Welsh Mining Superstitions


Wales has a large mining community that brings with it many superstitions. Here are some of them:

If a miner saw a pig on his way to work, he was to turn around and go back home. This was a sign of something bad about to happen. White rabbits and black dogs crossing your path on the way to the mine were also important signals to avoid going to work.

Birds were considered ominous signs when spotted around the pithead. It was an especially bad sign if they were pigeons, robins, or doves. These "corpse birds" were said to have been seen before the Senghenydd Explosion in 1913, when over 400 people were killed. Birds have been seen before many mining disasters.

At the Morfa Colliery in the early months of 1890, there were numerous strange happenings. There was a rose-like smell in the mines, said to be coming from "death flowers". Many said that they saw ghosts and heard ghostly cries for help. There were flickering lights called "corpse candles" seen in the tunnels. These omens were so strong that over half of the morning crew stayed home on March 10th. Later that day, there was an explosion and 87 miners were buried alive and died.

Some miners also believe that there are goblins or mine fairies. Some of these goblins were menacing and would lead a single miner away from the rest of the crew. Some would move tools around or hide them on the miners. These mine fairies could also be helpful. They could be heard knocking on the walls in the places where precious metals or minerals could be found.

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