I am an author and paranormal enthusiast who has published numerous books and articles on the subject of true unexplained phenomena.
1. Find a Penny
Pennies, those pesky bits of currency that seem to multiply no matter how many we spend, figure prominently in the lives of the superstitious. To find one lying in a parking lot or on the street is said to guarantee good luck to someone, depending on which side of the coin is showing at the time.
To come upon a penny that is heads up denotes that the finder will be blessed for the next twenty-four hours. If the coin is showing tails, the person who stumbled across it must gift it to someone else; a charitable act that will bring good fortune to both parties for the remainder of the day.
If the finder of the penny opts to keep the tiny windfall for themselves, despite the fact that it is clearly displaying tails, the consequences will be swift and not at all pleasant. As a result of their blunder, a series of unfortunate events will befall them until midnight ushers in a new day; proving once again that it is always better to give than to receive.
2. Itchy Palms
If your palm begins to itch for no apparent reason, this is said to indicate that your fortunes are about to change. Whether this turns out to be good news or bad depends entirely upon where the irritation is located.
To develop a sudden itch in your right palm suggests that you can look forward to coming into a tidy sum of cash. The more intense the sensation, the larger the impending jackpot. Conversely, if your left hand is overcome by ticklishness, get ready to empty your bank account. Rather than receiving money, you will be handing it over to someone else.
If both palms itch simultaneously, you will experience an unexpected gain that will almost instantly be put to use. While it may not be the outcome you were hoping for, there are worse things in life than breaking even.
Prickly palms are also believed to be an indicator that you are about to shake hands with someone who will become a meaningful influence in your life. Just be careful not to scratch that itch, to do so negates the good fortune that fate had in store.
3. Getting Up on the Wrong Side of the Bed
It is not uncommon to hear someone remark that an individual who is in a particularly bad mood must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. What many don't realize is that this observation can be traced back to ancient Rome where it was believed that a person's demeanor hinged almost entirely on how they chose to exit their bed.
This superstition holds that those who begin their day by getting out of bed on the righthand side will be blessed with good fortune. Those who attempt to face the world after rising from the left, however, will not only have a miserable day, but will go out of their way to make sure that everyone around them does the same.
This long-held belief is thought to stem from the fact that the Latin word for left is 'sinister.' With that little tidbit in mind, no wonder the ancient Romans thought it best to avoid greeting the day from that ill-fated locale.
4. The Lucky Horseshoe
Throughout the ages, horseshoes, arguably more so than any other objects, have gained a reputation for not only bringing good luck, but also for warding off bad. To hang one above the entrance to a home with the heels pointing up is to capture blessings as they fall from the heavens.
If a horseshoe is placed with its ends facing the ground, good fortune will rain down upon everyone and everything that passes beneath the lucky charm. It seems that the horseshoe is a tireless protector, and bringer of positivity no matter which direction it is turned.
These attributes, while admirable, did not come easy. The horseshoe's gift of keeping unsavory entities at bay is fabled to be rooted in a farrier's chance meeting with a most undesirable character.
As legend has it, centuries ago, a blacksmith was approached by a loathsome creature that was neither man nor beast, walking upright on cloven feet. Cordial to a fault, even in the face of this monstrosity, the blacksmith asked if he could be of service.
The nefarious presence, which sported the horns of a ram and skin that glowed crimson, stated that it wished to be fitted with shoes. Knowing instinctively that to refuse the request would surely end badly for him, the blacksmith obliged. He did, however, have a trick up his sleeve.
After affixing a white-hot shoe to one of the misshapen hooves, the blacksmith nailed it in place. The beast immediately began wailing in reaction to the searing pain, despite its obvious acquaintance with fire. It then pleaded with the blacksmith to remove the shoe, which he agreed to do, but only if the customer left and promised to never again darken the doorway of a home or establishment near which a horseshoe was displayed.
Blinded by agony, the creature readily agreed. Once the deal was brokered, the blacksmith set to work removing the shoe. When he was finished, the customer vanished in a puff of smoke and was never seen or heard from again. And that is how a blacksmith outsmarted the devil and gave horseshoes their unrivaled place in the world of superstitions.
5. Awkward Silences
Most of us, at one time or another, have found ourselves in the unenviable position of being in the middle of a conversation only to find that the verbal well has run dry. When this happens, the awkward silence that follows is usually deafening.
While trapped in the moment, the seemingly interminable quiet can be uncomfortable, to put it mildly. For those who believe in superstitions, this lull is not a bad thing at all; quite the contrary.
To experience a sudden loss for words during an exchange is believed to mean that an angel is passing through the room. Though as mortals we don't see or hear their presence, something inside of us senses that these ethereal beings are close by and holds our tongue as a show of reverence.
So, the next time you fall victim to an uncomfortable pause, regardless of the circumstances, don't let it bother you. Know instead that, if only for a moment, you shared space with an angel.
6. Fingers Crossed
Even those who don't normally entertain superstitions are sometimes guilty of practicing this method of ensuring that something they long for comes to pass. For reasons that aren't entirely clear, it is believed that crossing your fingers while uttering a wish out loud prevents mischievous sprites that may be lurking nearby from hearing your desires, and squelching them before they become reality.
It has been speculated that the action of crossing one finger over another is done in an attempt to approximate a crucifix. By making this gesture, a person is calling upon divine forces to combat opportunistic entities whose intentions are anything but pure.
It is also believed that white lies will be forgiven if the teller crosses their fingers as the half-truths are being spoken. This too is thought to harken back to the power of the True Cross. By crossing their fingers, those with a tendency to fib are secretly asking a higher power to overlook their transgressions.
So, whether a person is wishing for something that lies just beyond their reach or signaling to be let off the hook for spinning a yarn they know to be false, crossing their fingers should do the trick. Some superstitions, it seems, are more versatile than others.