The night before the feast day of St Mark is, according to English folk tales, the night when the wraiths walk through the churchyards.
What are these wraiths? They are the images of all those who will die over the next year!
From the 17th century for over 200 years this custom prevailied, as members of the parish sat in the porch of the church from 11pm until 1am of St Mark’s Day.
However, these wraiths would not appear the first time, nor the second time somebody sat waitings, they had to do it for three consecutive years, then appearing in order of deaths throughout the coming year.
The exact circumstances vary: some folk tales stated that nothing could be eaten during the time, others that the watchers must first have walked round the outside of the church, some that the figures would be as they were when living, others that they would be decayed (with or without a head) or even just a coffin.