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Are You Superstitious? You might want to read this...

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posted on Jan, 6 2013 @ 11:44 AM
Are you superstitious? Have you ever wondered where superstitions come from?

Superstition is a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any physical process linking the two events

Cause to effect.

Why is Friday the 13th considered Bad Luck while Horseshoes are considered Good Luck? Why would a broken mirror bring you seven years of Bad Luck while Knocking on Wood will reverse it?

Superstitions have been around for millenniums in certain cases, feeding stories that entertain us all. I thought it was a good idea to look into where they originate from. Black cats, walking under a ladder, spilling salt, itchy palms...

I selected eight common superstitions that many people believe have an effect. I find this topic accurate with the motto “Deny Ignorance” as it explains where the myths come from and I hope you enjoy.

Friday the 13th

According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, as many as 21 million people in the United States are estimated to suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia. If this is the case, that means eight percent of Americans are fearful of Friday the 13th.

Every year, in the United States alone, there is an 800 – 900 million dollar loss in business revenues due to this date as a lot of people won’t go to work, or eat at restaurants or fly or drive out. Surprising isn’t it?

There are a few myths going around as to why Friday the 13th has become a superstition. The first one is from Christian traditions. Judas had been the 13th disciple and betrayed Jesus who, coincidentally, was crucified on a Friday, as the story says.

The second most probable cause of this belief is that on Friday the 13th 1306, King Philip of France arrested and tortured Night Templar followers before hanging them. Eerily enough, one had to walk up thirteen steps to get to the noose.

The number 13 is still, nowadays, associated with bad luck.

Itchy Palms

That tingling sensation in the right palm or left palm can have an impact on the minds of people who are staunch believers of the unknown.

The superstition is simple enough. An itch in the right palm will bring money. An itch in the left palm...well...not so lucky.

This myth is from ancient Pagan beliefs, where once you felt an itch on your palm, you had to touch or scratch your palm on a tree. Trees were magical and adored. They brought good luck to whoever was already lucky enough to get an itchy palm.

Here lies another superstition: Knock on Wood, originated from the itchy palms belief.

Palmists say that an itchy palm is a result of positive energy flowing in the right hand and negative energy flowing in the left. But for most, this superstition has been taught at a very early age, from parents to children and it just keeps following the generations.

Walking Under a Ladder

Walking beneath a ladder is bad luck, or so it's said.

Personally, I’ve always avoided walking under a ladder. Not as much as for being superstitious but I wouldn’t want to end up with a gallon of paint all over me or having the joy of being knocked out by a hammer falling down from the third floor...

This myth however, affects many people. It is, once again, sourcing back to Christian origins. A ladder against the wall made a triangle which, for many, represented the holy trinity. To walk underneath or through this representation was bringing bad luck.

The Egyptians also held the myth, represented by a pyramid. They also put ladder next to tombs in order to help the soul ascend. To walk underneath one of those would prevent the soul of the departed from rising up and brought bad luck to whom ever did that sacrilege.

No mentions of falling down from a ladder which occurred to me a few times...

Breaking a Mirror

According to most written histories and to oral histories, the belief that seven years of bad luck come with breaking a mirror dates back thousands of years. It would have been hard to hold this belief before the first century or two A.D. because people did not have glass mirrors earlier.

In ancient times, many held the belief that a mirror, when you looked into it, was holding your soul. Much like some tribes nowadays still believe that taking a picture of one of their members steals a part of their soul, breaking a mirror back then was perceived as damaging your soul and you would end up going into seven years of troubles.

The seven years tribulation comes from Roman myths where they believed that the body regenerated every seven years.

Many still, in this century, still bury parts of the broken mirror to conjure the curse.

Horseshoes / Four Leaf Clover

The two myths are often associated with each other as their origins in early beliefs are similar. They are both pretended to be carriers of faith, hope, love and good luck.

Up to the last century, horseshoes were often nailed on top of the front door as it was believed that it brought good luck to the family residing inside. Its origins are that is it made of iron and iron was a powerful fire guard. A horseshoe was also nailed to a horse’s foot by seven iron nails, seven being perceived as a lucky number. The number 7 is still held in high esteem by a lot of people, to this day.

The four leaf clover originates from Adam and Eve and the story goes that Eve, when exiting the Garden of Eden, took with her a four leaf clover. Through the course of centuries, its properties enhanced, along with its superstition.

Considered a charm and a omen of good luck and good fortune, many that do find one, treasure it.

Who hasn’t spent numerous hours trying to find one? I know I did...

Opening an Umbrella Inside

A common belief among the superstitious is that opening an umbrella indoors is bad luck. The claims of unfortunate events include bad luck for all of the people inside the building and even death to a family member before the years end. Of course, there is no scientific evidence to substantiate these claims.

The umbrella, contrary to the common belief, was not invented to protect one from the rain but from the Sun. Opening one inside was considered an outrage towards the Sun God.

