Tales of folklore and superstition

From tales of mysterious tricksters, fairies and imps, to traditions of avoiding ladders and throwing salt over your shoulder, the British Isles has a rich history of superstition and folklore. As the nights draw in, we’re calling for people around the UK to share their tales.

Many people across the nation still refuse to walk under ladders, always throw a pinch over their left shoulder when they spill salt, or never put shoes on the table lest it leads to bad luck. Traditions like this have been passed down for generations and every part of the UK has a different story.

Beliefs, fears and rituals

In Sussex, peony root necklaces were put on children to help with teething and to chase away evil spirits, while in Humberside a traditional rhyme recommends breaking the shell of a boiled egg to stop any passing witch using it to escape to sea.

Other historical beliefs are even stranger. The Devil throws his club over Northumberland’s blackberries in late autumn, rendering them poisonous. Whooping cough will never be caught by a Lancashire child who has ridden upon a bear. And to kill a beetle in the East Riding of Yorkshire will surely bring on rain.

Some of these traditions are still practised today, while others have been lost to time. 

Share your superstitious story

Do you have a local superstition? A family tradition that's been passed down through the generations? A folk story from a place near you? We'd love to hear your story. 

Please email us at superstitions@nationaltrust.org.uk 

 

Share your superstitious story Email us

Your privacy is important to us

By submitting my 'Superstitions' story, I consent to National Trust storing it for potential publication on National Trust channels in the future. I understand that my story will be anonymised before being stored or published and none of my contact details will be retained by National Trust in relation to this activity. Should my story be chosen for publication, I understand that I will not receive any further communications prior to this taking place.

If I have any queries about this project, I can email superstitions@nationaltrust.org.uk

The magic of autumn

Autumn is the perfect time to reflect on folklore and superstitions. As the weather gets colder and the days shorten we can stay inside and share stories.

" Autumn was traditionally seen as a dark, mysterious time when the veil between the worlds is thin. It’s a time when the light of summer begins to fade, and the darkness creeps in – along with reflections on the more shadowy side of life. "
- Dee Dee Chainey, author of A Treasury of British Folklore
Illustration by Joe McLaren from 'A Treasury of British Folklore' by Dee Dee Chainey

The folklore of Halloween 

As we move into the darker months of the year, Dee Dee Chainey, author of 'A Treasury of British Folklore', explores the history, customs and superstitions around Halloween.