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Superstition - Supernatural Beliefs

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superstition-do-you-believe

Are you Superstitious?

Are you superstitious? If you think you aren’t, do you walk under ladders, cross your fingers or open umbrellas indoors? Do you believe in good or bad luck? Superstition can be beliefs that you were taught as a youngster, prophesies, luck, magic tricks, etc.

Superstition can be any strongly held belief that is not truly reality, but we still believe because of the way our brain is wired. It tends to add information that isn’t really there. According to Wikimedia a superstition is “the belief in a supernatural casualty-that one event causes another without any natural process linking the two events-such as astrology, religion, almonds, witchcraft, etc.”

Stevie Wonder - Superstition

Top 10 Superstitions

The 10 most common superstitions include:

  1. Itchy palms refer to someone who is greedy or a left itchy palm may mean that money is coming your way.
  2. Four leaf clovers are good luck.
  3. “God Bless You” - This is often said after someone sneezes as it is polite, but its origins are actually found during the bubonic plague from the erroneous belief that the soul would actually escape from the body and the heart would momentarily stop during the sneeze, so saying “God Bless You” actually helped the person return back to life.
  4. Breaking a mirror means seven years of bad luck. I hope this isn’t true because I am certainly doomed if this is the case.
  5. Knock on wood - People say this when they make a hopeful statement, but the root of this ancient belief is that good spirits live in trees so perhaps being a tree hugger is a good thing.
  6. A Rabbit’s foot is lucky - this can also be traced back to the seventh century BC as the left hind foot of a rabbit that was shot would be taken for good luck. This is obviously not looking for the rabbit.
  7. Brooms have many superstitions associated with them and one is if you get a new home you want to sweep the dirt out of the new home with a new broom. If you sweep the dirt with an old broom you will be sweeping out any good luck. This doesn’t make much sense to me either.
  8. Never open an umbrella indoors - This superstition began when people used umbrellas for protection from the sun, so once a person had the umbrella open in the house, it was an insult to the Sun God.
  9. Wishing upon a star - Europeans believed that the gods occasionally peered down, and when this occurred the sky would move in a star would escape and fall down. In addition, Greeks believed that the stars were falling human souls. Any way you look at it I think wishing upon a star is not something I’ll be doing in the near future.
  10. Is 13 an unlucky number - The number 13 has been associated with bad luck as many architects still refuse to design stairways with 13 steps, and there are even buildings without a 13th floor. There is actually a phobia that has been created to describe the fear of the number 13, which is called Triskaidekaphobia. I do not know when the superstition began.

Tarot Cards

superstition-do-you-believe

Why Are We Superstitious?

In some religions they use snakes as part of their service, which must be linked to the superstition that something good will happen, but it certainly freaks me out. Most superstitions are less dangerous. Some people throw salt over their shoulder if some is spilled.

My husband told me to never wash clothes on New Year’s Day, or I would be washing someone out of my life in the coming year. While I don’t typically wash clothes on any holiday, this saying was one I had not heard. This is a saying he heard as a child.

I have known people who carry around a rabbit’s foot or some other object that they think brings them good luck. Many people have a favorite number they always use. Some people wear the same jersey to play in some game of sports if they won a game previously. They consider it to be a "lucky shirt". There are numerous examples, obviously.

Rituals, habits and beliefs that control our actions are the basis for superstitions. We often don’t believe in these superstitions but follow them anyway as we have this attitude of “Why take a chance?”

We all believe or learn from patterns. If you touch a hot stove and burn your finger, you will probably not make that mistake twice. Learning from these events is what keeps us safe. This is not quite the same as superstition, but the same learning principle applies.

Rabbit Foot

skeptiseum.org

skeptiseum.org

Superstitions

Summary

I think without a doubt that most people probably have a few superstitions, but I doubt they rule the lives of the majority of the population.

The National Geographic station has been presenting shows about the brain, which are very interesting. There is one on Superstition, which you might find very interesting. Each of the Brain Game shows have been informative about the way the brain works. Superstitions are certainly an interesting topic, whether you watch the show or hopefully enjoyed my article.

Superstition

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 25, 2020:

Hi MG,

I think you are probably right. Thank you for your very nicie comments.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on March 24, 2020:

Hi Pamela, superstition? Can anyone of any religion get away from it? It's built into human psyche. One can try to be rational but at the back of your mind, it lurks. Nice article and beautifully presented.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 24, 2020:

Hi Peggy,

I do not think of myself as superstitious either, but I say God bless you and things like that as well. I appreciate you comments. Stay healthy, Peggy.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 24, 2020:

I have not watched any of those Brain Game shows, but it sounds interesting. I cannot say that I am superstitious, but because of habit say things like "God bless you" if a person sneezes.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on July 14, 2018:

hi Lorelei, I was born on the 13th also, and have found it to be a lucky number also. I appreciate your comments.

