject to a mental bondage which breeds harrassing fears continually.

Daily Local News: 1/10/1894
An Elkton, Md., special of January 9 says: Mary Short, daughter of Elisha Short, of this vicinity, died recently and was interred at Boulden's Chapel, a silk dress of her mother's having been used as a shroud. The mother was soon afterward taken ill, and not improving, was told that it was on account of her dress having been used as a shroud and that as the dress decayed so would the health of the owner fail. Superstition overcame her and the father, with the aid of the sexton, John Clark, exhumed the body and changed the dress. It is said the mother is getting well.

Daily LocalNews; 7/09/1894
Mrs.Cook Predicts War.
Mrs. B. F. Cook of Zermatt, is of the opinion that the difficulties among the laboring men of the United States were predicted a few months ago by the brilliant aurora borealis in the northern sky from east to west. The phenomenon reminded her, she says, of the babble of a great multitude passing to and fro, and covering the entire country. She predicts that civil war will follow the present disturbances.

Daily Local News; 8/02/1894
Claimed to Be Bewitched.
A middle-aged white woman, evidently somewhat demented, came to the office of 'Squire S. B. Russell yesterday afternoon and complained to him that another woman with whom she lived out in the country, had bewitched her. She said "she speaks to me in such a way that I feel it pierce through me, and she comes and creeps around my bed at nights and scatters a black powder and then in the morning, I will be so sick that I can't get out of bed." The 'Squire promised to write a letter to the woman complained of and bring her in there to be talked to. This seemed to satisfy her and she went away.

Daily Local News; 3/30/1900
A West Chester man who is an observer of things, gives the following list of moving day superstitions:
To move on Friday is a sure forerunner of ill luck for a year at least.
If a mirror is broken during a moving it is the worst hoo-doo which can be encountered, and things will never move properly in the new home. The only manner in which this can be counteracted is to throw the pieces of glass over your shoulder and never look at them again.
Never carry a shovel through the house. It will bring the worst luck.
You should never move into a house where there have been two deaths. The third will occur in your family.
Never walk under a ladder which is leaning against a wall while moving. This is a sure sign of trouble to come.
If you move into a new house always have the stove in position and burn some coffee upon it to drive away evil spirits before moving your goods into the house.
If you move the baby before the goods are all in the house the child will grow into a man or woman who will never be satisfied in any house.
Take your choice.

Daily Local News; 10/08/1900
Education Needed.
Editor News:-- I notice your remarks upon the colored girl "afeard of stoodents," who live some 15 miles distant from the Court House, on the benighted slopes of Valley Hill. The inference gathered is that the light of your educational institutions have reached that far, but beyond darkness reigns.
I recall, however, that within that radius of 15 miles a few years ago lived an old colored man who practiced as a hoodoo doctor and was well patronized. There are some still within the shadow of the Court House who found relief in having their ills pow-wowed, and quite a following who rejecting all the experience of the past and the teachings of science, "throw physic to the dogs." The truth is, Mr. Editor, the human animal cherishes superstitions. If, through education he is induced to discard those time-honored ones of his father, he manufactures for himself even more absurd ones. As many and as dangerous superstitions will be found among the educated and intelligent as among the poor and ignorant. Very respectfully,

Daily Local News; 4/17/1901
There are mysterious holes in the earth all over Chester county and with everyone there has been a mystery connected. One by one they were dug by night and at the discovery of each there was a story of supposed buried treasure or a mysterious burial by night, but the mystery has been solved. All the digging has been the work of one man and he was commanded to do the work by a West Chester fortune teller.
A year ago Officer Grey and a number of friends had a mystery on hand over at Downingtown. A mysterious pit was discovered in a meadow and it as claimed that there had been a burial there during one night a short time ago, but digging showed no signs of a body. Then it was concluded that the remains had been removed. That work was done by a superstitious colored man, and he resides in this place. The fortune teller, seeing that he was a man who would like to grow into a millionaire in a night, had directed him to dig there at midnight "in the dark of the moon with a shovel with a crooked handle and to make no noise while at the work, under penalty of the gold suddenly sinking into the earth."
He dug.
Later on mysterious excavations were discovered in a number of places near West Chester and others miles away. It appears that the man who had been doing the work had made a noise on each occasion and had not found the gold, whereupon he was directed by the fortune-teller to dig at another spot, he paying a certain amount for the valuable information. He has been digging at intervals ever since, but as yet no gold has been discovered.

