Heaven and Hell in colour
Staff and students at Leeds University associated heaven as being white, blue, yellow, green, pastel shades, pink and red, all colours and none – in that order.
They were replying to questions put by a student in the Institute of Dialect and Folk Life Studies towards a dissertation for her BA honours degree.
Hell was most often associated with red or black, with a minority thinking of it as yellow, green, purple, orange and brown.
More than 80 per cent of the staff and students interviewed claimed a religion, but only 47 per cent believed in heaven and only 40 per cent believed in hell.
Hell was seen as a place where the worst things in life were “super-concentrated into one continual happening”; “rowdy and hot, with brawls and drunkenness”; and more traditionally, as “fire and brimstone.”
Miss Rowlev tried to find out how many superstitious beliefs about omens of death survived into the 1980s.
Three-quarters of her informants could think of none. The rest offered deathwatch beetles ticking, birds flying into a house, shoes placed on tables, dogs howling, someone behind you in the, mirror, a black cat seen at night, a white cat crossing one’s path, dreams about water and diamond-shaped creases in folded sheets.
More traditional views: