Beliefs and practices resulting from the human need to find causation in the everyday happenings of life. This is where we will try to unravel some of the unusual and esoteric things people ask us about.

3,421 Questions
Friday the 13th

Why is Friday the 13th considered an unlucky day?

It’s a little murky, but the origin of this superstition probably goes back to the Last Supper attended by Jesus Christ and his 12 disciples the night before his crucifixion on Good Friday. The 13th person has been associated with Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ. Additionally, the number 13 is considered “imperfect” when compared to 12, since there are 12 months in a year, 12 days of Christmas, etc.

A connection has also been made to King Philip IV of France who arrested (and later executed) hundreds of the Knights Templar on Friday, Oct. 13, 1307.

Urban Legends

Was there really a Carmen Winstead?


Supernatural and the Occult
Fables and Folklore

Why is it bad luck to walk under a ladder?

The practical reason why walking under a ladder is considered bad luck is that it’s just plain dangerous. The more superstitious theory is that the shape of a ladder against a wall forms a triangle, a symbol of the Holy Trinity in Christianity. Some believe that walking under a ladder would “break” the Trinity, a blasphemous act that could attract the devil.

That's not the only explanation, though. Some believe a ladder against a wall resembles a gallows (associated with death by hanging), and the ancient Egyptians believed walking under a ladder could accidentally allow you to see a god climbing up or down it.

Cats (Felines)
Ancient History

Where does the black cat superstition originate?

The bottom of all this to my opinion, is the colour black.

It was the colour of the old European (Roman, Celtic German goddess of fertility Mother Earth, giving the later "black madonna's". Which was not exclusively European ( Compare ISIS!!) Black was regarded as the colour of the earth, the goddesses' first element. Her second element was water, giving the colour blue.

The elements of the male god ( in the sky) were air and fire ( sun)

While druids were dressed in white, with red ribbons ( white= air, red = fire, sun ) it is too little known that there were female druids that were dressed in black with blue ribbons.

E.g.: In a certain period ( GERmanic) the goddes was called GER, giving GERTRUDE as being the female druid (=trude.Male druid = trudO) of GER.

Before, in Celtic period , she was called Cella ( CELtic)in Western Europe en HELLA in Eastern Europe ( cfrHELLas, HELLena, Hellenic )

Being mother earth, "the life-giving one ", her "home" was the black earth below, That became the HELL for Christianity A HOLE in the ground was an entrance to her home, and HOLY were the days of her feasts, or a tree dedicated to her.

A Hell- or Holestreet on the European mainland goes from the centre to the North, as North was the direction to find the mother goddess the dark/black night where the sun never shines( North).

As Ger/Cella /Hella was the wise (mother nature) and gave life those female priests were the "wisewoman" - les Femmes Sages ( = midwifes) that assisted on birth. They knew also a lot of herbal medicine: they had a huge knowledge of nature, their goddesses products.

And the honour they payed to to Ger was by masses were black was THE colour.

Christianity convicted those black masses and this "black magic" and it got a bad name, as well as the colour black itself.

The female druids where mostly accompanied by a cat with the holy black color. And as black was "from the devil" since Christianity black cats where too.

Much later, when Inquisition wanted to chase the new religions in the cities, they still encountered the rest of the old one in the countryside: the wiccas.

They where burned as witches together with their black cats, or the cats where thrown from the belfry towers.

I have no info why in England or elsewhere black cats are harmless. But as England is very traditional, and still very Celtic... knowing that black was a GOOD colour in Celtic times, one should look in that direction...The old idea that black colour being "a good colour" was not totally erased by chrsitianity, it seems. Till very recent, black was regarded as a "female" colour and my mother used to where it in mass before. The black for funerals (life/death, mother earth) is the same.

So traditions are stubborn

Another Answer

It is an interesting note that beliefs in the UK tend to run opposite those in America. In England the white cat is considered unlucky, the black being a bringer of good fortune, except in East Yorkshire where, while it is lucky to own a black cat, it is unlucky to come across one. In Belgium, Spain, Germany, and some other European countries the common aversion to black cats is shared with the American view.

In western history, black cats have long been looked upon as a symbol of bad omens. Cats among other animals Britannic/Celtic regions, currently known as the UK, also regarded hares with the same animosity as the cat) were sacred to certain pagan goddesses. When Christianity spread to regions that practiced traditional tribal religions the church sought to convert these natives. It would take far too long to get into the entire process of stamping out native traditions and replacing christian ones, as more of the local populations converted the church began to "demonize" symbols of the old religion, it was a form of propaganda designed to suppress the customs that did not fit in with their religious practices. Along with labels of witches and sorcerers was spread the notion that these magicians could shape-shift into cats (hares, etc) and skulk around in the night cursing their neighbors and communing with the devil or doing other perverse and evil things. Cats were slaughtered en Mass in some areas, believed to be wicked witches that must be destroyed. This practice and superstitious belief started in areas of what is now the UK before and most especially during the witch trials in these areas and persisted long after. When the "pilgrims" and British colonists came over to the New World, they brought it with them and it has remained with us in the idea that a black cat is an ill omen.

One of the prevalent black cat superstition alive in our the western culture today is if a black cat crosses your path, it is considered bad luck. Interestingly, in most other cultures, the black cat is a prized possession & owning one is said to bring the owner good luck.

The origin of the black cat & good luck is said to have begun in Ancient Egypt with the sacred black cat of BAST. BAST is an official deity of Egypt in the 22nd dynasty. During her reign, Egyptians courted her favors, by keeping black cats in their houses, believing that she would become part of the cat in spirit & grace their home with riches & prosperity.

