Perfect Paradise: Culture: Superstitions

Perhaps more than any other Western culture, Bahamians are completely steeped in superstition, even though their strong Protestant cultural influence would seem quite at odds with that. Unlike in other nations where superstitions are generally told with a laugh, Bahamians take theirs very, very seriously. Below are some of the most common Bahamian superstitions:

Bibles: If you drop a Bible onto the floor, you will go to Hell.

Elves: To keep elves (chickcharnies) away, you must carry pieces of colored cloth in your pockets and hang pieces outside your home.

Hurricanes: If sea grapes ripen early with plenty of fruit, you must begin to prepare for an early, terrible hurricane.

Newborns: Parents, and sometimes even physicians, tie black cord around a baby's wrists in order to ward off evil spirits.

Pregnancy: If a green lizard walks into a room, someone in the room (or the partner of someone in the room) is pregnant without knowing it, which can in turn mean having a difficult pregnancy.

Sleeping: Since you are most vulnerable to evil spirits while you sleep, place a Bible at your head before you fall asleep.

Spirits, Part I: To find a spirit, put sugar around the edges of wherever you think it is living or walking. If the sugar is brushed off, you have found the spirit.

Spirits, Part II: If you still cannot find the spirit, take some "bibby" (mucus) from the eye of an horse or dog and put it in your own. This will enable you to actually see the spirit.

Trees: Stay away from silk cotton trees, for those are where many evil spirits live.

If all else fails...: If the evil spirits still get you, write "x" on everything in sight, draw a circle around yourself with them, and chant the all-powerful Obeah phrase "Ten, ten, the Bible ten."