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on July 13, 2018:

Today being Friday the 13th it is interesting to note that I was seated at table 13 the last wedding I attended before I met my husband. He was born on Friday the 13th and our house number has 2 thirteens it it. Sometimes one has to wonder if there is a little magic tucked in the numbers tossed our direction.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 19, 2018:

Patricia, Thanks so much for sharing your way of coping, and I relate to the changes you've made. I have learned to let go of things and found balance. Life is much happier that way.

I didn't know there was no comments showing on the stress article. Many of my articles were wriiten a few years ago, and I just went through each one and updated them. My health was quite bad for a while, and I had to stop writing.

Angels your way also.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on June 19, 2018:

Hi I had tried to comment on your article on stress but no comment area appeared. So I am doing so here.....for years I was consumed by the need to control EVERYTHING and thought somehow that worry would help. NOT. Thankfully I found my way out of that trap and while I do find some things that happen concerning and causing me to try to fix things....I have really tried to embrace today and not to try to second guess the future. Our lives are so filled with challenges and how we learn to balance them impacts us daily. One huge way I use to disarm and keep at bay worry is through walking. Walking takes me to another place and clears my head of unwanted thoughts. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the topic. And superstitions are always an interesting topic....I don't THINK I am superstitious....because I have many black cats in my life ....once again sending Angels your way ps

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 15, 2015:

bodylevive, I think people much more inclined to be superstitious years ago, but I guess not walking under a ladder, for instance, is just good common sense. Thanks for your comments.

BODYLEVIVE from Alabama, USA on August 14, 2015:

I am not superstitious but my mom sure was. I guess it had a lot to do with the era she was born in. Back then, it's all people had was songs and folklore.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 11, 2015:

DzyMsLizzy, It is not a problem to me. I have read some older hubs just because I am interested in the topic, then realize I have read them before. Have a good day.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on February 10, 2015:

Ooops--I commented, then realized I had already done so 4 months back!! Sorry for the duplication; feel free to delete the recent one!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 10, 2015:

poetryman, I love you sense of humor. Superstition can be interesting to talk about, but not to rule your life. Thanks for the comments.

poetryman6969 on February 06, 2015:

I have never understood how the rabbit's foot could possibly be lucky since as you point out it was not lucky for the rabbit.

I can see how horse shoes could be lucky. Imagine NOT getting a hot piece of iron nailed to your foot.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on December 03, 2014:

Patricia, I am recovering well, thanks. I appreciate your comments and it is always good to hear from you. God Bless.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on December 03, 2014:

I think that maybe I have been supersititious to a point about some things. I have even defied the fates and walked under a ladder, allowed a black cat to cross my path and others. To me it is just kind of fun.

I do have a ring that was my Momma's that I wear all the time...I do call it my good luck ring. Silly I guess.

Hoping you are recovering nicely, Pamela.

Angels are on the way to you ps

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 27, 2014:

Farmloft, I think we used superstitions as a game when I was young also. I remember something about holding one of your buttons when passing a cemetery. It all sounds silly now. I had forgotten those until you reminded me. Thanks for your comments.

farmloft from Michigan on October 24, 2014:

Superstitions are fun to think about if you don't take it too far. They were more like games. Growing up we used to think we had to hold our breath while driving by a cemetery and turn around if a black cat crossed the path in front of us. And say someone's name 3 times to avoid a bad luck curse.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 16, 2014:

Lori. I think that is so true. Thanks for your comments.

Lori Phillips from Southern California USA on October 16, 2014:

If you believe superstitions are nonsense, then they are nonsense. Anyway, your beliefs should empower you, not weaken or manipulate you through fear. Most superstitions are like old wives' tales.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 15, 2014:

Jo, I am glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 15, 2014:

MsLizzy, You make some good points, and I would not want to base my actions in life on old superstitutions. I do remember as a child that I would not step on a crack in the sidewalk. I have out grown that nonsense. Thanks fo your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on October 15, 2014:

Audry, That is probably the perfect attitude. Thanks for your comments.

Mary Craig from New York on October 14, 2014:

The only superstition I have about walking under a ladder is the fear it'll fall while I'm under it ;) You've certainly covered the subject well and left us all thinking!

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on October 13, 2014:

Oh, there are SO many of these! You've obviously done your homework, but have really just scratched the surface. I think it is all rubbish, and I've altered the word, and call them "stupidstitions!"

I cannot believe that reasonable adults believe this kind of tripe in this day and age. But many do. I friend of mine in days past had a broom superstition--a variant on your explanation--that if you bring your old broom when you move, you bring your old (bad) luck with you.

