Humans have always been superstitious about death, and many of those superstitions revolve around the hearse used to transport deceased persons. After all, no vehicle is more associated with death than a funeral car. Here are some of the more interesting hearse superstitions and their origin, when available.
Hearse superstitions you may not know about
1. Toss coins on the ground in front of a hearse
According to Cake, in the island nation of the Philippines, people toss coins on the ground in front of the hearse to provide a bit of afterlife spending money to the deceased. This superstition bears similarity to ancient Egypt, where the dead were buried with food, trinkets, and other things they might need after death.
2. Never stop the hearse in a funeral procession
When the U.S. was a young country, people believed that a hearse that stopped on the way to a funeral was a harbinger of death to someone in the house where the hearse was parked. Some African cultures hold a similar superstition that suggests a hearse that stops three times on the way to a funeral portends the same number of deaths in the family.
3. After a funeral, don’t travel the same route taken by the hearse
Many cultures from Africa to Appalachia believe that if you return home after a funeral along the same route the hearse took to get there, the spirit of the person just buried will follow you home and haunt your house.
4. Never pass the hearse in a funeral procession
Not only is passing a funeral procession disrespectful, but it’s also bad luck. If you see a line of cars led by a hearse, spare yourself any cosmic complications by allowing the procession to pass as a whole.
5. Never transport a dead person in your family car
Not only is a hearse the most practical way to transport a deceased person, but it’s also the safest. According to several cultures, taking a recently-dead person for a ride in the family car will hasten the demise of another family member.
6. If you see a hearse, touch a button
Some say that counting the cars in a funeral procession will shorten your life to the same number of days. According to One World Memorials, this unfortunate outcome can be prevented by touching a shirt button whenever you see a hearse.
A few more hearse superstitions to know about
If you see your reflection in a hearse, you will soon die
The mere sight of a hearse reminds people of their fatal future, so it comes as a little surprise that seeing one’s reflection in a hearse means to some that their demise is imminent, says Funeral Help Center.
A hearse pulled by two white horses means a neighbor will soon die
According to Tutorials Point, many superstitions involve horses. Supposedly, a horse-drawn hearse may portend the death of a neighbor, especially when the horses are white.
Driving a brand-new hearse brings bad luck
Unless you are a professional driver who works for a funeral home, you should avoid driving a brand-new hearse before your demise is hastened.
Protect yourself from superstition
An empty hearse driving toward you in some parts of the United States is considered good luck. It is thought to bring three days of bad luck in other regions. An empty hearse moving in the other direction may indicate your impending demise, says Psychic Library.
If you are superstitious enough to believe those mentioned above, go ahead and toss a handful of salt over your shoulder, or do as the Victorians did and touch a shirt button until a bird flies by.