Daily Local News; 1/25/1902
"The old-time superstitions of people about purchasing and renting houses said to be haunted are gradually dying out," said a real estate dealer of West Chester a few days ago. "Time was when we had difficulty in renting a house that was numbered 13, or that any tragedy had ever been committed in. There are persons who still believe in ghosts, or ill luck because some one has committed suicide in a house, or a murder has been committed there, but they grow less in number every year. There are two or three houses in this vicinity which are difficult to lease or sell, but it does not come from the fact that there was a tragedy took place there, but rather from the fact that they are isolated or inconvenient residences, with little to commend them to any one."
This seems to be the case. Recently a description was given in these columns of a house in East Bradford about which many superstitions exist, and uncanny things are spoken, but that is not the chief reason for its not being tenanted long.
After the Stella Morrison murder, in Thornbury township, the owner very promptly, and perhaps properly, razed the little cottage to the ground. This was due to no superstition, however, but because the place had been a trouble to him in many ways.
It is said that the old school house in East Goshen, where Pharo shot the school teacher, Miss Sharpless, is still standing and, after serving its purpose as a place to teach the young idea how to shoot, was used as a place of residence for several families many years subsequently, yet no spirits nor ghosts troubled the tenants. It is not recorded that any difficulty was ever had in finding an excellent occupant for the premises where Mrs. Spence last breathed her last, in West Chester, and no ghosts walk the floors of the several hotels in West Chester where in years gone by several persons ended their lives by their own volition.
There is, indeed, some aversion among a certain class of persons yet to occupying a room No. 13 at the hotels, so other numbers are substituted but the average drummer has little hesitation in accepting a room numbered thirteen and having his pitcher of ice water, or hot toddy, sent there to be partaken of before he dreams of large orders and big commissions.
The recent sale of the Pratt residence, south of West Chester, shows that there is less aversion among people now, compared with fifty years ago, in these matters. There was spirited bidding by men and by women for the place and since it has been purchased by an industrious citizen, and thoroughly renovated, repaired and occupied, all ghostly ideas have vanished. There are few people who now balk on such superstitions. Even elderly men who have made big fortunes are beginning to believe that there is nothing in the old saying that the aged rich man builds a mansion to die in. The several instances in West Chester where old men have spent many happy years after erecting residences proves that there is nothing in superstition.

Daily Local News; 3/19/1906
"There are still a lot of people," said a West Chester dentist, "who wrap up their extracted teeth and take them home with them. Most of them say they want to burn them, and get rid of them, so that they can't be used by dentists in making a new set for some one. But there are still some persons who fear that the teeth may be thrown out, the hogs eat them and they, the persons, grow a hog's tooth. That sounds silly to the educated person, and yet I can find you in West Chester good citizens who oppose every public enterprise, saying that it won't pay; it's an experiment, etc. It is as bad for a man of education and business experience to be so pessimistic as it is in an ignorant one to be superstitious."

Daily Local News; 5/22/1906
Cats Make Grapes Grow.
There is a belief that if the body of a black cat is planted at the roots of a grape vine the latter will bear luxuriantly. There is a man on Union street, this place, who has tried the scheme and he says it worked well, the result being that he has a vine which is bearing the finest kind of white grapes and in large quantity. He does not know whether the cat made any difference or not, but it was the body of one which he had long sought on account of the trouble it had caused him nights.

Daily Local News; 9/28/1906
There is a language of umbrellas as of flowers. For instance, place your umbrella in a rack, and it will often indicate that it will change owners.
To open it quickly in the street means that some body's eye is going to be in danger.
To shut it quickly signifies that a hat or two will probably be knocked off.
An umbrella carried over a woman, the man getting nothing but the drippings of the rain, signifies courtship.
When a man has the umbrella, and the woman the drippings, it indicates marriage.
To swing your umbrella over your shoulder signifies "I am making a nuisance of myself."
To put an alpaca umbrella by the side of a silk one signifies "Exchange is no robbery."
To lend an umbrella indicates "I am a fool."
To return an umbrella means--well, never mind what it means; nobody ever does that.

Daily Local News; 3/21/1907
"My grandfather used to say that a thunder storm in the Fall would be followed by warmer weather and a thunder storm in the Spring would be followed by colder weather." J. Newton Huston, Esq.

