Marie Lodi
March 02, 2016 6:30 pm
Universal Pictures

During childhood, many of us fell for the various lies our parents told us in order to get us to quiet down and behave. While these tall tales may sound completely ridiculous looking back, some were so successful in freaking us out they might still be lingering in our subconscious, tormenting us in our older age. Thanks a lot, parents!

Here are 21 lies and superstitions our parents used to scared us when we were kids.

Some of them were culturally specific. For instance, this Russian lore:

“If you’re an unmarried female and you sit at the corner of a table you will never get married. (THE HORROR).”

“Don’t ever directly give someone money because if you do that, you are transferring your energy to them, and some of it might be bad.”

“If a woman sits on the cold floor, she will become infertile.”

“My dad used to tell me that if I was bad, the Cossacks would come and take me away. Then he’d point to a bush and be like, ‘They could be hiding in there.'”

And some sounded similar to other people’s superstitions:

“Going outside with wet hair will give you a cold.”

“Going to sleep with wet hair will give you a headache.”

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“You have to clean your plate/bowl or else it’ll reflect badly on your future husband’s (always husband’s) looks.”

“The further away from the grasping tip you hold your chopsticks, the farther you’ll move from home.”

“My mom is very into astrology, and so she won’t let us make any important life decisions when the moon is void of course because then our decision ‘won’t stick.’ Note that the moon is void of course at least four times a week. Same goes for Mercury being in retrograde — we’re not allowed to buy electronics or she’ll make us return them and wait for Mercury to be out of retrograde.”

“If my brother and I were misbehaving as kids, my mom would pick up the phone, dial, and pretend she was talking to Santa Claus. Obviously, we’d get our act together so she didn’t shit talk us to the big man in red. Definitely thought my mom had celeb connections.”

“We were taught to say ‘Rabbit Rabbit’ first thing in the morning on the first of the month to have good luck that month and if we see that the clock says 11:11 we have to say really quickly ’11:11, hold your breath and make a wish!’ and then we make a wish.”

“Also my parents had me convinced that if I did/did not eat certain things, my growth would be stunted. My grandmother actually still reminds me that coffee will stunt my growth.”

“Don’t face the bottom of your bed toward a door or window — your luck will walk out the door while you’re sleeping.”

“Fish is brain food and you have to eat it if you want to be smart.”

Some sounded like questionable medical advice:

“Don’t breathe in cold air after a hot meal or else you’ll get a cold.”

“Being stricken by strong gusts of wind is the direct cause of sickness.”

Others were just plain terrifying.

“You can’t sew on Sundays because every stitch you sew on Sunday you have to take out with your nose in hell.” (My mom still will NOT sew in Sundays, “just in case.”)

“Don’t ever hammer a nail into the wall after sundown because it’s like you’re hammering a nail into your own coffin.”

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