As time went by and people started using them for rain, the superstition changed that it would bring bad luck, not only to the one who opens one indoors but to others surrounding him. This is due to the fact that umbrellas were made of metal spokes and spring triggers that could hurt someone standing close.

The size of the umbrella also knocked down stuff that was around. Candles or oil lanterns come to mind. Many accidents have happened because of umbrellas and even though it’s not such a good idea to open one inside as it is hazardous, the myth lives on that it brings bad luck.

~Continued on next post

edit on 6-1-2013 by SonoftheSun because: added title

posted on Jan, 6 2013 @ 11:45 AM

Spilling Salt / Throwing Salt Over Your Shoulder

Salt, in times memorial, was not only extremely expensive but it preserved meat and was even a currency of trades back in ancient times. To spill some would entail bad luck as it was considered a huge loss.

But the superstition itself might come from Leonardo Davinci’s the Last Supper scene.

Judas is wearing green and blue and is in shadow, looking rather withdrawn and taken aback by the sudden revelation of his plan. He is clutching a small bag, perhaps signifying the silver given to him as payment to betray Jesus, or perhaps a reference to his role within the 12 disciples as treasurer.[7] He is also tipping-over the salt shaker.

Throwing salt over the shoulder was just a way to reverse the curse being brought to oneself when spilling some.

This superstition is still believed by many, even in 2013.

Black Cats

As superstitions go, fear of a black cat crossing one's path is of relatively recent origin.

That’s right. All cats have been adored by a culture at one point or another. In Egypt, they were animals with magical properties.

In the middle ages, having a cat purring near a woman giving childbirth was soothing to her as the cat would also vibrate positive energies.

The Black Cat belief that it brought bad luck is essentially attributed to witchcraft as witches of our not too distant past had black cats as pets and the evil association was deduced. Many believed that witches could turn into black cats at night to spy on everyone. Crossing one was a bad omen.

Personally, it makes me sick to think that black cats have been burned for a very long time because of their supposed evil properties. This practice stopped with a new decree emitted by King Louis XIII in the mid seventeenth century.

As the slaughter of black cats went on for decades, one wonders how they didn’t become instinct and thus the superstition that cats have nine lives.




Hope you enjoyed and that like I did, you learned a thing or two.

All comments are welcome, so tell me...

Are you Superstitious?


edit on 6-1-2013 by SonoftheSun because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 6 2013 @ 12:03 PM
Great write up on a silly part of our past. It's difficult to think of all the harm that's come from petty superstitions.

It reminds me of the Steven Wright oneliner:

"I broke a mirror and got 7 years bad luck but my lawyer says he can get me 5."

posted on Jan, 6 2013 @ 12:07 PM
reply to post by LesMisanthrope

Hi Les Misanthrope,

I also find it fascinating !! My father was very superstitious and believed in most of those myths. The fear, the anxiety, the paranormal attributes of superstitions must have driven a few totally crazy in the middle ages.

Fascinating !

posted on Jan, 6 2013 @ 12:15 PM
Superstitions amuse me .. I have had a few friends that were really really big into believing most of them.. it was fun to fly directly against their beliefs.. walking under ladders, or anything I could do ... I'm sure many of them are shocked I'm still alive and well ..

posted on Jan, 6 2013 @ 12:32 PM
reply to post by miniatus

I'm sure many of them are shocked I'm still alive and well ..

I am sure they are, oh Fearless Miniatus !!!

posted on Jan, 6 2013 @ 01:21 PM
Im not really superstitious,i own a black cat,ive walked under ladders(rather than step off the sidewalk,that would be More perilous imo,especially in busy cities) Ive never worried about Friday the 13th-some people have a fair amount of bad luck in general,anyway.Or it seems to come in cycles,in my experience-one has a few great months,then a few crappy ones,its life for millions and billions of people,myself included.That date is neither here nor there,really.

posted on Jan, 6 2013 @ 01:34 PM
Hi Son,
I really enjoyed reading that, thanks for sharing. I don't consider myself being superstitious but have caught myself a few times doing things like: avoiding walking under the ladder/opening umbrealla in a building. It's funny how our minds work, these believes are wired deep within my sub-conscious mind.

Great post!

posted on Jan, 6 2013 @ 01:45 PM
reply to post by Raxoxane

So true ! I also have a black cat. Love her to death ( a little female ) !! It could be cycles, cycles of good fortune and cycles of bad ones, perhaps. Interesting reply !

posted on Jan, 6 2013 @ 01:45 PM
Funny, superstition seems to always been a part of my life. Irish paganism, and my husband is it seems our upbringing has an influence.
It's always my left palm itchy for money. I have a black feline companion named Murphy. Every full moon I pour salt across the outside of my doorways to keep the bad spirits away. Nuts...perhaps, better safe than sorry.I have many lucky charms, crystals, that I always have on my person.
I have far more belief in things unseen and unknown than " known".

posted on Jan, 6 2013 @ 01:48 PM
reply to post by Xistence

Glad you enjoyed it !!

