Drowning is definitely something none of us want to think about. I can’t hardly imagine what a terrible death that must be. Since this terrifying cause of death has struck so much fear into anyone that works or plays near or around masses of water, it’s no wonder that there have been so many superstitions and superstitious beliefs that have emerged from such a thing.
Common Beliefs on Drowning
Anyone that has done any research on drowning should be quite familiar with the idea that anyone drowning is sure to see their whole life flash before their eyes as death is approaching them. In fact this is quite a common belief when most any death is concerned.
It has also been a common belief that a person must surface three times before the sea or body of water will take their life from them. Another well known tid bit about drowning is that the salinity of the water can greatly affect the amount of time it takes for someone to drown. Salt water would take the longest as the salt water takes longer to absorb into the walls of the lungs than fresh water does.
Another wide spread superstitious belief about drowning is that a drowned body may take either seven, eight or nine days to rise to the surface.
Superstitions about Locating Drowning Victims
There seem to be many superstitious beliefs surrounding the location of drowned persons. One particular solution for this would be to fire off large guns over the water’s surface. This is supposed to cause the gall bladder to burst which in turn will cause the body to rise to the surface revealing it’s location.
They also say that by floating a lighted candle or loaf of bread that contains silver or mercury on the water will reveal the location of a body. Supposedly the candle or loaf of bread will be attracted to the body and drift towards it.
Other Superstitious Beliefs about Drowning
There is an old British superstition that claims it is unlucky to rescue a drowning man. They say he will most certainly become his rescuer’s enemy.
Irish and Scottish folklore says that every river will demand at least one human life for every year that passes. If the river does not receive it’s body for the year, then the life of a rescuer may be taken in it’s place. Not only this, but if the body is buried too far past the water line, then the sea may claim another life.
I’m hoping that these types of superstitions do not lead to sacrifices being performed by the towns people. Suddenly I get a picture in my mind of a fair maiden tied to the river’s edge awaiting some sort of creature of the deep.
Sailors Beliefs on Drowning
Most sailors and fishermen will say that discussions about drowning are strictly forbidden. They take this so seriously that many of them will refuse to learn how to swim on the inclination that prolonging the agony of death is unnecessary and it is better to resign themselves to their fate, if the sea is meant to claim their life. This seems a bit extreme if you ask me, I would at least want a fighting chance, wouldn’t you?
Many of these sailors and fishermen claim that the souls of drowned seafarers may be heard during high winds. Some think that the dead will reveal themselves in order to warn the living of their own imminent deaths.
Do you have any other great superstitions or superstitious beliefs about drowning? Maybe cultural or religious variations of the ones mentioned here? If so, please share in the comments below…