And logically, any dropped item would have to do some pretty spectacular acrobatics to land UNDER a ladder; it's more likely to go off behind the person, so you're probably actually safer walking under that ladder! (With the exception of liquids, like paint--which would pretty much go everywhere anyway!)

Voted up, interesting and useful.

Audrey Howitt from California on October 13, 2014:

I am not superstitious--and yet, as I say that, I am cognizant that I shouldn't tempt fate!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 26, 2014:

James, I think walking under a ladder is probably safer, even though it has been referred to as bad luck. If something falls on your head that is pretty bad luck! I am glad you enjoyed and commented on my hub. You are always appreciated.

James W. Nelson from eastern North Dakota on August 26, 2014:

Hi, Pamela! Interesting hub. I did vote, chose the last one, and I've been trying to think if I have any. As a child I had a lot of beliefs. And about walking under a ladder, normally I wouldn't but the reason would be avoiding something landing on my head, so I suppose that is a superstition.

thanks for a good hub!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 19, 2014:

Audry, I am glad you enjoyed the humor of the hub, as you are right about laughing. I see children laughing and think it is kind of sad that as adults we seldom have those great belly laughs of our youth. Thanks so much for your comments. Blessings to you also.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 19, 2014:

Maria, I doubt there are negative consequences to wishing on a star. Some things are just fun or maybe just old harmless habits. I avoid ladders, but that seems quite practical to me. Thanks so much for your comments.

Audrey Selig from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on August 18, 2014:

I like your hub of course. I always like them. This hub even had some humor which we all need I know a young man who is very superstitious, and it drives him crazy. I know one. You are not to see the bride before wedding ceremony. Your hub relaxed me at bedtime. Thanks for sharing. Blessings. Audrey.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on August 18, 2014:

Dear Pam,

What an interesting subject, with equally interesting comments generated. Hoping you would play Stevie Wonder - perfect!

I also thought it was so cool to have a rabbit's foot key chain as a kid, feeling very magical about it all...

I will block out your "reasonable" explanation for wishing on a star...because this is a habit I can't quit after all these years - no matter what the consequences (LOL)...

...but I will continue to avoid the cracks and stepping under ladders for both practical and superstitious purposes.

Voted UP & UABI. Great job. Love, Maria

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 18, 2014:

Ms Dora, New Year's day should be a fun, family time anyway, so that sounds like a good superstitution. Thanks so much for your comments.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on August 18, 2014:

It's good to be aware of these superstitions even if we don't think that we believe in them. If we don't take them seriously, they're funny. In my home, the New Years Day superstition is that whatever you do on that day, you'd be doing all year, so we refrain from hard work (we try).

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 16, 2014:

BPOP, Thanks so much for your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 16, 2014:

Michael, I don't like the idea of being superstitious, and since childhood I am not superstitious either. I am glad you found the hub helpful. I appreciate your comments.

breakfastpop on August 15, 2014:

I guess I am a bit superstitious, but it doesn't affect my life. Great hub. Voted up and interesting.

Micheal from United Kingdom on August 15, 2014:

Hi Pamela,

I have always considered it unlucky to be superstitious. ; )

It is weird that people still have these ideas and your explanation of why they may have arose is quite illuminating.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 14, 2014:

Kaili, It souuncds like this hub brought back old memories for you. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

Kaili Bisson from Canada on August 14, 2014:

Great hub. My mother was quite superstitious; a piece of thread on your clothes meant you were going to get a letter, shoes on the bed bad luck and on it went. Put a smile on my face...voted up!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 14, 2014:

Jo, I had some type of virus on my computer. I have corrected the duplicate words 3 times in the past two days. I hope the problem is solved. Very frustrating!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 14, 2014:

Jo, I think that is a good reason not to walk under a ladder and I do the same. Thanks for the comments.

Diana, I think we love those things as children. I appreciate your comments.

Dianna Mendez on August 14, 2014:

I remember having a rabbit's foot keychain when I was a child was the cool thing. Even though we knew it was pretend, it was fun to think about the possibilities.

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on August 14, 2014:

I'm not superstitious, but I will avoid walking under a ladder, not because it's bad luck, but because building materials may fall on my head. :) I think some superstition are common sense, while others are simply weird. Great hub. I was about to send you a message, but I see Jodah have beaten me to it.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 14, 2014:

Lori, Excellent poin. Thanks for your comments.

Lori Phillips from Southern California USA on August 14, 2014:

Just a word of caution regarding superstitions. Don't let fear be your guide.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 14, 2014:

Aicia, It seems we all have some little thing we do out of habit. I appreciate your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 14, 2014:

Amelia, I think of money when my palm itches also, although I have never had any money arrive after that. lol Thanks for your comments.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 13, 2014:

This is an interesting hub, Pamela. I wouldn't say that I was very superstitious, but I do knock on wood! Thanks for sharing the information about different superstitions.