Like you, I sometimes have second thoughts about doing something that would feed the superstition. I was raised by a father for who superstitions were omnipresent and by grand parents that had a horseshoe over their front door...

I was raised believing in them. As I got older, I realized they were just myths but a part of me still has second thoughts about certain of them.

Thank you for the kind reply !!

posted on Jan, 6 2013 @ 02:15 PM
reply to post by SonoftheSun

Hi Son,
Thanks for your reply. Having part Chinese descent, I grew up hearing Chinese superstitions, one of which goes: the Chinese do not sweep during the New Years because if one does so he will sweep away all the good fortune. Hence the sweeping on the New Year is to be done the day previous. I have avoided cleaning up at New Years for this reason - although most pf the time I'm just using it as an excuse.

As part of another popular superstition of the Chinese people, he/she must eat noodles on his/her birthday. This is because the popular belief is that noodle (especially uncut), will increase life's longevity. If the noodle is cut it will cut the longevity. This one I believe in as I love eating noodles, any day of the year

I'll think of others and post again soon!

~ Xistence

posted on Jan, 6 2013 @ 03:20 PM
reply to post by AccessDenied

Very interesting reply !! Most of us do have some beliefs one way or another, I think. Pennies are worthless nowadays but I still pick them up if I find one on the street..."lucky penny" it would bring good fortune as it was once believed. I've been picking them up all my life, it's more like a habit now I guess but we never know...

As for bad luck superstitions, I think you hit the nail right on the head when you said:

better safe than sorry.

That is probably the reason why so many people still hang on to them. Nice reply !!!

posted on Jan, 6 2013 @ 03:38 PM
reply to post by Xistence

And another interesting reply !!

As ATS is a community of members from all over the world, having different cultures and different upbringings, I so wish that some of them would take the time to share some of their superstitions like you just did !!

I'll think of others and post again soon!

I would really enjoy that !! Thank you !!!

posted on Jan, 6 2013 @ 04:38 PM
reply to post by SonoftheSun

Wonderful, thought provoking thread, SonoftheSun. Being born and raised in the deep South, USA, for my early years, superstition was an ingrained part of my life.

I remember being ever so careful to not step on cracks in the sidewalk. Step on a crack, break your Mother's back...was an old one from my neck of the woods. Also, Friday the 13th, was a day to lay low...

Ladders, never walked under them. If a black cat crossed your path, you'd have to be on constant guard for the rest of the day. If you got the chills, meant someone was walking on your grave, even though you were still alive! Never quite understood that one. If your nose was itching, someone was coming to visit. If your ear itched, someone was gossiping about you. If a bird flew into your house, meant someone was going to die. Death always comes in 3's. Those are the ones that immediately come to mind.


edit on 6-1-2013 by Destinyone because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 6 2013 @ 05:03 PM
reply to post by Destinyone

Great reply !!!

The memories you have evoked while talking of your superstitions !!! As a child, as I was taught, a chill meant that an angel passed by, close to you, a whistleling sound in your right ear meant that someone was talking good about you, in the left year, well, not so good haha.. goose bumps meant that an angel had touched you...

Thanks Des for an interesting post !!!

posted on Jan, 6 2013 @ 05:14 PM
reply to post by SonoftheSun

Here is a great site on some of the Superstitions, and traditions of the deep South....some interesting reading.

Death and Superstition in the Rural South USA

Traditions in Appalachia and the South are sometimes bound in superstition. The moment that a person dies, a whole series of customs shift into gear to speed the departed’s trip to the hereafter, and to insure the well-being of those left behind. A century ago, these rituals were commonplace. Today, they are still being practiced in some areas.

I think most superstitions were born of Birth and Dying...


posted on Jan, 6 2013 @ 05:39 PM
reply to post by SonoftheSun

Throwing salt over shoulder;
The version I've read was; in order to ward off bad luck, you throw over the LEFT shoulder to blind the eyes of the devil, because that's where he will be standing.

posted on Jan, 6 2013 @ 05:45 PM
reply to post by Destinyone

Interesting read !

Brought other memories to the surface. Lighting a candle when the weather got bad was a seen as a protection for the entire house. Hanging a chapelet (rosary) on the clothes line the day before a wedding would bring sunny weather the next day. When I married, my father and numerous others had done this. My wedding day wasn't sunny, it was cloudy but it didn't rain...

Wow...I'm sure I'm still forgetting tons of them...

posted on Jan, 6 2013 @ 05:50 PM

Originally posted by SonoftheSun
In ancient times, many held the belief that a mirror, when you looked into it, was holding your soul.

My personal theory is that this belief is responsible for the tradition that vampires have no reflection.
The logic would work like this;

Premise A; What we see in the miror is a person's soul.
Premise B; But a vampire has no soul.
Conclusion; Therefore a vampire can have no mirror image.

edit on 6-1-2013 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

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