Haint Blue and Other Paranormal Superstitions in the South

You can listen to this episode by clicking here.

Hey, y’all and welcome to Southern Macabre! I’m Aeryn and I’m so glad you’re here today!

Now I know I said that this would be a weekly podcast and blog, but I’m considering doing Missing Person Monday, Paranormal Wednesday, and True Crime Friday. Each story I tell you takes at least a week or two to research/write and another week to record. I learned through podcasting that I’m a perfectionist so everything takes a little longer. So we’ll see how this new schedule works out for all of us.

Today I want to do something lighter and not scary. That may not be the case in future episodes because I want to tell you a couple of stories that my family and or I experienced personally. Those stories always seem to intrigue people and more than one person has said they got goosebumps.


To start off, do y’all know why old houses in the south have a blue porch floor, blue door, or a blue ceiling on the porch? The blue painted part changes by region, but the meaning is the same. It was to keep haints out of the house. If you’re not from ‘round here you may be wondering what a haint is. It’s a ghost or an evil spirit and the stories came from African slaves in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. However, the stories have spread throughout the south.

The idea was that ghosts can’t cross water so the blue color would trick them into not entering the home.

The blue color is actually called “haint blue” and is similar to the blue used by the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.

Haint Blue

Being from Virginia I’m planning to paint my doors “haint blue” even though the old houses ‘round here have blue ceilings on the porches. Our pastor even mentioned his MawMaw’s blue ceiling in a sermon one Sunday morning. It’s how I learned the old tradition had spread outside Appalachia.


Another way southerners dealt with “haints” was a bottle tree, another tradition started by African slaves. They would slide glass bottles on to branches of a tree, typically a crepe myrtle. The idea was for “haints” or evil spirits to be attracted to the bottles when the moonlight struck them and become trapped. You could hear the spirits moaning through the night, angry that they had been captured. The sun’s rays would destroy them leaving the bottles empty and ready for that night.

Today southerners often make their own tree out of metal or wood and place different colored bottles on it as a beautiful decoration. Or a way to show off how much wine you drank in 2020 and 2021.


This one I have never seen or heard until I was doing research. Supposedly if you hang a mirror by your front door it will keep the devil himself from entering. He’ll see himself in it and look at himself all night forgetting why he came to the home in the first place.

Personally, I hate mirrors and there’s only one in my house and it hangs in the bathroom. I don’t know why, but I have always feared that I would look in a mirror, especially at night, and see someone behind me. So, I don’t look in mirrors once it gets dark unless it’s an accident.


This one I do remember, but I haven’t done it since I was little. You’re supposed to hold your breath as you pass a cemetery to prevent the recently deceased from possessing you. If it’s an old cemetery I’m usually gawping at the tombstones trying to spot anything unusual. I have learned a lot of unique last names while riding around with my family.

Also, particularly in rural areas, you could pass a dozen cemeteries and never know. A woman not far from here opted to be buried in her front yard. I never would have known if I hadn’t been driving a friend around who pointed this out to me. Now I point her out every time I get someone knew in the car. Hard to hold your breath when you’re talking.


I hope that you enjoyed this short episode. Next Wednesday I’m going to tell you about southern cryptids. Don’t know what a cryptid is? Well, Bigfoot would be the best known example. I’ll tell you a few stories, but there are others down here that you may not know.

Also, come back Friday for our weekly true crime episode. I’m going to talk about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women of a county in North Carolina. I don’t want to give too much away, but five went missing or were murdered there in a three month stretch and it hasn’t been solved.

I am on Facebook and Twitter if you want to get in touch with me. Or you can email me, it’ll be in the description.

Thank you so much for tuning in today! I hope you have enjoyed Southern Macabre and you will tune in again soon. Please leave us a review, like, and/or follow us wherever you get your podcasts. Have a safe and blessed week!


Credits

What is a haint? – True Tales of Southern Haints

Southern Superstitions and Traditions – Local Life (locallifesc.com)

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