Daily Local News; 9/09/1907
Country Beliefs About the Mints--Luck and Ill Luck With Flowers. Look 'Em Over.
There is nothing which grows around which there is more superstition woven than the homely mints. Not only is mint the crowning enticement of a julep, and a thing which makes sedate tabbies gambol and roll like six-month old kittens, but, according to tradition, the different mints have supernatural properties, and there are good and bad mints. Pennyroyal, aside from its qualification as a flea discourager, is said to make a quarrel-some husband and wife stop bickering, if it is given to them by some friend. Catnip on the other hand when chewed creates quarrelsomeness, and is said to make even mild and gentle people fierce. It catnip is held in the hand until heated and then put into the hand of another, it will, so goes the superstition, so control that person that he or she cannot leave you so long as the catnip is retained in the hand.
Spearmint will prevent illness, so long as it is worn about the wrist. If spearmint is mixed with salt and applied to the bit of a mad dog the wound will heal, it is said. In the olden days the children used to put a bit of spearmint in the cots on Christmas Day, believing that at the exact time when the Saviour was born the mint would blossom.
The superstitions which cluster around flowers are as many as there are different flowers. It is considered unlucky to gather flowers out of season, as before and after the season they are said to belong to the fairies. The first wild flowers which are gathered by a young woman in the spring should spell the initials of her future husband, if the superstition holds true.
Here is the schedule of superstitions about finding the first flower of the season:
If found on Monday, good luck all the year.
If found on Tuesday, large undertakings which will be successful.
If found on Wednesday, a wedding in the family.
If found on Thursday, hard work with little profit.
If found on Friday, unexpected wealth.
If found on Saturday, misfortunes.
If found on Sunday, best luck of all.
Some of the numberless flower superstitions are:
If any one asks for the flowers pinned on your dress and you refuse, you will have immediate ill luck.
To burn faded flowers is a sign of coming sorrows.
To plant a flower hedge is to bring good luck.
If you point at buds they will blight.
To hand a flower reversed to any one is to bring bad luck.
If a person wears flowers with the stems upward, it is a sign that he or she isin love but does not know it.
If you pull a flower to pieces you will die of consumption.
If a person smells flowers gathered from the cemetery he will lose his sense of smell.
To have flowers wilt quickly in the hands denotes ill health.
If some one gives you a yellow flower you are going to have money.
If some one gives you a purple flower you are going to have tears and trouble.

Daily Local News; 12/14/1907
The man who didn't bury his mother-in-law, lose money on a horse race, football game or in stocks or lose his position as a sober citizen was in luck yesterday and ought to be offering up thanks to his lucky star to-day from morning to night.
For it was Friday, the thirteenth day of the last month of the year.
According to all precedents it was the most unlucky day ever, as will be testified to by every believer in signs, hoo-doo, ghosts and similiar superstitious beliefs, and the limit with a big "L."
Ghosts were supposed to stalk in mid-day and hover about twenty-three hours and fifty-nine minutes of the day, dogging the steps of the believer in signs. He was safe in no event even if a house fell and accidentally missed him and he was pursued by all sorts of goblins. There has been no hoodoo which has ever come to light which will baffle the goblins and they are supposed to have full sway.
Even the famed left hind foot of the rabbit killed at midnight beneath a graveyard fence by a cross-eyed negro hunchback is no proof against harm on this fateful day, and salt tossed over the left shoulder for luck is said to turn to sugar if the man dares to look back. Walking under a ladder or rubbing the head of a colored cross-eyed cripple is no protection and the superstitious man is truly deserted by his luck star. He who passed the day without hard luck is a happy man to-day, and can be for some years before the falls on a Friday, the 13th day of the last month of the year.

Daily Local News; 12/23/1907
"In writing reminiscent history of West Chester did you ever remember that at one time fifty years ago a number of the colored people believed that a headless man walked about the old brickyard lots?" remarked an octogenarian resident of this place. "There were a number of theories as to how he lost his head. I believe that a man was hung at Gallows Hill and buried in the old brickyard pit, and that caused the theory that he was dug up and had his head cut off, but still walked at nights. I remember that some of the old workmen would not go to the brickyard after dark."

