If You See Any of These 15 Bad Omens, You Might Be About to Die

Are you the superstitious type? More interested in signs and omens than logic behind bad things that happen? This list is for you. With help from Ranker, we take a look at 15 things considered bad omens and signs of death.

1. Black buttterflies

These fluttering creatures can be found all over the world, and there are multiple cultures that view the butterfly as a symbol of change and rebirth. But in regions like China and Central America, crossing paths with a black butterfly is believed to be an omen of death.

2. Seeing your doppelganger

While the word “doppelganger” is German, there are multiple cultures who believe seeing an apparition or double of yourself is an omen that death is upon you. Modern science believes doppelgangers are real, but are the work of genetics and not folklore.

3. The deathwatch beetle

These pests like to burrow into wooden furniture and ceiling beams and then bang their heads against the walls to attract mates. So if you’re lying in bed with a serious illness and you can’t sleep because of the constant sound of these stupid bugs making so much noise … well, that’s how this beetle got its name.

4. The length of a child’s fingers

So apparently there are a ton of bad omens that can signify a child will pass away. If a child is born with long fingers, or gets its first tooth on the top jaw, or has its nails trimmed at too young of an age — the list of bad omens for children goes on and on.

5. Opals

The idea opals were a sign of death has origins tracing back to medieval Europe when it was linked to the Black Plague. It was noted that opals would be bright when the inflicted were alive, but then go dark after they passed. (It’s more likely the opal, like a mood ring, changed color because of the change in body temperature.)

6. Three knocks at the door

It may sound pretty simple — hear three knocks on the door means somebody is going to die. But this occurrence was believed to be an omen of death in many parts of the world, from Irish villages to the Native American tribes.

7. “Corpse candles”

Will-o-wisps, also called “corpse candles”, are balls of green light that hover in the night, usually over swamps and marshes. Lore points to will-o-wisps are omens of death — if one flies by your house or floats over a fisherman’s boat, someone will die. However, science points to these orbs as the result of swamp gas reflecting light off the water.

Next: The stuff horror movies are made out of …

8. A solar eclipse

As Ranker points out, solar eclipses throughout history have coincided with death, so it’s no wonder they were considered bad omens across different cultures. At least modern science has taught us differently.

9. Halley’s Comet

Before astrology and understanding of what goes on in outer space, comets were considered omens for all sorts of bad things. Halley’s Comet, in particular, has been blamed for earthquakes, red rain, and even the Black Plague.

10. The death crown

Here’s the deal: A “death crown” forms when the feathers in a down pillow circle and spiral into a crown-like shape inside a pillow. If this circular formation is found in the pillow of a sick person, it’s thought to be an omen the person could die, so the crown has to be shredded immediately.

Realistically: The crown forms because the sick person is tossing and turning in bed and the feathers inside the pillow get intertwined.

Next: Nowadays, this just sounds silly …

11. A cedar tree

This one gets a little convoluted. According to Ranker, if a cedar tree dies in your yard, that means a family member will die. Then if you try to remove the tree, you will die when the limbs grow to the length of your coffin.

How about just don’t have any cedar trees near your house? That sounds much more doable.

12. An owl

Some believe that owls are messengers of death — and given they are nocturnal creatures and pretty ominous-looking to begin with, we can see why. Supposedly, if an owl hoots whilst perching on a roof, death will visit that house.

13. Broken dishes and glassware

Broken dishes happen all the time, right? According to some superstition, if your glassware breaks while making a toast, it could be a death omen for the person being toasted. (If you believe in that sort of thing.)

14. Baked bread

You know things are getting crazy if baking bread has been pulled into the bad omen category. Supposedly if a loaf of bread splits across the top while baking or spills over the top of the pan, someone in the home will die. Frankly, we didn’t think bread baked any other way.

15. A broken clock

Not any and all clocks, but grandfather clocks. If a weight in the clock broke, it was believed to be a sign someone in the family would die. Moreover, if a clock stuck 13 times instead of 12, it was meant to be the ultimate bad omen.

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