Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Just In Case The Superstition Is True

Brasilians are some of the most superstitious people I've ever met. Gilberto and his family most definitely included. They believe some of the craziest things. And I mean, believe.

It's been a source of great amusement to me, since I'm NOT the superstitious kind.

Like, Gilberto believes that if you leave your shoes turned upside down, it will kill your mother. He is very protective of his mother, and thus gets incredibly upset when he finds shoes upside down in our house.

Gilberto: LAURAL! These shoes were UPSIDE DOWN! You KNOW they can't be that way!

Sometimes, to get his goat, I leave them upside down on purpose. I might even turn a pair or two over from right side up every once in a while to see if he notices. It's just too much fun to watch him freak out when he finds them!

I know, I'm terrible. But Gilberto teases me mercilessly about other things, so a little payback is just evening things out.

Oh, and his mother has yet to die. So it's all good.

Recently, Gabi has started to play with imaginary friends. Four older sisters, to be exact, with lovely old-fashioned sounding names.

Well, Gilberto believes in some sort of Brasilian superstition that says imaginary friends are really spirits that only children can see. Whenever Gabi talks about her older sisters, he gets goosebumps and whispers to me, "the spirits are out today."

And you know what?

It's starting to FREAK ME OUT.

Because Gabi plays with these imaginary friends like they really are here with her.

They go everywhere with her. She waves them out of the car and won't let me close the door until they're all out, she won't let me sit certain places because an older sister is already sitting there, she won't watch a movie that one of them doesn't like, and she talks to them ALL the time.

The conversations she has with her imaginary sisters are pretty involved, too. She even pauses for them to answer, then gets upset when we don't hear them respond.

Gabi: MOM! Adelaide is RIGHT THERE. Why can't you hear her?

It really creeps Gilberto out. So far, though, he's kept it to himself, and Gabi is none the wiser that her new friends scare her daddy.

Last night Gabi threw a fit because her older sisters were sleeping in her bed, and they would get mad if she laid down on top of them. Gabi was seriously traumatized by me making her lay down in her bed.

Her behavior was so odd, it got me thinking. What if Gilberto is right? What if all that Catholic Voodoo stuff he grew up with has some truth to it? The result was that I was up all night worrying that I'd made her lay down on spirits!

So I'd just like to thank my husband for finally breaking what was left of my sanity. You did it, honey! I've joined the dark side of superstition!

Perhaps I should join Gabi and her sisters for some tea. And be extra nice to them all, just in case the superstition is true.


  1. hahaha!! I believe that too.. not the shoes part, but the imaginary friends! I do believe that children are more sensible to spirits than older people! But you shouldn't worry, just play along with her, eventually she will stop to see them when she gets older! :)

  2. What would be the consequence of lying on a spirit, anyway? I don't think any of this stuff has to do with Catholicism, though. Or Voodoo, for that matter.

  3. Fawn-

    Where my husband is from in Brasil, they are all Catholic, but mix quite a bit of voodoo into the religion. It creates quite an interesting belief system. Including a LOT of superstitions.

    Right by my inlaws house, in a really nice neighborhood, someone strung a chicken up in a tree, with a jar of entrails below it and a bunch of notes held down by the jar. There was a bunch of other stuff, but my inlaws wouldn't let me go near it. They said if I got too close, the spell would transfer to me. And they are Catholic!

  4. Well, okay, I'll give you the voodoo, then. ;) (Serves me right, since I know next to nothing about that religion.)

    I guess I was just trying to say that the superstitions are not something that stem from Catholicism. I'm Catholic, myself, and I think my Christian Living teachers would be rather shocked by some of the superstitions you mention! :)

  5. Has Gabi seen Drop Dead Fred? This reminds of that in a huge way.

    I think for this age, it's typical but I think I'd be a tad freaked out too if my hubby were superstitious in any way.

  6. Hey Laurel,
    it's Ernie. I agree with Gilberto on the "older sisters". I've been researching a lot about ghosts and spirits lately and learned that sometimes when an apartment or house is being constructed on, that it unleashes the spirits within. Even if your neighbors have been doing construction on their house. It's possible. If I were you, I would try sometime to get Gabi and yourself alone in a room with the "sisters" and try to see if you can feel anything...different. I like your idea of playing nice with Gabi's new friends. Stay a little cautious. Even young kid spirits can be intimidating. I'll give you some more information on supernatural entities. I've learned quite a bit and can probably be of help if it goes any further than friendly playing.



