The Lucky Horseshoe


“Horseshoe and devil” by Creator:George Cruikshank – The True Legend of St. Dunstan and the Devil by Edward G. Flight, 1871; image at Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons


The other day I purchased a lucky horseshoe charm. Why? I don’t particularly know why other than I was compelled by the design. I have also heard of “Lucky Horseshoes,” but I suppose I didn’t know exactly why horseshoes are considered lucky. I suppose I purchased the charm because I somehow believed it would bring me good luck. This then compelled me to do some further research on Lucky Horseshoes.

A standard horseshoe is a constructed device fashioned out of metal that is intended to protect a horse’s hoof from wear. The most commonly used materials are steel and aluminum. The shoes are attached to the surface of the hooves, and are nailed through a part of the horse’s foot that is insensitive. Horseshoes can also be glued to the horse’s foot. A farrier is a person whose occupation is the fitting of these devices. The farrier‘s job is to assess the horse’s hoof, design appropriate shoes, and apply the product.

Now, it’s believed that the origin of the tradition of the lucky horseshoe originated with the story of Saint Dunstan and the Devil. Dunstan, who would later to become the Archbishop of Canterbury in AD 959, was a blacksmith. One day, the Devil asked him to reshoe his horse, and Dunstan nailed a horseshoe – through the Devil’s hoof, which caused the Devil much pain. Dunstan agreed to remove the horseshoe and release the Devil if the Devil promised to never enter a place where a horseshoe was hung over a door.

As there is a specific production and application involved in creating a horseshoe for wear, there is a specific placement of a horseshoe for use as a talisman in the home. First, some believe that a true lucky horseshoe should be found, not purchased. Then, the horseshoe should be hung above one’s entry door. It’s then believed that a horseshoe should be hung pointing upwards. The ‘U’ shape is thought to hold good luck that passes by. Hanging it upside down is believed to be bad luck, as it is thought all of the good luck will fall out. However, there are some who believe that the horseshoe should indeed be hung pointing downward, as it allows good luck to flow into the home.  To some, it does not matter how the horseshoe is hung (pointing upward or down), as long as it’s hung above the door because it’s presence alone is believed to draw good luck.

Do you have a horseshoe hung over your door? Is it pointed upward? Or, is it pointed downward. Let us know at @burialdaybooks on Twitter.


For Poe

Michael Tugendhat won the 2014 Dark Poetry Scholarship offered by the Horror Writers Association. His first book of horror poems is forthcoming (February 2015) from James Ward Kirk. He has had work appear or accepted for publication inMidnight Echo Magazine, Beyond Borderlands, Morpheus Tales #24 and elsewhere.


For Poe

By Michael Tugendhat


Ashore to find the autonomy of the word

should. As in, should I remove


the sciatica from the morsel of my condensation

my way of raining into the heart of a field.


Braying against the side of a pontoon boat, the twinning—

headstones of shore, your. Black sky where the pumpkins


of the cemetery have been spayed from their stems.

October rises, alive and under heaven.


Talk of sheep, swoons of a nearby sea.

C is the letter it all began with


Canopus of Carina, may shine your

heart out in the wine of the sky.


To mine come Poe, startle the sheen

and grease that comes with the fragment


`       of this Roman stone.




Monthly Submissions are Open & Showmen’s Rest



It was a wild year end. We are excited to enter another year here at Burial Day and look forward to reading all of your tales. For those of you who have yet to receive a submission status for our monthly posting we will send you a status this week. Thank you for your patience, and yes, we are open for monthly submissions!

Last week, as we were recuperating from the madness of the holiday season we decided to take a drive to another cemetery, Woodlawn Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois to specifically visit Showmen’s Rest. Large elephant statues flank the hundreds of markers commemorating their circus family. The elephants each have a foot resting on a ball, and their trunks are lowered in mourning.

What makes this Showmen’s Rest so sad is that it’s where dozens of performers are buried from one of the most tragic circus accidents in history. On June 22nd, 1918 over 56 employees of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus were killed when an engineer fell asleep and ran his train into the rear of the troop train. Many died from the impact of the crash. Many others died due to the fire that broke out after. There are legends of elephants racing to douse the firey trains with water, succumbing themselves to the fire. A few years prior, The Showmen’s League of America formed in 1913 with its first president Buffalo Bill Cody had purchased 750 burial spaces in Woodlawn Cemetery for its members. Many of the victims of the train accident were laid to rest there in a mass grave.

Many of the victims were unrecognizable and are commemorated on their graves simply as Unknown Male 15, Unknown Female 43, all the way up to Unknown Male 61. Some accounts say 56 people died in the accident, but an accurate casualty count is unavailable because of the fire.  There are a few stand out names, such as Baldy. One wonders if he were a clown or a driver. It’s said many of those who died were roustabouts, people who travelled with the circus putting up tents and performing various other jobs before disappearing at the end of the season. Most were known only by their nickname.

The Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus formed in 1907 in Peru, Indiana (now the site of the International Circus Hall of Fame) was the second largest circus besides Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey.  The Hagenbeck-Wallace circus continued through to 1929 when it was sold to Ringling Bros.

There is plenty of folklore that surrounds Showmen’s Rest, primarily to do with the elephants. Some claim to hear the roar of elephants at night, but it’s said no elephants were buried at Showmen’s Rest. There is no official marker that indicates the Hagenbeck-Wallace disaster either at Woodlawn Cemetery or at the crash site in Indiana.

Other performers are buried at Showmen’s Rest. It’s a place of rest for other circus folk who have lived with the spirit that the show must go on.

Here are some pictures that we took at Showmen’s Rest. We hope you enjoy.


SLA02 SLA03 SLA04 SLA05  SLA08 SLA09

Chicago Book Expo 2014

Burial Day Books will be at Chicago Book Expo 2014


The third annual Chicago Book Expo will be held Saturday, December 6, 2014, from 11 am to 5 pm at Columbia College Chicago, 1104 S. Wabash. The event is free and open to the public.

This celebration of Chicago-area publishers and authors features a pop-up bookstore featuring local presses’ and authors’ books, as well as a variety of readings and panel discussions. Local literary nonprofits and organizations will be in attendance.

Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, 11am – 5pm

***Free Event***

Chicago Ghost Conference 2014

Burial Day Books will be at the 2014 Chicago Ghost Conference



Saturday, November 22 from 9 AM – 7 PM

At the historic and haunted Carl Schurz High School

3601 North Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL


For tickets go HERE or HERE