Illinois February 17, 2018
10 Superstitions You’ll Only Understand If You Grew Up In Illinois
Between our agricultural history and our folklore, Illinois has developed many superstitions over the years. Though most know these myths are to be taken with a grain of salt, there are still many who believe they are true.
Strange sightings to wacky practices make up this list of 10 things Illinoisans are superstitious about. Check them out:
1. More black than brown on Woolly Bear caterpillars means a harsh upcoming winter.
You may remember hunting for these little guys in your youth. The rumor that they can predict the weather goes back eons, but it became more widely known in 1948 when actual experiments began to test the myth's accuracy. It has never been proven.
2. Bulbs and vegetables that grow below the ground should be planted by the dark of the moon.
Superstitions relating to agriculture and nature are common in Illinois. This possible myth was spread by the Farmer's Almanac, and many still follow the rule today. It is believed that the moon's gravitational pull affects the growing process.
3. Seeing the moon through trees is a sign of bad luck.
This myth goes back to Celtic times and is derived from odd fears about the power of the moon. Obviously, this has not been proven, and any bad luck that arises after seeing the moon in this way is just coincidence.
4. Four-leaf clovers are even more effective when placed in your left shoe.
It's not enough in Illinois to just find one of these rare yet natural occurrences. Placing it in your shoe is thought to enhance your chances of being lucky, especially when hitchhiking, apparently. If you find one, place it in your shoe and go play the lottery.
5. If you plant a cedar tree in a cemetery, you will die when it is tall enough to shade your grave.
As trees take a long time to grow, there might be some truth to this myth. These trees are often known as burial trees as their shallow root system allows them to grow anywhere.
6. Witches can steal milk by placing a towel over a rack or the door of a cattle barn.
Many superstitions in Illinois come from folklore. Tales about witches especially were once rampant all throughout the country. In this myth, a witch could collect milk by hanging out a towel that she would then wring out to get the liquid.
7. Uncanny bad luck means you've been bewitched.
We're not talking stubbed-your-toe bad luck. This is your-cattle-died, your-tractor-won't-start, and you're-coming-down-with-a-sickness kind of bad luck. According to superstition, odds are if all this happens at once, you've been cursed.
8. It's bad luck to step on a daddy long-legs.
Often seen around farms, it was thought to be bad to kill these guys because they helped with the crop. Your grandmother is probably still warning you about stepping on one.
9. Bigfoot is real.
This is a superstition that has been around Illinois for several decades. Sightings of this "missing link" have been reported all over the country, and Illinois is home to the second largest number of them.
10. The Cubs stopped winning games because a billy goat got kicked out of the World Series.
Even Chicago can't escape some weird superstitions. It was believed by many for the longest time that the reason the Cubs would never win another World Series was because William Sianis said so. The original owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, he famously took his goat to a game but was asked to leave when other fans complained about the smell. On his way out, he reportedly said, "Them Cubs, they ain't gonna win no more," and they didn't for 108 years.
For more weird facts about our state, check out these
16 crazy traditions you’ll only get if you grew up in Illinois.
What other superstitions have you heard growing up in Illinois? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!