Amelia Griggs from U.S. on August 13, 2014:

Good and interesting hub, Pamela. There are so many superstitions and it's interesting what people believe, like we were conditioned to believe these things. I remember the stepping on the crack, walking under ladder and don't open the umbrella. When my palm is itchy, I still think of money.

Thanks and Regards,

Amelia

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 13, 2014:

Phyllis, I believe there is a difference between the two also even though I referred to both in this hub. I was trying to point out how easy it is to do some general questioning to get a reading. I think there are true clairvoyants also. I have had a couple of experience that defy explanation from any other source also, plus my great grandfather could levitate things as large as tables. There are many unexplained things in this world, and much we do not understand fully. I am glad you brought this topic up, just to clarify. Thanks for your comments.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on August 13, 2014:

Hi Pamela. I did have some superstitions when young because my Mother was so superstitious and always told us not to do certain things (stepping on a crack, etc.) I believe there is a lot of difference between superstitions (folk lore) and psychic abilities. Clairvoyance and other psychic abilities are of a higher level, from the spirit. I do not know much about the Long Island Medium, whether she is really psychic or not -- I do not place any faith in those who create shows for money. There is one exception for me though about that -- I believe John Edwards is a true and sincere clairvoyant. I am clairvoyant in many ways so I know that is much different than superstitions.

This is a very interesting hub.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 13, 2014:

Ruby, I guess we all did some of those things. I had forgotten the needle until today. lol is right. Thanks for the comments.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on August 13, 2014:

Interesting topic Pam. I remember not stepping on a crack when i was a kid. Funny how we believe in nutty superstions. I also remember the threaded needle. lol

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 13, 2014:

Lori, Beliefs are probably more powerful and difficult to change, but some people hand on tight to their superstitions also, although I think this is less common. You make some good points. I appreciate your comments.

incomeguru, I had not heard of that one. My step-daughter is pregnant. I don't know if she would appreciate me jumping over her, but it does make me smile.

When I was a girl we held a threaded needle over our hands and watched it go back and forth our other hand. The number of times it moved was suppose to predict the number of children we would have. Mine moved 3 times and I physically stopped it. Interestingly enought, I had 3 boys and got a tubal ligation. I jsut remembered that!

Thanks so much for your comments.

Oyewole Folarin from Lagos on August 13, 2014:

When I was young I use to believe superstition. There was this superstition that if you jump across a pregnant woman, the baby when delivered would resemble you.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 13, 2014:

Scarface, That sounds like a close call with the salt. I have seen people do this also. Thanks so much for your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 13, 2014:

Shanna, I have also heard of the black-eyed pea belief. I've tried it and haven't been impressed with its power. Thanks so much for your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 13, 2014:

Jodah, I will correct that immediately. I write on Word, then copy and paste, so probably I was interrupted and messed up, but I did reread the hub, so it could be old age! Thanks for letting me know. I think walking under a ladder isn't too wise as you may get something dropped on your head! I am glad you enjoyed the hub and appreciate the comments.

Scarface1300 on August 13, 2014:

Informative and well written hub. I often recall my mother throwing salt over her shoulder that may have brought her good luck but nearly blinded me on one occasion. haha.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on August 13, 2014:

Pamela, I never heard of the superstition about not doing laundry on New Year's Day. I have heard, however, that eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day is supposed to bring good fortune to the new year.

Lori Phillips from Southern California USA on August 13, 2014:

There is a fine but definite line between beliefs and superstitions. Superstitions are a type of belief. Beliefs are powerful, indeed, as they drive thoughts and behavior so beliefs are creative forces in life. Superstitions are similar but weaker. You can change a superstitious belief more easily than other more firmly grounded beliefs. However, very strong superstitions can create as well.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on August 13, 2014:

Hi Pamela. Very interesting hub. I do have a few superstitions but they don't play a big part in my life eg. I try to avoid walking under a ladder, and I have a lucky number 6, my birthdate. I hope itchy palms bring money, but there is some conjecture over which one attracts it and which one means you have to pay out. (Oh in your capsule titled "Why Are We Superstitious?" you have repeated the two paragraphs.) Voted up. Thanks for sharing.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 12, 2014:

Jackie, I always avoided a crack also. I hadn't thought of that one. Thanks for your comments.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on August 12, 2014:

I use to as a kid too like avoiding a crack and I will admit even today I do if I am conscious of it.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 12, 2014:

Billy, Thanks so much for your comment. I remember doing some things when I was young also but no longer. I'm glad I made you think about your youth.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 12, 2014:

I had to think about this. When I was younger, playing sports, I was superstitious. Now, I really don't think I am. I can't think of a superstition I follow or believe in....but you made me stop and think, and that's the sign of a good article.