People are Hanging Bags of Pennies From Their Porch (And We Might Just Join Them)

Published: Nov 20, 2023

Several Southern customs are puzzling to foreigners. These can range from one-off occurrences (like purity balls) to deeply ingrained social mores (looking at Southern hospitality). Ziploc pouches filled with coins and water hung from people’s porches would be an even more baffling sight to tourists wandering Georgia or Kentucky streets in the heat. 

How could anyone possibly justify doing that? Our discovery of the truth clarified everything.

An intriguing thing

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you encounter anything out of the ordinary? It’s only natural for us to be curious, right?


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A curious image that caught the eye of two friends while they were speaking over a wonderful meal on the terrace of one of their favorite local restaurants was “zip-lock baggies attached to a post and a wall.” Almost immediately, this peculiar sight piqued their interest. They examined the bag out of curiosity and discovered that it contained nothing except water and four shiny coins.

Seeking Clarification

The lady who looked at it recalls that each bag had four coins and was half-filled with water and securely zipped up. They weren’t used to seeing anything like that, so it was strange for them.


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She went on to acknowledge that, “Naturally, we were curious.” This is why they opted to inquire to their waiter about what the deal was with the Ziploc bags that were filled with water. They were not familiar with the thing as they were foreign to the area.

A fairly typical occurrence

At this time, the companions were unaware of the fact that this phenomenon is actually one that occurs rather frequently, particularly in the southern regions of the United States.


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These kinds of embellishments are available everywhere throughout the region. You can find them dangling from the ceilings of restaurants and stores, from the window and door frames of residential homes, as well as porches and even trees. Following this, you’ll learn about the origins of these cultural practices.

An act of unselfish giving

When devout individuals in ancient Europe came to the conclusion that their gods were angry with them for some reason, they made it a practice to present sacrifices to the gods in their belief system.


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Do you have any idea where these presents are most frequently found? Wells. And the practice is still carried out to this day, with people from all over the world casting their wishes by dropping pennies into fountains. We have a feeling that you have also tried that!

The Wishing Well

We all want to believe that the pennies that we throw into fountains are holy (come on, we used our one wish on that!), but little did we realize that it goes that these cast coins can actually function as major money-makers. 

Source: John Morton/Flickr

This is something that we all like to think–even if it’s not true. Just look at Rome’s Trevi Fountain for an example! On the following slide, you’ll discover the amount they can collect in a single day.


Making a Fortune

This well-known attraction attracts a lot of tourists, and every day it gathers up to an amount of $4,500 in pennies. To put it another way, it’s like a piggy bank!

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And in 2007, individuals in charge of the area made the decision to do something meaningful with the money they had collected from the fountain by donating it to various charities that were deserving of support. Nevertheless, there is more to the story than just superstition when it comes to the mystery bags.


Cleanliness Tips

It turns out that a single Facebook post on a group known as “Hinch Army Cleaning Tips,” which is full of fans dedicated to an Instagram character named Sophie Hinchcliffe, was all it took for the peculiar trend to become widely used.

Source: Sophie Hinchliffe/Instagram

The expert provides tips and tricks for keeping a clean and tidy house. Of course, it goes without saying that everyone wants a clean home! That’s why people might appreciate this low-cost, all-natural solution to bug control.


Puzzle Solved

You might be wondering what on earth these bags, full of water and four cents, have anything to do with cleaning. The fact of the matter is that everything can be traced all the way back to an issue that isn’t specific to the South in and of itself but which is nonetheless extremely prevalent in that region. 

Source: Brian Stansberry/Wikimedia Commons

It’s so common that even high-end, cutting-edge eateries often use plastic bags and hang or attach them to entrances and outside seating areas.


Hot weather conditions

Anyone who has spent even a single summer day below the Mason-Dixon border understands that the temperature can be quite severe at times–this is common knowledge.

