Witches.—A horseshoe hung over the door will keep them out. Another charm was to collect pieces of mountain ash before sunrise on May I. The gatherer must leave the house in silence, speak to no one, and not look back. The mountain ash was then put up over the doors of barns and outhouses to keep witches from souring milk, keeping cream from rising, and stealing hay. (From my informant's use of the past tense I gather that this once common practice has gone out.)
If bewitched, draw a figure of the witch on a board and fire a charge of shot into it. This, done before sunrise, will break the spell.
If the cattle are bewitched, take the milk of one of the cows, put pins in it, and boil it. This makes the witch suffer, and she will come to the house to ask about the cows. She may thus be detected.
A charm for infants horn with hernia.—Let the father and mother of the child stand out of doors by the side of the house with a ladder between them. The midwife must then pass the child between the father's legs, through the rungs of the ladder, and so into the hands of the mother, and then back again, repeating the operation three times and reciting at each passage the names of the Trinity.
Calendar customs.—Do not let any of your possessions leave the house on New Year's Day. First foot—the name is used—must be dark, as a fair first foot is very unlucky.
Travel.—If a boat or ship is obliged to change course, she should do it sun-wise, to bring good luck. Bad luck is presaged if at the commencement of a journey a crow flies across the bow of the vessel.
Sweeping.—To sweep the floor after dark brings bad luck. The population from whom the above beliefs are drawn were said by my informant to be part English, part Dutch. I gathered that he used the word "Dutch" correctly, and did not mean "German."
Cape Breton.—The above belief in "first foot" is especially prevalent there.
A Cape Breton miner if he meets a rabbit on his way to work will turn back and do no work that day.