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A raven flying over a house, a cockerel crowing at night, or a white bird fluttering against the window meant there would be a death in the family.

It was unlucky to bring May blossom into the house. To sweep the house with a May broom meant the head of the household would be swept away too.

A dying person should not be allowed to lie on a bed or pillow stuffed with feathers from pigeons or wild fowl.

Once death had occurred, coins were placed on the eyes, a plate of salt was left on the body, and personal items and furniture used by the dead person covered with white cloths.

Suicides were buried in the middle of the night in a corner of the north side of the cemetery.

At Eccleshall in 1876 an old woman was found drowned in her well. The body was laid out on the ground. The grass where the corpse had rested turned a peculiar green. Her neighbours believed this proved that she had died by foul means.

In North Staffordshire it was believed that to see a dead body and not touch it would be followed by bad luck.

          (Sources: Jon Raven The Folklore of Staffordshire, 1978;
F.W.Hackwood, Staffordshire Customs, Superstitions and Folklore, 1924)

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