Or 'a little death' (in places where it is believed the soul momentarily leaves the body with the sneeze). We still use the expression 'Bless you' (short for 'God Bless You'). This stems from the times when a sneeze could mean the plague, viz. 'Coughs and sneezes spread diseases'.
Sneeze 'once for a wish, twice for a kiss, three for a letter, four for something better'. In Scotland, a newborn child is said to remain under 'the fairy spells' until it has sneezed for the first time. It was also believed that an idiot could not sneeze, so that a child's first sneeze was important. If you sneeze when talking you are telling the truth (America); three sneezes before breakfast means you will receive a present during the day (Germany); any sneeze is an indication that someone, somewhere, is saying nice things about you (Japan). It is very lucky to sneeze at exactly the same time as someone else you are with.
COUGHING meant the unexpected entry of a devil into a person who had been telling lies or carrying out misdemeanours of some kind.
HICCUPS are caused by someone who dislikes you complaining to someone else. The only way to stop them is to guess the name of the person maligning you.
Can lead to evil spirits entering the body unless you cover your mouth with your hand; it is a sign that Death is calling to you, and you must snap your second finger and thumb (American Indian).
A SHIVER means that someone is walking over your (eventual) grave.
LAUGH before breakfast and it will end in tears before supper; to laugh excessively shows that the person is possessed and that his days are numbered.