Ghostly Protection & Superstitions

Superstitions are like candy to me. They are sometimes strange, often odd and really get my story writing gears turning.

I was perusing one of my superstition books the other day looking for story ideas (yes, I peruse) and came upon the entry for ghosts.

It talked about the usual – how ghosts manifest themselves as apparitions; how spirits return to earth for a variety of reasons, including vengeance, warning others of danger and other unfinished business.

But it also talked about an old Scottish tradition of wearing a cross of Rowan wood fastened with red thread concealed in one’s coat.

Photo from https://artesandcraft.com


Apparently rowan trees are believed to protect one from the “interference” of witchcraft. They have been planted in graveyards because they prevent the slumber of the dead from being preserved. So why would one need to wear a rowan wood cross to ward off ghosts?

The Druids supposedly believed rowan wood to have protective qualities and they often nailed rowan branches over doorways to stop evil spirits from entering. The branches were often gathered on May 3rd (Holy Rood Day or Rowantree Day) and left there until the following May 3rd when they were replaced.

So powerful was the rowan tree thought to be for these protective powers that it has been said that to touch a witch with a rowan stick would immediately allow the witch to be dragged to hell by the Devil himself.


Whether ghosts, witches or other kindred evils, it is believed that so long as the rowan cross lasted, no ghost or witch would have the power to interfere with the wearer.


So, what do you think about this superstition? Have you heard of it before? Do you think rowan crosses can protect one from ghosts, witches or other purported evils? Share your thoughts below!


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