With Samhain just over a month away, I thought it might be interesting to write (here and there) about some of the lore and beliefs associated with it.
In Europe during the Middle Ages, it was believed that witches' homes could be easily identified by the smoke from their chimneys. On the morning of the first Monday after Halloween, you must climb to the top of a hill above your village, one that affords a good view of the whole town below. You must then watch the smoke rising from all the chimneys of all the houses and the smoke from a witch's fire will be seen to travel against the wind rather than with it, thus making it easy to spot her amongst the villagers.
I especially like this one as I live in a house that used to sit alone in a vast field. When we bought it, a great deal of the land had just been sold for new construction and we're the only ones in our neighborhood who not only live in a very old house, but also the only one with fireplaces and (obviously) chimneys, so our winter smoke stands out amongst all our neighbors' homes. If this belief were truly possible, then it would be a good thing that we have the only chimneys as far as the eye can see as given the fact that a witch does live in this house, I'd be in some serious trouble!
Thanks to Gerina Dunwich and The Pagan Book of Halloween.