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Somebody has just walked over my grave

Posted by ESC on October 16, 2000

In Reply to: Somebody has just walked over my grave posted by Debbie Winkworth on October 16, 2000

: Does anybody know why we say this when you have a shiver down your spine and where it originated from?
The following is from a July 2000 discussion of the phrase. Does anyone have any insight into this old saying?

Does anyone know the origins of the phrase "someone walked over my grave" that people use when they shiver for no reason?

: : : It is taboo in my part of the U.S. (mountains of West Virginia) to step on a grave. You walk around it. I'll have to do a little research to get more details.

: : So far, I've found two versions of this saying:

: : "If you suddenly shudder, it means a rabbit (or goose) has run across your grave." This is from The Mountain Times, Appalachian Folk Beliefs, online. Another source yielded the belief that shuddering meant a goose was running across your grave.

: : I am not exactly sure what this means. A person or animal walks across your grave. Does that mean the site where your grave will be located? Or does it mean a trespass on your grave in the future causes a retro effect and makes the "living you," in the present, shiver?

: Thanks. I've never understood that either. I've always wondered if the phrase came from Ireland, which would it might through the Appalachian connection.

It is definitely used in the Appalachian Mountains. But I also saw it on a site of Newfoundland sayings. I didn't find it in any of the reference books I have.