Blogcritic Veshka dispells a few superstitions:
- Friday the 13th: Well, might as well start with this. This one’s half biblical, half witch hunt. First part, it is believed that Adam and Eve were given the boot from the Garden on a Friday, and that the flood started on a Friday, and generally most of the nastiness of the Bible. As for the 13, it’s a number the Inquisitors linked with Witchcraft during the Burning Times. 13 is the average number of full moons in a year (thus the number of “Witches’ Sabbats” as noted by the Malleus Maleficarium). 13 is also the number Inquisitors believed to be in a coven – 12 Witches and the Devil. So, throw the worst day of the week in biblical terms with a number people were killed for, and volia, one nasty occurance filled with “evil”. Or, cheezy 80’s horror flicks.
Walking under a ladder: Another religious superstition. It was believed that disrupting any triangle was like disrupting the trinity. So walking under a ladder, which makes a triangle in relation to the ground and the wall (or other half of the ladder), was symbolic of such and shouldn’t be done. If done, you obviously were in leauge with the Devil. Yep, un-hun, sure. Swamp land in Flordia, you say?
Black Cats: I’ve had a few black cats, and lived to tell the tale. Actually, this one has slight Egyptian roots. Bast, Egyptian Goddess, was associated with the domestic cat, and was depicted as a black cat. In attempts to discourage the Egyptians from worshiping their Gods, the chruch did their best to convince them that they were evil. The thought that if a black cat crossed your path being bad luck, again, probably stems from the Burning Times, since cats, and particularly dark colored ones, were considered familliars of Witches, and to be seen within the vicinity of one was enough evidence for someone to point the finger and yell heathen.
The salt thing: Salt at one point in time, was really expensive. In fact, the term “worth your weight in gold” came after “worth your weight in salt”. It was that pricy. And, being that it was so sought after, it was believed that evil spirits looking to take it away, would come a running after any grain of it dropped. Not to mention, it was highly prized for its medicinal uses. If you spilled any, you were to immedatly throw it over your left shoulder. Why? Cause evil spirits would come over your left shoulder, and cause you to be sick, so by throwing it, you would get it in their eyes and they’d go running. Personally, the most absurd of the superstitions I’ve ever looked into.
7 years bad luck with a broken mirror: I’m not too sure where the number 7 comes into this, but the Romans believed that ones reflection was that person’s soul. If you were pissed with someone, the best way to show them that, and to aparantly disrupt their lives and cause them bad luck, was to throw a rock into the gazing pond they were looking at themselves in. We’re somewhat devoid of gazing pools nowadays, but mirrors aparantly took their place in this superstition. I wonder how many years of bad luck it would have been if a bird pooped on your reflection?