Where did this practice originate?

    I’m fascinated by the folklore of our ancestors.  When it came to ghosts and ghouls they had very definite practices. The one I’d like to tell in this post is Why cover mirrors after a death?

    First I looked to Europe, second to old Jewish tradition and third to the southern portion of the United States. Many interesting beliefs seem to originate from the south . . . from vampires to ghosts to voodoo practices . . . to covering mirrors with cloth.

    Why Cover The Mirrors?

    The thing is, when a person passes at home many people cover the mirrors thinking that the newly departed’s soul could get trapped in the mirror and not continue on their journey to “the light.”

    There is also the belief that one’s reflection in a mirror is a projection of an individual’s soul.  Thus covering the mirror prevents others from seeing their reflections — whether mourner or spirits from beyond ushering the newly departed to their destination and the newly departed.

    For some, mirrors are considered portals and by covering them, it keeps out any rift-raft from the spirit world.

    Also, with all the mourning going on, it is believed spirits can enter the body of the living through the nose or the mouth.  While bereaved, one’s guard is down and covering the mirrors is a safety precaution from possession.

    Evidently, many spirits don’t want to leave — so in their spirit form, they could indeed enter a body of the living through their nose or mouth. Thus, the practice for widows to wear a veil at the funeral . . . while others keep a handkerchief handy to cover the nose and mouth — and wipe the tears . . .

    Some cover the mirrors in black and others with a white sheet.  Still others use a spray to prevent the mirror from allowing reflections. The mirrors are usually covered or masked until after the funeral.

    When the body is removed from the house, it is advised that the deceased be taken out feet first. This prevents the corpse from looking back at others in the room and beckoning them to join him or her on their journey to the afterlife.

    That’s kind of “creepy” . . . but . . .

    I hope this was informative and answered the question of the ancient practice of covering mirrors after someone dies.

    Now, I can’t leave you without a story. I’m sorry I don’t have one about covered mirrors, but this one is about a message from beyond the grave you may find interesting.

    Granddad’s Message

    Joe’s grandfather was in a nursing home.  He was well into his 80’s and suffered a massive stroke that left him paralyzed on his right side and unable to speak.

    Joe’s sister, Emma, gave her grandfather a stuffed bear that when you squeezed it would say in a cute recorded message, “I love you.”

    Although they visited daily, Emma wanted her grandfather to know they loved him and they knew he loved them, too.  He would squeeze the bear when he saw them in greeting and again when they left.  The nurses said he would sleep with the bear and squeeze it periodically throughout the night and first thing in the morning.

    Days before her grandfather’s passing, Emma asked him, if he should pass, if he could send them a message that he was all right and arrived in heaven.  He squeezed her hand in agreement.

    One year to the date of his passing, the bear was sitting on the mantle of their home, as it had since his passing, and precisely at 6:32 in the evening (the time of his death), the bear said, “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

    I hope you enjoyed this post . . . and enjoyed the Real Ghost Story.

    Thanks for stopping by!!

    Sharon