phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Home | Search the website Search | Discussion Forum Home|

Somebody has just walked over my grave

Posted by James Briggs on October 16, 2000

In Reply to: Somebody has just walked over my grave posted by ESC 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.

Also well known in the UK throughout my life, ie very well established!!