I’m probably one of the least superstitious people ever – however, I do find it pretty interesting to read about what other people believe in and how they shape their lives around superstitions and “old wives tales.” I thought this would tie in nicely as Halloween is on its way and some of these superstitions can really be quite daunting and creepy.
Superstitions can really play with peoples’ brains; I remember when I was little and I broke a mirror, I was really upset and worried because I’d been taught to believe you’d get seven years bad luck for doing so. We tend to inherit these beliefs from our family and friends, some of them being passed down through various generations. Until a few years ago I’d still pick a penny up off the floor to pass on to someone because I thought that it meant good luck. As I’ve grown a little older, I don’t really follow them anymore but I asked around the blogging community to see if anyone had any of their own to share. Here’s a few that were sent to me:
“I don’t walk on three drains in a row because I stood on a drain one time and I fell in. So now I try not to stand on any, but three drains in particular. Also, when I was little I used to pick my scabs and my mum would tell me that it’s bad luck to pick them and they bleed. I thought if I did it and no one saw it would keep growing until it covered my whole body.” – Jade
“I don’t necessarily believe in it but I always salute magpies just in case.” – Megan
I had heard of both of Ronnie’s superstitions before, a lot of people at the office I work in won’t cross past me on the stairs. It’s really strange to me because I don’t have that belief but other people strictly follow it. It’s the same with new shoes being on the table, I remember a family member going mad once because I’d plonked a box with new shoes in on the table as I’d walked into the house. I thought they were messing with me at first but it turns out a lot of people actually follow this.
I found Jade’s three drains one interesting because I had heard of this before and it led me to notice that a lot of things tend to be in threes. For example, there’s the belief that bad luck comes in threes. This is one of the only superstitions I loosely believe but there’s an explanation behind it. If something bad has happened, say you’ve lost something special to you and you believe that three bad things in a row happen then you’re going to look out for the two other things no matter how small they are. You’re focused on the belief that three bad things are going to happen so you’re going to count any minor thing as another ‘bad happening.’
I’d never actually heard of Megan’s magpie superstition before but there are a lot surrounding birds and other animals. There’s the well-known rhyme, “one for sorrow, two for joy…” that I’ve heard many times which basically gives you predictions for the future based on how many magpies you see at one occasion. Magpies are compared to witches within superstition as it is thought that they are reincarnations of them so this is where the majority of tales surrounding them stem from. Another animal-related one is that it’s bad luck if a black cat crosses your path as these are also thought to be bad witches. Admittedly, this happened to me not long ago and I freaked out but I think it was more that the cat looked ready to fight rather than being worried about a witches curse.
Another one I do believe to an extent is the concept of beginner’s luck because I felt like I had experienced this once. If you haven’t heard of this before, it’s basically the idea that if it’s your first time doing something such as learning to play chess then you’re destined to win due to luck. The way I remember one of my experiences is that we were playing card games in sixth form and I’d never played any of these games before but I remember winning a round of every game we played. Although I’d like to think that I’m really skilled, there’s also an explanation for this based on remembering the positives and cancelling out anything else. You remember winning so many times as a positive memory in your life but you may push out of your mind the fact that you also lost various other times. So yes, to an extent I do think beginner’s luck can be a thing but it’s thought to be largely down to the way our brain remembers certain events.
It’s been so interesting to read up on peoples’ beliefs and there’s so many great stories to back up why people think they’re genuine. It’s also been pretty eye-opening to read some of the logical explanations behind these superstitions that look into how our brains function with these kind of things. I would say that they’re mostly fairly harmless but I wouldn’t go making yourself constantly terrified that you’re damned to seven years of bad luck just because you broke a mirror – I’m really clumsy though so I have to tell myself this. What are your opinions on superstitions, are there any that you believe in and follow? I’d love to hear them so please pop them in the comments below!