Walking over your grave
bklynbarb
I have grown up in NY- and several of my friends & I have always heard when someone gets a chill & Shivers "Someone must be walking over your grave". (besides, having warped parents)
Frank Pierce
It's not unique to New York. I grew up in rural Maryland hearing this expression, and for the same reason - an unexpected chill feeling.

It seems logical to me, for in that area and in others, it's considered bad manners and quite disrespectful to walk over, rather than around, a grave. Not a terrible sin, just an exhibition of your lack of proper raising.

Lewis Joplin II
I was raised in the West Virginia hills. Walking on a grave was absolutely not done.

I've heard the idea that shivering means someone has walked across your grave. But I don't know what that means exactly -- someone has walked across the spot where your grave will be in the future? A while back I researched this topic online. Here's what I found:

"If you suddenly shudder, it means a rabbit (or goose) has run across your grave." This is from The Mountain Times, Appalachian Folk Beliefs, online. Another source yielded the belief that shuddering meant a goose was running across your grave.

AdSumADS
So, clearly a folk superstition and not readily reconcilable with an etymology for a specific phrase expressing it. In fact, that the superstition exists could be seen as the explanatory narrative to what the expression is all about. However, by analogy to other such bits of culture, as a black cat crossing one's path being bad luck, some related analysis can be done. The etymology of a phrase such as "a black cat must have crossed your path" (in the context of some misfortune) would rest on the existence of the superstition. A semantic connection could include a narrative that cats have been regarded as witches' familiars, and some date/place could be divined for when the written reference would first be recognized.

The history could be interesting for the grave-walking chills, if anyone finds it. If y'all will pardon the following, cultural deconstruction, I'd offer some semantic connecture, that in dealing with such questionable metaphysics as superstitions, there might be an element of time-displacement involved.

The disrespectful (or, rather, thoughtless -- non-respectful) walking on a grave would represent the gross, existential banality of death as aloof from sentimentality. A chill is a harbinger of illness, mortality, and death in its basest, carnal sense. The connection between chills and illness is sub-text, however. The implication is, that the chilled individual not only has a visceral realization that he will die (eventually; signficantly, not necessarily even immediately), but emphasized with a corresponding sense that it is corporeal and he will not even be remembered (his memory not respected). The notion of a reverse-causality, that a future, and yet meaningfully concurrent, act is the cause, involves precisely the kind sophistry that is an afront to the intellect and inspires the kind of eerie sensitivity that is itself recognized in association with a "chill" (or "the willies"/"heeby-jeebies").

Frank Pierce
When I was quite young, I made the same observation: "I'm not dead yet! Whatcha mean?"

And it was explained quite seriously to me... "Oh, it's where you WILL be bruied someday." End of any further uncertainty.

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