Daily Local News; 3/20/1909
There is a ghost of the most approved style doing things along a road beside the Brandywine a short distance south of Downingtown according to some of the young men of this place who have been driving over there at intervals since the last parade of firemen there. Just why they drive over is not stated but at the time they are known to have made many friends among the young ladies of the town.
The ghost is said to appear at a point about a half mile south of Downingtown, where there is a deep quarry hole in the side of a hill. There the visitor stalks forth at any time at night to frighten the drivers on the road and it is probable that in years to come a lead mine may be discovered in the hill at this point, the lead being from the revolvers of West Chester young men who have 'seen' the nocturnal stranger.
In years long gone by it was the practice of West Chester young men to pay frequent visits to Thorndale, where there were many young ladies, and they also saw the ghost, but since Thorndale had been off the map the ghost has not been seen until after the fireman's parade.

Daily Local News; 4/06/1909
When any one embarks on a new undertaking, such as departing to take up a new post or going on the anxious journey of application for a place of any kind, it is a common and a pleasant custom for relatives and friends to throw an old shoe or slipper after the traveler for luck, says the Chicago Journal. It must not be a new one nor must the slipper be unworn, or the token of god fortune is nil.
Though common, this custom is not observed so much for ordinary occasions of life as it is for weddings. At nearly every wedding, when the newly married couple start on the honeymoon, some relative or friend stands ready to throw the old slipper or shoe after the carriage.
Only those who have had all the claim on the bride hitherto should throw the slipper if its right luck token is to be observed. The nearest friend of the bride, her father or the one who gave her away, should be the shoe thrower. And the shoe is thrown not at or after the bride, but directly at the bridegroom. It is for him in reality and is, in effect a token of the transference of his wife from her friends to his care.
Just as the wedding ring is the survival of a badge of servitude, the owner's mark for his slave, so is the old shoe a survival of an old usage that has come down to us from ancient customs in Eastern lands. When possession of land or of anything else was yielded up by an owner to a buyer, the transference of the former owner's shoe to the new owner was a mark of the exchange.
When the possession given up was of old standing this was implied by the giving over of a shoe that had been worn; hence the reason for old shoes, but now new ones, thrown after bridal carriages.
In Eastern lands if a man wished to give token that he claimed land and meant to occupy it he threw his shoe upon it. Not a new shoe, but one taken from his foot. This was the symbol of ownership. If the first owner meant to dispute possession he cast the shoe back.
The latter reason is why it is unlucky for either the bride or bridegroom to pick up the shoe if it should fall near them and throw it back. Always has it been considered a token of bad luck to do this, yet sometimes in ignorance of this it has been done, of course playfully.
By this custom the bridegroom is really refusing to take up his new possession. The shoe means occupancy, and he should keep it.
If in that old Eastern time a man delivered over his shoe as a sign that he resigned possession and the new owner refused to take it then he was rejecting the land or other purchase tacitly. The matter was perfectly understood, and the shoe stood instead of lawsuits.
To this day Eastern people take off their shoes as a mark of reverence and as a token that they dare not take occupancy where they stand. The thrower of the old shoe ought to stand barefoot to keep the luck emblem intact, and the shoe should certainly be one of his own.
The bride begins a new life. She should enter her husband's house in new shoes, therefore. Invariably she does so, not always knowing any reason underlying this, save that she has everything new for her wedding. But she would be unlucky on this day if she were married in old shoes.

Daily Local News; Wednesday, 08/11/1909
Reading Coroner Investigating Deaths of Infants Treated by Incantations.
Says a Reading, Pa., special of Tuesday: Coroner Strasser is busy procuring evidence in the cases of six infants, all of which died since noon yesterday. It is charged by the Coroner tha all six of the children were treated by "witch doctors," but that the only thing they were suffering from was Summer complaint. Coroner Strasser has reported the matter to the District Attorney.
Reading has many "witch doctors" and there have been cases in court time and again of persons who declared that neighbors "vehexed" them. No sooner does a child become ill in this section than the neighbors rush in and declare the child is "verhexed," and a "witch doctor," with his incantations, is sought out.
In the cases of the children that died while undergoing this treatment several were simply treated by chanting mystic words while a red cotton cord was passed over the body. In other cases a bag containing charmed words was hung about the neck. The Coroner said this evening: "Many children die every Summer from Summer complaint that do not have an attending physician. Upon investigation I find that the parents are of the middle class, and spend their money calling in old women who make a practice of 'pow-wowing' and using charmed words. What is more, these women describe the 'hex' to the parents and this is the cause of many of the neighborhood feuds that are aired in court."

