Eric Claypoole is an expert on the Pennsylvania Dutch hex sign, or "hexafoos" (witch's foot).
A witch's foot design was painted beneath barn windows to make them appear larger. A witch flying into the barn, superstition holds, would misjudge the size of the window and trip on it, Claypoole explained.
Sandy Gehris Schoener, a retired Ohio librarian who grew up in Temple, said Claypoole's lecture rekindled childhood memories. Her grandmother, Mabel Gehris of Temple, was a fountain of Pennsylvania Dutch superstitions.
"When I was pregnant, I walked under a clothesline and my grandmother screamed at me," Schoener recalled. "When a pregnant woman walked under a clothesline, it was believed the umbilical cord would wrap around the baby's neck." [Link]