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It is not uncommon for the temperatures during the day to reach dangerously high levels, especially in the states located in the Southeastern United States, such as Georgia and Florida. The next logical step, therefore, is to proceed with slightly opening a window so that fresh air can enter the room.


Unwanted visitors

There’s really no problem with it, is there? Unfortunately, for those who are in the know, the answer is that there actually is. You must understand that getting some relief from the scorching sun is essential, yet even something as straightforward as opening a window might have unintended repercussions.

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In particular, flies–a great number of them. It is common knowledge that these insects enter our homes through windows and doors, and they could also be hiding in any place.


Sorry, you’re out

We are all aware that no one likes having house flies about, but these insects are more dangerous than merely unpleasant or annoying. They may also bring a variety of infectious diseases, a few of which (including cholera or tuberculosis) have the potential to be fatal. 

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No one likes house flies because they carry illnesses. The increased presence of flies is similarly revolting. They are able to flourish in repulsive settings such as rubbish, dung, and food that has gone bad. And what’s the worst part of it?


The hidden danger

Because they are just about a third of an inch in size on average, these annoying bugs are quite adept at sneaking into areas where they are not supposed to be, such as behind window screens and within cupboards.

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Aside from that, they have a rather high rate of reproduction. You are well aware by now of the many reasons why flies are not the best. To our relief, this is when the water-filled bags and the pennies come into play.


Experimenting with the theory

The woman and her friend asked the waiter about the bags, and the waiter gave them a straightforward response, “The owner told us that these baggies kept the flies away naturally.” The restaurant guests had no idea what to make of this concept, as the contents of the bags were just ordinary.

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As a result, they came to the conclusion that the best way to validate the hypothesis was to conduct experiments and collect data. Seeing is believing, as they say.


A spectacular discovery

Indeed, it appeared that the bag performed flawlessly in its intended function! The friends said they actually saw some flies enter the room through the open window, land on the ledge, and then leave again. The dining area was completely free of flying insects. The guests, who had just finished their meal, were astounded by what they found. But how exactly does the strange trick work?

Source: Samia Longchambon/Instagram

This inexpensive plastic water bag trick that can be used to repel flies in an all-natural method is currently making the rounds in a few different iterations.


Reasons behind it

“Flies don’t like water, and they don’t like the colors given off from the pennies. Flies have compound eyes, so the bags look like a giant body of water to them. Therefore, they leave,” said the individual who first reported the hack online. 

Source: 1BettyBill/YouTube

Refraction of light from the plastic bags holding water is the most plausible explanation put forward for how this technique could function by scientists and entomologists. However, does that really sum up everything that happened?


Freaking out the flies

When placed in water, the pennies provide the illusion of being much, much larger than they actually are, which is supported by the fact that flies have extremely large eyes in comparison to the size of their bodies.

Source: Raw Pixel

Flies have very sensitive vision, so when they see anything like this, it causes them to become alarmed and seek refuge elsewhere. Some also say they’re afraid of their enlarged size when looking at the bag. This theory performs a fascinating function from an evolutionary point of view.


Disco eyeballs

“Given that flies have a lot of eyes, to them it’s like a zillion disco balls reflecting light, colors and movement in a dizzying manner, ” one internet commenter explained. He added, “When you figure that flies are prey for many other bugs, animals, birds, et cetera, they simply won’t take the risk of being around that much-perceived action.” 

Source: High Bridge Entertainment/Sony Pictures Television

It was found that the majority of successful reports of this insect-repelling trick occurred in the cases of insects with compound eyes, such as houseflies.


A straightforward solution

There are a lot of folks in the South as well as in other places with climates that are similar to the South who swear that, from time to time, the tactic is effective. One person who has camped in a horse trailer said, “The flies were bad while I was camping,” he added, “I put the baggies with pennies above the door. Not one fly came into the trailer.”

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There are a few successful websites that sell manufactured water bags for the express goal of providing this natural repellent.