Daily Local News; 4/02/1910
Superstitious People Moving.
There were a number of superstitious people about this place who moved only partly yesterday. As a rule these believers in the Friday superstition moved a small portion of their goods on Thursday so as to escape the awful consequences of a Friday removal, and there are said to be instances where some of them did not remove all their goods yesterday, but retained a portion for to-day in order to escape the same fate.

Daily Local News; 9/21/1910
For several days a house on wheels, after the style of the itinerant photographic outfit, has been standing in the Turk's Head Hotel yards. A sign on the outside told the curious that for 25 cents Madame So-and-So would read their palms and tell their fortunes, or misfortunes, as the case might be. The proprietor had applied to the Burgess and been granted a license to do business at $1 per day, cash, in advance. The little stairway was used freely by young girls and some older persons, many of whom were colored, and there was "something doing" for several days before any one thought that the business was not precisely in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth. The "palmist," not psalmist, was an elderly woman and she knew her business well enough to not "queer" the game by telling that the lines on the 25-cent-a-hand customers meant "trouble ahead of you" or "there is darkness there, I can't tell your future," and there was no kick coming until yesterday.
This is not to say that there is any thing in the story of a besotted man who accused the fortune teller of things, but the story attracted the attention of District Attorney Lack to the "place," and he at once caused the "place" to be closed, and the palmist to read her own palms for her fortune.
The parties who are interested in the business deny the accusations that they either molested the party who makes accusations, or that they beguiled any one into their house-wagon or wagon-house under any intention to deceive. It is claimed that "palmistry" is a legitimate business.
District Attorney Lack was seen this morning and he said: "I ordered the place closed. It is in direct violation of a statute of Pennsylvania. There were young girls going there, who not only spent their money foolishly, but were being deceived in a way which might do them future harm. But there were also some old people who were credulous enough to spend their quarters with the fortune teller who may need it next winter to purchase potatoes or coal. I ordered the Chief of Police to shut it up."
Burgess Pennypacker, when asked what he thought about it said: "I don't know a thing about it; see Mr. Lack or Chief Jefferis. The parties paid me a dollar a day license. I'm not the Court."

Daily Local News; 4/29/1913
"About West Chester there have been several houses which were said at different times to be haunted. One was in a brickyard which I used to own, where the Pennsylvania Railroad freight station now stands. One of the workmen went out there at night many years ago, to attend to a piece of work and said he saw a man without a head sitting on top of the kiln. He dropped his tools and ran." S. Emlen Sharples, a veteran resident.

Daily Local News; 8/12/1913
Superstitions for Brides
Married in January's hoar and rime, Widowed you'll be before your prime.
Married in February's sleety weather, Life you'll tread in tune together.
Married when March winds shrill and roar, Your home will lie on a foreign shore.
Married 'neath April's changeful skies, A chequered path before you lies.
Married when bees o'er May blossoms flit, Strangers around you board will sit.
Married in month of roses-June, Life will be one long honeymoon.
Married in July, with flowers ablaze, Bitter sweet memories in after day.
Married in August's heat and drowse, Lover and friend in your chosen spouse.
Married in golden September's glow, Smooth and serene your life will flow.
Marrried when leaves in October thin, Toil and hardship for you begin.
Married in veils of November mist, Dame fortune your wedding ring has kissed.
Married in days of December's cheer, Love's star burns brighter from year to year.

Daily Local News; 7/14/1915
Among the effects of the late William Bell, who died suddenly at his home, near Grove, were many papers and books, which showed that the old man was a student of witchcraft, and conned everything pertaining to conjuring and witchery closely. The following was taken from a scrap book devoted entirely to different clippings and writings pertaining to the hoodo art.
"A Hunting Charm--Whenever you kill a bear, deer or turkey dip a number of bullet patches in the fresh blood of the animal. You must of no account give any of these patches away. When you are out hunting again for the same kind of game load as follows: Take a bloody patch, well greased, place your bullet on it, then cross yourself, and as you push the bullet home, repeat: 'Father, Son and the Holy Ghost.' You will certainly bring home game of the same kind as that whose blood was on the patch. Do not keep the patches near your bed or in your sleeping room. The spirits make a noise in the box where the patches are and will not let you sleep. The sound is like a watch ticking, but it gets louder and louder, until you can not sleep.
"With Killing--If horses are so badly bewitched that one dies the following will deprive the witch of her power. Take the dead horse out into the field and burn the carcass beside a tree, then drive a nail in at the cross. Now take your rifle, which most be loaded with a silver bullet, choose a position so that the fire is between you and the tree and shoot over the fire at the nail. When you hit the nail the witch will lose her power, and you can not miss with the silver bullets.

