When my second cousin Linky died, her youngest son was “passed” over her coffin. I was a small child when this happened, and I didn’t understand why the two men had to raise Michael up and lift him over his mother’s coffin. Apparently, it’s an old Gullah ritual, or African rather.
I found this article in the Island Packet, many, many years after the occurrence, and it answers a lot of questions for me. I’m sharing it here, so the next time someone witnesses such a funeral scene they’ll understand what “Shaking off the spirit means.”