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November 19, 2018

Greetings Infomaniacs,

blackfridaycalendarAre you superstitious? Have you ever wondered abut the origins of some common superstitions?

There are many times I'll say something and quickly add, "Knock on wood." Why do we say that? Or, if I see a ladder open, I'll do my best to avoid walking underneath it. What's up with that?

Well, read on to find out the reasons why behind why we do these things...


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QUOTE: "The root of all superstition is that men observe when a thing hits, but not when it misses."

HINT: (1561-1626), English lawyer and philosopher.


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Breaking A Mirror Causes Seven Years Bad Luck: The Romans were the first people to create glass mirrors. They also believed that their invention had the potential to steal part of the soul of the person using it. If a person's reflection were distorted while using a mirror, then their soul would be corrupted and trapped as a result. Fortunately, the Romans believed your soul could be renewed - after seven years time. Until that point though, the person would suffer from bad luck since they did not have a whole, healthy soul to fight off evil.


Knock On Wood: This expression comes from Pagans, who believed that all living materials were imbued with spiritual properties, including trees. When they were cut down though, the spirit inside the tree would die and become hollow. It was at this point that evil spirits, like sprites, could take over the item and concoct ways to ruin the plans and hopes of people in the area. Fortunately, if someone knocked on the wood, it would drive away the malevolent spirits and prevent any potential misfortunes from occurring.


Black Cats: While most Western cultures consider black cats to be bad luck, many areas of the UK consider them to be a good omen. In fact, it's likely because the Pagan groups from these areas considered them to be good luck for so long that early Christians started spreading stories of the cats being evil. Specifically, these stories often tied black cats to witches, which makes a lot of sense given that they also accused Pagans of being witches.


Walking Under A Ladder: Early Christians felt the triangle was a sacred sign that represented the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. When a ladder was pushed against a building, it would form the shape of a triangle, and thus, by walking under it, you were breaking the triangle. This was such a bad thing to do that early Christians would often label anyone who walked under a ladder to be a witch in league with Satan.


Throwing Salt Behind Your Shoulder: In olden times, it was frequently said that the devil was always sitting just behind your left shoulder. When you wasted something as valuable as salt, it was important to keep the devil at bay by either blinding him by throwing salt in his eyes or by placating him by giving him an offering of salt.


Lucky Rabbit's Foot: Rabbits feet have been a symbol of good luck since at least 600 BC when Celtic people in England would kill rabbits possessing certain attributes that were seen as beneficial to the bearer of the lucky charm. Some folklorists believe it was started by the pre-Celtic hunter clans who introduced young males to hunting by sending them out to catch a rabbit. On their first successful attempt, one of the rabbit's hind feet would be removed and awarded to the boy in a ceremony that celebrated his journey into manhood.

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QUOTE: "The root of all superstition is that men observe when a thing hits, but not when it misses."

ANSWER: Francis Bacon, Sr.