Top Five superstitions

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No matter how rational you try to appear, everyone has those niggling superstitious beliefs they cannot hide. Perhaps a few of these will apply to you?

1.     Walking Under a Ladder

Not only is this dangerous – imagine if the ladder slipped whilst you were walking under it – but it is one of the most common superstitious beliefs that people actively go out of their way to avoid. Walking down Ashby Road the other week, I saw people stop and wait for the traffic to pass so they could safely walk on the road, around the ladder. Yes, I was one of those people.

2.     Now you’ve Gone and Jinxed Yourself

Ah, those famous last words you say moments before it actually happens. Not even touching your head or a physical wooden object is enough to overpower your verbal diarrhoea. This is similar to Sod’s law: you knew you should have taken your umbrella this morning when you left the house, but it was sunny so you ignored that gut instinct…

3.     Seven Years Bad Luck

No one can resist rejoicing in someone’s clumsy misfortune when breaking a mirror: “Ahahahaha, seven years bad luck”. Being the naturally clumsy person I am I have broken three mirrors during my life time –or was it four? Whilst my life has not entirely been bad, I feel there are a few things that could have perhaps gone more favourably. 

4.     No use crying over spilt salt

Have you gone and knocked over the salt pot? Picking up a sprinkle and throwing it over your left shoulder is considered to outweigh the bad luck. There is no certain reason as to why this causes bad luck. Ideas vary from it being viewed as a religious or, in older times, an expensive and sacred rarity; it was also seen as a means of denying yourself protection and hospitality from strangers.

5.     Crossing your path

It is widely known that crossing someone on the stairs is bad luck. Even in public places where it is undoubtedly unavoidable, you have no choice but to grimace whilst you pass that someone who is clearly thinking the same thing.

Another, perhaps less known, superstition is crossing a black cat. I did not realise how seriously people took this until I was in Spain; perhaps it’s a religious or cultural thing? I thought something dramatic was about to occur when people in front stopped suddenly and moved to the side; they then proceeded to stare at me with astonishment as I crossed the path of the cutest-looking black cat.

Emma Spencer

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