    If the "older sisters" really are spirits, than why would they want to play with Gabi if they are older than her? Just something that's been bugging me. Don't worry.

  7. Man, you are so getting yourself into trouble. I'm not going there, but the whole story reminds me of that Nicole Kidman movie, I'm too lazy to google what it is. Now that freaked me out. Gabi's 'friends/sisters' seems totally normal!

  8. Wow! I have to admit - I TOTALLY believe my daughter (1) can see ghosts. She's always laughed at doorways, or talked to corners. (But, a lot of people in my immediate family have actually seen the spirits of family members that have already passed away. These are our "friendly ghosts." They're seriously helpful! One even got my father out of bed and led him down the hall to my brother's room, where my little bro had fallen asleep with a HUGE hard candy in his mouth, just waiting to choke on it!)

    The other thing is...why do these friends come in fours! My other little bro had four "guys" that he took everywhere. They left one day when we moved across the state - he sent them to live with our Grandmother and watch out for her, and he never mentioned them again.

  9. That would freak me out too but I don't believe it is because she can see spirits. I am sure she is just enjoying letting her imagination run and seeing that everyone around her reacts to it.

  10. PS: Catholics are Christians as well!

  11. Matty has an imaginary friend...but he is a mouse. Named Jerry. What does THAT mean???

    OMG. I let him watch too much Tom and Jerry, don't I?!?!

    Your commenter above has me freaked out...our house is going to be under some "construction" for the next two days. If it "releases" ghosts, I will SCREAM!!

  12. I just found your blog through SITS and I love it! I love the design, it is so pretty and peaceful, and easy to look at and read. Anyways, it was fun to find you and read this post!

  13. Wow... I'm not a superstitious person either. But this story is hilarious!

    Wow - just think, soon enough you may be serving meals to Gabi and her "sisters". Let's hope they aren't picky eaters!

  14. I think there might be some truth to thi. My neighbor had this experience with her daughter (looking at something behind them and referring to "that man").

    She had someone perform a blessing on the house (she's Jewish) and it stopped.

  15. I had an imaginary friend growing up...LOL. He was french. And when I can't find stuff, I still say he took it. I don't know if that makes me crazy or superstitious

  16. Your post is hilarious! I love the way you tease your hubby btw.
    I have to be the only one so far that believes it's only a very good imagination. Nothing wrong with that. It shows your daughter is very intelligent infact!
    Love the blog and I'm adding it to my daily click blogroll!

  17. Oh my! That's quite a story! I'm not superstitious but that might creep me out a bit.

    My mom swears that when I was a baby we had a ghost in our house that only I could see. She would hear the rocking chair rocking and me chatting away happily to whomever it was.

  18. I am not superstitious, other then I won't look at a mirror in the dark--ya know Bloody Mary? Yeah I know I am a dork. Anyhoo We do have a ghost that likes to open doors so I run into them, especially my closet door. i yell at him all the time to stop but he thinks it's funny. That or I am just starting to become senile and I leave them open and forget....

  19. MH recently developed an imaginary dog named Arco (full details - it's a he that is blue with pink stripes and he has a bed near her bedroom door, he likes to run around our yard and play with Mimi the imaginary cat), and an imaginary cat who is purple and does not have her own bed so Arco is kind enough to share his with her. The odd thing is, she had this nightmare MONTHS ago where she woke up telling us she didn't want the cats to be there. Now, before she goes into either bathroom, she asks us to make sure no cats will come in, and she makes other similar comments during different situations. Yet, she recently developed her invented cat friend and likes other cat things. Including her new fave movie, the Aristocat. Weird, no? I'm not very superstitious - I think our kids just have really vivid imaginations!

  20. We have lots of this going on in our house as well - Not so much the cultural superstitions, but I am a very intuitive person and my older son has always seen things, said things and KNOWN things that there would be no way for him to know without some sort of mystical "something". I choose to believe that these events are God's way of reminding us to pray for, call or contact whomever we are thinking about.

    I have have really been intentional about allowing Sam to talk freely, experience and live in HIS world - whatever that includes - I don't want to squelch something that could truly be a gift for him and for anyone that he may touch with his sensitive, intuitive spirit.

    I do, however, have many "heebie jeebie" moments!


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