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Death Knocks


Grim Reaper

Have you heard the death knocks?

Fursov Aleksey / Getty Images

THERE'S AN OLD superstition that says if you hear three knocks that seemingly have no cause, someone you know will die. Silly, right?

Like many superstitions, however, the phenomenon of death knocks might have its roots in the real-life experiences of people. Consider the cases below, told by those who have actually heard the foreboding knocks and were shocked by their grim aftermath.


When I was 15 years old in 1965, I lived out in the country in a small town called Gasport in upstate New York. One cold and very snowy evening, we were all gathered in the living room around the television when suddenly we heard a very loud pounding on the front entry door. That door was sealed with weatherstripping in the winter and we never opened it after that was in place, and the door wasn't lit at night.

The pounding was loud and insistent, so my mother went to our side entry door and called out to whoever was knocking to walk over to the side door. She called again and there was no answer. She turned on the outside light over the front door and peered out the window with the intent of motioning the visitor over to the side door for entry. There was no one there, and there were no footprints in the freshly fallen snow. My mother turned to us and said, "This means that there will soon be a death in the family."

My dad, being the skeptic, suggested the noise was the wind blowing something against the door. The next morning we got the call that our Uncle Charlie had passed away unexpectedly. - Hensnckicks


As a child at the age of eight, I was in the care of my German grandmother. I had been drawing at the kitchen table of my grandparents' farmhouse during summer break. My grandmother was jarring preserves when we were both startled by three loud knocks that seemed to come from nowhere and yet everywhere at the same time.

My grandmother had turned ashen and said nothing for a few moments. She quickly took me outside to play with my siblings. Nothing was ever said about it, and it only remained in my memory because of first being startled then being angry that I was taken away from my drawing.

I later learned many years later that my grandmother's sister passed away that evening from a heart-related ailment.

Years later, my father had called me when I was at home with my partner. My brother suffered from a long-term substance abuse addiction and had been extremely hard to deal with that evening. My father went on to add that, not only did he have that situation to deal with, but he thought "the whole damn house was going to come down," too, because of three or four huge bangs within the walls.

My brother died from a cocaine overdose just hours later.

The last instance took place after my long-term companion pet dog fell violently ill very quickly one day. I had no car, but phoned and requested a vet ambulance to come get us. As I lay on the floor with her, there were three sharp knocks on my apartment door. I rushed to open it, but there was no one present. The vets arrived approximately 15 minutes later, but my baby girl passed away in my arms less than an hour later. - Christopher O.


My story begins back in the 1920s when my grandmother was in the kitchen and heard three loud knocks on her front door. There was no one there, but three days later learned that her mother had died back in Germany.

In 1973, my parents were awakened with three loud knocks on our front door. Upon inspection, there was no one there, but received a phone call about an hour later that my uncle had passed away.

This was never brought up again until I was telling my uncle about the story at my father's funeral in 1979. He and his wife froze and said that they had heard three loud knocks on their storm door about the same time my father had passed away (they lived in Arizona, thus the three-hour time difference).

Two weeks ago, my mother awoke to three loud knocks or bangs on her front door. Again, she got up and found nothing at the door and was immediately scared because it reminded her of the 1973 incident. Three days later, my brother was murdered in Louisiana in the early morning. The strangest fact is that in all of the times a family member heard the knocks, it corresponded to the time of death (give or take an hour) of a family member. - Neal


My mother and her mother have always been gifted by forerunners (omens). We live in a little town, St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada. November 10, 2011, my mother heard three knocks. She always said that means it takes three days, three weeks, or three months (right to the day) that something bad was going to happen, usually a death.

Well, three days later, our cousin shot himself in a hunting accident while hunting with his 7-year-old son. - John A.

Next page: More knock omens

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