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Notes and Queries

Number 20, March 16, 1850

Cover image for


Author: Various Authors
Published: 1850
Language: English
Wordcount: 14,896 / 53 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 72
LoC Category: AP
Downloads: 595
Added to site: 2005.08.02 11075
Genre: Periodical

e died during the night, and consequently she and her friends unfastened every lock in the house. On my inquiring the reason, I was told that any bolt or lock fastened was supposed to cause uneasiness to, and hinder the departure of the soul, and consequently upon the approach of death all the boxes, doors, &c., in the house were unlocked. Can any of your readers tell me whether this is in any way a general superstition amongst the lower orders, or is it confined to the West of England?

R.H. {316}

[This remarkable superstition forms the subject of a communication of the _Athenĉum_ (No. 990.) of 17th Oct. 1846: in a comment upon which it is there stated "that it originates from the belief which formerly prevailed that the soul flew out of the mouth of the dying in the likeness of a bird."]

* * * * *


The suggestion of your correspondent B.H.K. (No. 18. p. 286.) has been anticipated by Mr. Warton, who,



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