Daily Local News; 5/02/1916
Such Is the Story Developed in 'Squire Dougherty's Court at Kennett Square To-Day
One of the most weird tales which ahs been developed in Chester county in a while was developed this morning in a hearing before Justice of the Peace S. B. Dougherty, in Kennett Square.
Fred Jackson, a negro, was held in $300 bail on charge of necromancy, divinations and charms. The prosecutirx was Mrs. Florence Brister, also colored, who keeps house for Robert Gordon, of Unionville. She charges that Fred Jackson, the defendant, took a lock of her hair, poured a mystic drug over it, bored a hole in a beech tree on the Thorn property and pushed a quantity of hair into the hole, then inserted a plug. Since that time the prosecutrix has been feeling terribly, and she believes the defendant has cast a spell over her.
In evidence of this, Constable Charles W. Gillen produced before the Justice a block of wood cut from the beech tree, showing the hole and the plug.
Moreover Mrs. Brister had found a bottle containing some of the drug with portion of hair steeped in it. She had burned bottle and contents.
"Squire Dougherty is not as yet a firm believer in witchcraft and sorcery, but he sensed trouble in this case and decided to hold the defendant awaiting further developments in the Unionville neighborhood.

Daily Local News; 11/16/1923
Ghost stories come from every section, but here at home there are always a few samples of scares, credited to the supernatural, but all of which are simply due to ordinary causes if the persons involved would use a little judgment and investigate instead of wiring for the police or becoming troubled.
It was not many months ago when the police here received a call on a bright moonlight night from the home of an unusually timid resident of the southwestern section of the borough. He had been reading in a rear room and heard suspicious sounds on the roof of a back building. Instead of investigating he telephoned the police and an officer sent to investigate entered the rear yard and discovered a pair of pigeons making love on the roof. Finis.
For several years a scare existed on South Walnut street, where a house which had not been occupied for years was supposed to be "haunted." At certain times figures appeared on widows and noises were heard which were unaccounted for. Tenants fought shy of the place and it gained a wide reputation as the habitation of a ghost, which had really been "seen" by some late arrivals at their homes. It was found the manifestations only occurred during the time the moon was about a the full and were caused by shadows cast through windows by the luminary.
In a store property on North Walnut street, not a year ago, curious things occurred nightly for weeks. An electric light was lighted by some mysterious agency about midnight and this occurred so frequently that a policeman on the beat called the owner and they investigated for several nights until a close watch was kept and it was found that a rat used the electric light cord in traveling from the upper floor to the main one and thus turned on the light. The rat was caught in a trap and the "ghost" __ected.
Mysterious rappings every night drove tenants from a small house out in East Bradford for years until a man moved there who was not wary of either dead or live men. He investigated and found the ancient woodwork was tenanted by many woodworms, the working of which at night in the wood made a constant ticking noise which had been credited to the supernatural by timid people.
In a number of instances residents of houses have been alarmed at the cracking of woodwork late at night, the same being due to the contraction or expansion of the wood by reason of a change in weather conditions. Falling plaster in walls of new houses also frequently cause alarm to timid persons.
Years ago when a reporter was a resident of Coatesville as a small boy a large stone mansion east of the town was unoccupied for several years because of the "ghost" which reigned there and with a party of small boys an investigation was made which continued for several nights. Samuel Kennedy, the late Norman Steen, Walter Jackson and other boys of that day decided to solve the problem. They lay in wait for the "ghost" for three nights and shivered beneath the dark arbor approaches while mysterious sounds came from the building, but on the third night one of them discerned a white form approaching along the ground leading to a rear door, fired a shotgun and killed one of the largest tom cats seen in the section for years.
A remarkable "ghost" scare came under the observation of a present resident of West Chester in Philadelphia several years ago when he was working with the detective force of the city. On two successive nights calls came from sections along Catharine street occupied by Italians of the lower class that a spectre had taken possession of a large building formerly used as a factory, four stories in height and that forty families had carried out all their belongings to the street at midnight and refused to return on the ground that a figure of the Virgin had appeared on the glass in a third-story window and remained there for ten minutes. The evening following the report three members of the force, accompanied by reporters, were on the scene. Watchers were placed in the room where the affected window gave light. Stairways were guarded and reporters stood in the street below. At 12:02 a shadow passed over the window gradually spreading and assuming shape until in five minutes, an exact miniature of the Virgin spread over the glass. A man inside raised the lower sash and the spectacle remained on the wall of the room. A number of Italians in the street fell on their knees and uttered prayers, but a lineman for the light company had an idea. On the corner was a big arc light on which the carbons were changed each day at that time. As a consequence they burned down to a certain point every night by about midnight. The light was covered by a frosted globe and the astute lineman discovered a flaw in this and turned it. There was no further manifestation on the window, it having been caused by the light shining through the flaw in the glass. The families moved back next day.

