when a rainbow appears, make a cross on the ground with a couple of twigs or straws, "to cross out the bow". The West Riding recipe for driving away a rainbow is: "Make a cross of two sticks and lay four pebbles on it, one at each end."
A more common notion as to the spirits of the dead was the shipping of them to a land in the West, where the sun goes down--Hy Brazil, as the Irish called it.
In Yorkshire, North and East Riding, the clouds at even sometimes take the form of a ship, and the people call it Noah's Ark, and observe if it points Humber-ways as a weather prognostic. Although I have never heard them say that it was a soul-ship, I have little doubt that originally it was supposed to be such. Noah's Ark was not empty. There is a story in Gervase of Tilbury that leads to this surmise. The book, Otia Imperalia, was written in 1211.
On a certain feast-day in Great Britain, when the congregations came pouring out of church, they saw to their surprise an anchor let down from above the clouds, attached to a rope. The anchor caught in a tombstone; and though those above shook the cable repeatedly, they could not disengage it. Then the people heard voices above the clouds