The Victorians had a lot superstitions associated with death. When there was a corpse in the house you had to cover all the mirrors," it was believed that mirrors reflected your soul and at death the soul of the loved one was near so many ominous things could happen:
• To see your reflection in a mirror is to see your own soul, (which is why a vampire, who is without a soul, have no reflection.)
• If a couple first catch sight of each other in a mirror, they will have a happy marriage.
• Any mirrors in a room where someone has recently died, must be covered so that the dead person's soul does not get trapped behind the glass. Superstition has it that the Devil invented mirrors for this very purpose.
• It is bad luck to see your face in a mirror when sitting by candlelight.
• Before mirrors, in ancient societies, if you caught sight of your reflection or dreamt of it, you would soon die.
• Someone seeing their reflection in a room where someone has recently died, will soon die themselves.
The origins of covering a mirror are rooted in the Jewish religion and their respect for the dead when sitting Shiva:
It is proper to cover the mirrors (with sheets, or fogged spray provided by the funeral home) in the shiva house for the following reasons:
• During shiva, a mourner is striving to ignore his/her own physicality and vanity in order to concentrate on the reality of being a soul.
• A mirror represents social acceptance through the enhancement of one's appearance. Jewish mourning is supposed to be lonely, silent; dwelling on one's personal loss. Covering the mirrors symbolizes this withdrawal from society's gaze.
• Prayer services, commonly held in the shiva house, cannot take place in front of a mirror. When we pray, we focus on God and not on ourselves.
• Physical relations between a husband and wife are suspended during the week of shiva, and thus the need for physical beauty is removed.
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