Doors in ghost lore

Doors : Numerous superstitions exist concerning doors and ghosts of the dead. It is widely believed to be unlucky to enter a house through the back door; this perhaps is one reason why corpses traditionally are carried out through the back. However, in certain areas the belief is the reverse: the corpse should be carried out the front door, lest other deaths occur in the household.

There are many charms and spells involving doors that are intended to keep ghosts from entering homes, or to force them out of homes. A circle chalked on doors, or patterns chalked on doorsteps, are believed to prevent ghosts—and the Devil and evil spirits—from entering. The markings must be unbroken and joined together. Slamming a door several times in a row catches a ghost between the door and the frame and forces it to leave the premises. A Norfolk, England, charm calls for unhinging the door, turning it around, and rehanging it.


  • Opie, Iona, and Moira Tatem. A Dictionary of Superstitions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.


The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits– Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – September 1, 2007

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