Deep within the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, a rich tapestry of superstitions and folklore has woven itself into the lives of its people. These eerie and enchanting tales have been passed down through generations, shaping the way communities view life, death, and the supernatural. Let’s explore some spine-tingling Appalachian wives’ tales that continue to send shivers down the spine:

1. Covering Mirrors Black for Death: Covering mirrors with black cloth when someone passes away is believed to prevent their spirit from becoming trapped in the mirror, ensuring a peaceful transition to the afterlife. Another superstition is the next person to look in the mirror after the death of a loved one will die next.


2. Bird in the House Means a Death Is Approaching: The fluttering of a bird inside the house is an omen of impending doom. The presence of a bird is thought to foretell a death within the family or community.


3. Bad Things Come in Threes – Appalachia Fatalism: This superstition suggests that when misfortune strikes, it does so in a series of three. Be it accidents, illnesses, or other calamities, brace yourself for a trio of woes.


4. Haints Appear as Animal Shapes: “Haints” are restless spirits that haunt the living, and they are believed to manifest as various animal shapes. Seeing a mysterious animal at night can send shivers down one’s spine as it may be a harbinger of the supernatural.


5. Saying Ezekiel 16:6 to Stop Bleeding: In times of emergency, the Bible verse Ezekiel 16:6 is invoked to stop bleeding. This practice, reminiscent of faith healing, has deep roots in Appalachian culture and history.


6.Haint Blue”: This originated from the Gullah culture in South Carolina and Georgia but has influence in Appalachia. Painting the porch roof a pale blue-green is believed to ward off evil spirits. Haints will assume the ceiling is the sky or water and get confused on how to enter the house.


As we delve into these spine-chilling Appalachian wives’ tales, we not only glimpse the region’s rich folklore but also gain insight into the strong sense of community and spirituality that defines life in the mountains. These traditions may seem mysterious and eerie, but they are a testament to the enduring power of storytelling and the human need to make sense of life’s mysteries, especially in the heart of Appalachia. So, as you explore these tales, remember to keep one eye on the shadows – you never know what might be lurking there.

If you’re interested in listening to more storytelling, join us for a spine-tingling evening at Brews & Boos in Jimmy Neil Smith Park! Enjoy ghost stories with world-renowned storytellers Lyn Ford and Michael Reno-Harrell along with fall-themed brews, cider, and delicious bites from Main Street Café & Catering. Bring your blankets and chairs for a night of chills and thrills! Tickets available online at or call Jonesborough Visitors Center at 423.753.1010. Limited gate tickets available!

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