owls have a long and ancient history. These nocturnal creatures
often appear in horror mystery films, have been associated with
dark, haunting night themes, and grace our Halloween décor
each fall. Their wide staring eyes give them a wise appearance,
while the ability to turn their head around makes them fascinating
and mysterious creatures. Tuffs of feathers on the top of an owl’s
head gives them the appearance of horned devils and their piercing
cries add to the spook effect found in the ancient folklore of
In many cultures owls were symbols of magic. In
England, it was believed that if you cooked an owl’s eggs
until they were ash, it could be used as a potion to improve eyesight.
In India, if you ate an owl’s eyes you would get the same
Witches were often linked to owls. One Greek &
Roman superstition believed that witches could turn themselves
into an owl and then they would swoop down and suck the blood
of babies. Other superstitions related to witches and owls were:
that the owls were messengers for sorcerer’s and witches,
that they danced together on the graves of the dead and that if
you hear the hoot of an owl, then a witch approaches.
In today’s world, we have learned that most of these owl
superstitions are just stories, born in a time when people were
fearful and trying to find answers to their lives and environment.
However, many of these legends survived over time. Here are some
other interesting and somewhat strange superstitions that are
linked to owls.
* An owl hooting or screeching at night could result
in the death of a newborn baby, will cause the child to have an
unhappy life, or possibly that the baby would become a witch.
If the owl was heard screeching during cold weather it signaled
that a storm was coming.
* Owls apparently are the only creatures that can
live with ghosts, so if an owl is found nesting in an abandoned
house, the place must be haunted.
* Death is often associated with owls such as if:
an owl perches on the roof of your house or hearing an owl hooting
* If a traveler dreamed of an owl, then that meant
he would be robbed or possibly shipwrecked.
* A silly owl superstitions is that if you see an
owl perched in a tree and you walk around and around that tree,
the owl will follow you with it’s eyes, turning his head
around until he wrings his own neck. (The reality is that an owl
cannot turn his head completely around).
* Not all superstitions were bad. Owls were also
believed to bring good fortune in some cultures. An Afghanistan
legend states that it was the owl that presented humans with flint
and iron so they could make fire. In exchange, man gave owls their
* The Aborigines of Australia believe that owls
are the spirits of women and are therefore sacred, while in Brittany
is was a good sign to see an owl on the way to the harvest as
it meant that it would be a good yield that year.
* The owl is a symbol of guidance and help by the
Inuit’s of Greenland, while the people of Indonesia saw
them as wise beings using the owl’s different calls to determine
whether to travel or not.
There are many, many more legends concerning the
owl. The reality is that owls are very helpful to us as they are
excellent at pest control, especially Barred Owls. They control
the population of mice, voles, moles, rats, skunks, snakes, insects
and slugs to name a few. So this Halloween, put together an owl
superstition trivia sheet for the guests at your Halloween party
and add a friendly wise old owl to your décor. It's the
perfect "night watchman".
Author Resource Information:
(c) 2005. Rose Smith is the owner of HalloweenHowl.com a website
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