By M.P. Pellicer | Stranger Than Fiction Stories
In Appalachian culture a sure omen of death was something found in the pillows of those who were ill. It is a bizarre phenomenon known as feather crowns.
Different cultures have their version of premonitions of death. In Appalachia a circular crown or nest found in the pillows of those dying or recently dead are called Death Crowns. They point inward, and could only be found with feather pillows. In recent times, where pillows are made from synthetic fibers this phenomena has disappeared.
Also known as Angel Crowns the stories about these portends of death were found in the remote areas of Missouri, Indiana and Ohio. Finding one in the pillow of someone who was ill was a sign they would die in 3 days.
A woman who was going through her father's belongings after he was killed as a pedestrian found something solid inside his feather pillow. She pulled out a wreath of feather, about the size of a bird's nest.
These crowns are seen as a sign the person is destined for heaven. If it's found before the person dies, an old wives' tale is that if it's broken the death of the person is prevented.
In 1972, Hildred Norwood told the story of when her late father John Haggard, 66, died in 1927, at Okmulgee, Oklahoma. The feather pillow he slept on was checked, and not one but three "Death Crowns" were found inside. One measured three and a half inches in diameter and was perfectly shaped clockwise. She kept the feather circles with since the year of her father's death.
Nola Warren of Linden, Tennessee described that when her 6-year-old brother died, the family had found a crown in his pillow. They kept it in a small box since then. She said that when her mother found the "crown" in the pillow of her child it helped take away the grief. She saw it as a good omen that her son had gone to Heaven.'
In 1994, Lois Addison wrote the following about an experience in childhood:
I am 82. When I was 6 my dad took us children and our mother to the home of a friend who had a very sick child. These people lived way back in the pines in Louisiana and were very poor.
Sources - The Jackson Sun, Messenger-Inquirer, The Comanche Chief, The Daily Oklahoman
Stranger Than Fiction Stories
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