Have you ever stopped to wonder just how many superstitions exist in today’s society? Not only superstitions which are blatantly obvious to us, but also including ones which are subtler, more deeply ingrained in our everyday way of life. How many of your daily activities are affected by inherited superstitions?
There are hundreds upon thousands of superstitions, broken down into three basic categories of good, bad, and routine but neutral. Some of these superstitions may have originated from your city or town, while others may have wandered in from a foreign land and have been adopted without question. Either way, one thing is for certain, superstitions do have quite a significant power over us. You don’t even have to believe in magic or negative karma in order to fall prey to superstitions.
Some of the more common superstitions are of course the near certainty that seeing a black cat is a sign of bad luck. Heaven forbid you should carelessly cause a mirror to break because if you do, you’ll be cursed with seven years of bad luck. In North America, the number 13 is avoided at all costs, whereas in Asia, the number 4 strikes up fear and nervous anxiety.
North Americans have done their best to eliminate the number 13 to the extent that skipping a non-existent 13th floor in a building no longer stirs up much thought or questions. But what is so terrible about the number 13? According to a number of beliefs, the number 13 is considered to be unlucky. The Scandinavians believed that the number 13 was ‘evil’ due to their 12 Demigods being joined by a 13th evil one. In the Bible, Christ was said to have been crucified on a Friday and the number of guests at the Last Supper were 13. This is where the ‘Friday the 13th’ reference originated from. So strong was this superstition that it was turned into a cult horror movie, thereby misleading people into believing that
this is the reason why 13 is such a feared number. In fact, did you know that the fear of ‘Friday the 13th’ is diagnosed as a phobia called Paraskevidekatriaphobics? Try saying that three times fast! When I was a child, I used to have a paper route which consisted of 5 or 6 connecting streets. On not one of those streets was a house with the number 13! How peculiar is that?!
Not walking under a ladder sounds a lot like common sense. If either the ladder or person on it were to fall, of course anything directly under the ladder would become an unfortunate target. But why do we really walk around the ladder, even if it’s abandoned and harmless looking? Have you ever given much thought to the angle of the ladder? Me neither! Not until curiosity got the better of me and I did a bit of research. The angle of the ladder, joining it to both the wall and ground forms a triangle which is said to represent the Holy Trinity. By walking under the ladder, you are breaking the Holy Trinity and aligning yourself with the Devil. Now, a lot of people, especially those that are not of the Catholic religion, are probably wondering what this has to do with them. However, I have seen friends, acquaintances, and neighbors who are affiliated with another religion or are atheists going out of their way to avoid that ladder. Could it have become such a widespread habit that the reason is no longer questioned?
As for the black cat – a gloriously sleek and beautiful creature that tends to favor the bright full moon, broom stick-bearing witches, and cauldrons – there are stories in numerous countries regarding the black cat and its evil alliances.