Coatesville Record; 3/13/1959
Offshoots From the MAIN STEM
By Steffe Tomasovich
ALL over the world today (pause) people are hanging on by their bare fingertips.
CAN'T remember who said that or where or for what reason, but I know I read it or heard it onetime and it's been a favorite quote ever since. (Perhaps because it brings to mind a picture of humanity dangling from the window sills of some structure like the Empire State Building or the Leaning Tower of Pisa.)
TODAY, however, let's offer it as an encouraging message to those beset by superstitions. Hang on! Even though it is Friday the Thirteenth--well the hours are flying and there's Saturday The Fourteenth coming around the corner of midnight. (Besides, February had one too and you got over it.)
ACTUALLY, while you and I are scoffing at the superstitious nonsense surrounding this particular day, there are many folks who believe that stuff. What's more, they have a raft of sayings to last them all year!
MY source of information on this matter is an ancient newspaper clipping that was dropped off at the sanctum recently. The headline above states "Frequent Superstitions That You Hear People Say Have Proved True." (Now really.)
TAKE this one. "If your ears burn, someone is thinking of you." (Well if mine ever do I sure hope that someone is a firefighter.)
"IF your palm itches, rub it on wood, it's sure to come good." (Don't do it. Not unless you're willing to settle for a splinter.)
"IF your nose itches inside, you will be pleased." (Well supposing the sneeze doesn't arrive?)
"IF your nose itches outside, you will be kissed, cursed, vexed or shake hands with a foll within an hour." (All right, that one covers so many possibilities it could hardly go wrong.)
HERE'S a real gem. "Sneeze on a Monday, sneeze for danger; Sneeze on a Tuesday, kiss a stranger. Sneeze on Wednesday, sneeze for a letter. Sneeze on Thursday for something better. Sneeze on Friday, sneeze for woe. Sneeze on Saturday, a journey to go. Sneeze on Sunday, see your lover tomorrow." (Or maybe, after all that sneezing you should see your doctor.)
"NEVER kill a money spider. If several people are together and a money spider is seen, see upon whose hand it will crawl." (Like fun! A spider is a spider, no matter how wealthy.) But the clipping claims, "It is a fact that when several people were present a money spider would only crawl up one person's hands and that person had a large present of money a few days afterward." (Probably a check from Blue Cross.)
"PUT wedding cake under your pillow, wear a borrowed wedding ring or put a ring on the fourth finger of your left hand, stand your shoes in the form of a T and you should dream of your future husband." (Anybody who goes through all that should have a nightmare.)
"TO drop the cutlery foretells that visitors are coming; if a knife, the visitor will be a man; if a fork a woman will come to see you; and if a spoon falls, a child." (And if you really like company I guess you just drop the silverware drawer.)
"IF when you wake on your birthday, you say the first man's name that comes into your head, that is the name of the man you will marry." (Well maybe that explains all those Hollywood husbands.)
OF course, everybody must know how to count cherry-stones, but in case "everybody" doesn't, here it is: Count them saying "This year next year, sometime, never and the word that comes on the last stone tells you your fate." (I don't get it either.) But, "to find out what profession your fate will follow, say this when counting the stones. Army, navy, doctor, divinity, law." (Of course if you're not interested in any of those professions you'll be a misfit for life but go ahead and try it if you want.)
THEN there's the one for counting your buttons. "Richman, poor man, beggarman, thief, doctor, lawyer, Indian chief." (Now obviously there's the reason why the Indian is called the Vanishing American.)


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