True stories of Culture & Superstitions – Steve Ramsey

True stories of Culture & Superstitions

In the late 1960s  my father was stationed in north Iraq army camp,  my family lived in an old large Turkish house in Baghdad with a water well, long corridors and large rooms.  ” That was an amazing house with an amazing structure and bath, Now, 100 year old buildings come with their own quirks like strange heating, heated bath floor with  hot water to warm up the Turkish bath .

 Funny noises, a long history and a ghost. Really. Even my skeptical father had an experience one winter morning when he came downstairs to turn on the oil stove under the bath. Someone walked up behind him. He thought it was one of the kids but when he turned around, no one was there. It happened to my mother too many times as she told us later on .

My father told us that he heard and felt someone walking  behind him. And when he turned  he saw no one ! It was a normal fall day like any other and my brother Sam and sister Ahlam and I were at home . we were children. We look after our sister until my mom come back from the market and she made my sister sleep after she fed her.

Children do a lot of dumb things. This particular day, we were daring each other to walk out of the high wall that about 20 feet  high.  and to see how far we could get across the patio top without losing our nerve.

I cannot remember if I was the first kid out on the patio top but I was certainly the last. As I walked along, I slipped and fell.


I thought I will die as it is almost 20 feet down and I remember my mom and cried , I fall down to the ground. I remember hearing my brother  scream my name. Then, I remember him  waking me up as I lay on the ground. I remember nothing in-between.

My mom was called. I was rushed to the hospital having just fallen 20 feet to land on my back and shoulder.

 The doctors were all mystified as to why I was not paralyzed or dead. Those who fall from that height and land the way I did almost never walk away unscathed. “Your son  must have been limp when he hit the ground to only sustain a bruise. This is very unusual. Most people tense up when they fall. It’s a very good thing he didn’t.” The  Dr told my mother at the hospital.

When we got home, my Mother sat us all down to find out what happened. We quickly agreed that my brother Sam and I were in the window, playing and my brother Raad had come in  running to play with us and scared us. I toppled over out of the edge and slid down the patio top. And I saw the clothes rope moved by itself toward me so I grabbed it and break down my fall , there was no wind the rope was strong and close to the wall and just moved by itself toward me! My mom start praying and praise God and started say thanks in the room and we thought my mom just lost it…why she is talking to space and thank the empty space!!!  We laughed and start playing.

2- This one I call Funny culture.

So many cultures have so many ideas and ways to reflect their believe and culture experience .

I collected more than 1200 ideas from 150 different cultures around the world from far china, south east Asia ,japans, Korea to native Indian in Canada and I found many links between them

One day I will take each of these cultures and expose different ideas and how they deal with daily routine and superstitious  thoughts. 

I was visiting a friend family who just had a new baby boy back in Brunei 1996

He was very nice friends I used to go with him as volunteer deep in the jungle to teach the Dusoon, and Muruot  .

When I entered my friend house , many people were sitting give congratulation and talking , a baby was sleeping on the side in the crib.  I noticed a small piece of paper on the baby forehead . I thought it was a piece of flying paper fall in his forehead so  I removed it.

loud scream saying No, No don’t remove the paper!!!! Suddenly the child start crying!

Put it back, put it back they all said,  so I put the small paper on his forehead , the child stop crying ,   I took it out again he start crying and put back again he stopped crying!!

I was surprise there is no scientific explanation of this !why I said

We don’t know but it is culture thing and it work, we dont ask why when its work, they said.

So I said that it is very good method to keep some one quiet by putting small paper on His / her forehead ,  they all said yes,  put one on your forehead and laughed.

ha ha ha, lol   …before I left I took the paper again for a second and the baby cry I put back on his forehead and run away from the house,  puzzled and amazed.  Ohhh  Steve you like a child put one on your forehead….the crowd said.

3- My Mom once told me that when I was born and after few months I started get my teeth .But my teeth started to come from my upper jaw first  as normal variant, they should start from the lower jaw , The appearance of baby teeth occurs in a particular pattern. The teeth erupt in the following order: 

– First are the two lower jaw central incisors which appear between 6 and 10 months. 
– Next are the four upper jaw central and lateral incisors. They appear between 8 and 12 months. So my mother asked her old friends and they all told her this is up normal and she should do the procedure!!    What? My mom said what procedure?

They told her that Antichrist will come deformed and they must do the ritual.


But my baby has 2 good eyes only his upper teeth sprung first .My mom told them.

It could be deceiving and he can be the devil within. They told my mom.

They told my mother that she should get me in a blanket and then thrown me from the top of the house balcony where the other ladies were holding large blanket from each corner,so I can fall in the blanket.

The balcony was 4 meter high from the ground level . after they secure my body and neck with a pillow , the 4  ladies were holding a large comforter from each corner .My mom dropped me from above and the ladies managed to scoped me with the large comforter and I started to cry as mom told me. And I passed the test! as devil never cries but I did.She said!

All the ladies started to make prayers and praise God , They told my mom that I was OK , he is good he is not evil, they said…LOL

So I passed the test of not been Antichrist . Why you did this to me mom!  I asked mother when I am older.

It is the custom and the culture of that time my son, we want to make sure !!!She told me.

This is superstitious ideas , I told her. What happened if I got brain damaged from the fall mom,  I asked.

Your brain is OK son,it was, she said with laughter.

                    I am not sure mom!. Ha ha I laughed, while checking my skull.

My mother used to deliver the children  at home, the mid wife came and helped my mom . All the 10 of my brothers and sisters were born at home,  only me.

I was born in a hospital because I was Breech.

What is breech mom ?, I asked her when I was young.

Your head was up and your presented by your legs , pain in the ass son, she said.

My head was up so that’s good thing .I said.

No , the head should come first, the head should be down so the blood can go to your brain ! lol       

So do you mean I have no blood in my brain that’s why I am ,may be brain damaged mom why are you lying to me, am I OK!? I asked when I was a child.

Ha ha , you are OK son. Don’t worry your brain is OK .she said.

My brothers and sisters kept teasing me and tell me that something was wrong with me , and that is why I got borne in a hospital .While all of them born in the house. I have 6 sisters and 4 brothers so we are 11  like a soccer team.

 So I was a breech , my upper teeth came first, and I can use both hands to write and carry on tasks , And I am not the Antichrist. Thanks mom.I told her and we both laughed .

Steve Ramsey.

Calgary, Alberta- Canada.

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