Charles I of England (1600-1649) owned a black cat. He loved the cat so much so that he had guards protecting the cat 24 hours a day, until one day the cat fell in & died. Charles I was heard to proclaim, "Alas my luck is gone." True enough, he was arrested the next day & charged with high treason. He was later put to his death.

In Sumatra, during a long drought, a black cat is found and thrown into the river. The village folk would line the bank, forcing the cat to swim until almost exhausted. Once the cat is exhausted they allow the cat to get out of the water. The women of the village then chase the black cat while throwing water on the cat and themselves. This is supposed to bring rain. Although this tradition might bring good luck to the village, pity the poor cat that has the bad luck of being chosen for this!

In the Yorkshires, a black cat was said to bring the fishermen home safely from the seas. During the most prominent part of the fishing industry in this village, black kittens were often catnapped and sold to the highest bidder (usually the wives of the fishermen) by racketeers trying to cash in on the popular superstition.

In parts of Europe, if a black cat crosses your path, you are considered to have good fortune. If a black cat walks into your house or home, you are truly blessed. But in the United States, the term Black Cat was used by the fishermen and sailors of Michigan's Lake Superior for a boat that was believed to have a spell cast upon it and therefore, never will carry a full crew.

The attitude towards black cats is said to change sometime around the pilgrims arriving at Plymouth Rock. The pilgrims were devout Christians & they were deeply suspicious of anything deemed of the devil. Comprised of England's & Europeans, these pilgrims viewed black cat as a companion or a familiar to witches. Anyone caught with a black cat would be severely punished or even killed. They viewed the black cat as part demon and part sorcery.

When the Christians gained a foothold in America they also propelled this myth forward, during a time when witches were coming into fruition in America. Sharing a sisterhood with witches in England, and rumored to use black cats as an integral part of their craft. Black cats were suddenly cast into a bad light many black cats were sought after and killed. If a farmer believed his land had a spell cast upon it, the only way to break that spell was to shoot a black cat with a silver bullet.

Ask anyone what comes to mind when black cat is mentioned and cat lovers will inevitably say: mysterious, alluring, beautiful, playful, elegant and gorgeous. But non-cat owners would come up with: bad luck, witches familiar, evil, demonic, mean, spooky and Halloween... So you can see the superstition lives on even today.

Here are more superstitions from all around the world. Some are good & some, not necessarily so:

  • A black cat seen from behind foretells a bad omen -- Unknown
  • A strange black cat on your porch brings prosperity -- Scottish
  • A black cat crossing ones path by moonlight means death in an epidemic -- Irish
  • A black cats carry demons -- Unknown
  • If a black cat walks towards you, it brings good fortune, but if it walks away, it take the good fortune with it.
  • It is believed that if a black lived in the house, the young lass would have plenty of suitors -- English
  • It is believed that if you find one white hair on a black cat, Lady Luck will smile upon you -- French
  • While it is lucky to own a black cat, it is extremely unlucky to come across one accidentally -- English
  • It is considered bad luck to pass a black cat at 9pm
  • It is thought that a reincarnated soul may be liberated by throwing a black cat into a fire -- Indian
  • Women could change their soul into a black cat & that any harm brought to the cat would be suffered by the women -- Bengali
  • It is thought that black cats were reincarnated being able to divine the future -- Celtic
  • It is believed that if a black cat jumped on the bed of a sick person it meant death is near -- German
  • It is thought that black cats were thought to carry the souls of the dead to the other world -- Finnish
  • It is thought that the presence of a black cat foretold of poverty -- Chinese
History of Science

What superstitious beliefs have a scientific basis?

As of 2007 Atheism has been proven to be a religion with zero honesty or truth! Atheism is all fiction; confirmed by honest scientific tests! The Atheists have also lost in the Supreme Court! God won!

Every single sentence of history in the honest Bible has anywhere from three to over 250 records found to confirm each line! The Bible is all truths, facts!

Tattoos and Body Art
Symbolism and Symbolic Meanings

What is the symbolic meaning of a sparrow tattoo?

Back in the days of the tall ships, sailors would get a sparrow tattoo for crossing a sea, i.e., from the US to England. A seaman with 5,000 miles or more under his belt earned the right to a sparrow tattoo. Some called it a swallow. There you go.

More answers from WikiAnswers contributors:

  • It may not mean anything, but I know a lot of men in the UK who have bird tattoos on their hands and wrists have been released from prison. The sparrows symbolize freedom.
  • I know of a gang that gets tattoos like that and they get them because it is their way of showing that they are free to do what they like and don't follow any rules but their own.
  • A sparrow is a symbol of finding your true love.
  • Having three sparrows on my body, one singing a song symbolizing Freedom and the other two diving toward a nautical star representing freedom to love and to find your true love. A sparrow is different from most birds, when they find their soul mate, they stay with them until their life's end.
  • Some tattoo artists get tattoos of sparrows somewhere on their body to draw evil away from their body, because they tattoo demons and anti-religious stuff everyday. They believe it will protect them and keep evil spirits away.
  • A sparrow for a safe journey a sparrow for a safe return and a banner from one beak to the other for every five thousand miles. I'm a sailor, I have sailor tats and the sparrows are a sailor tat. Makes sense though for ex-cons to get them for freedom. I like that idea, too.
  • Sailors earned the right to wear "blue birds of happiness" tattoos on either side of their chest after having crossed the Equator.
  • Sparrows can mean all/any of the following: eternity, luck, innocence. Sparrows are also known for traveling great distances, but always returning home. The way the sparrow is pictured also defines a lot about its' meaning.
  • The tat may have a religious significance. See Matthew 10:29, which reads "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father."
  • I don't think that it has its OWN meaning, when i was 16, my first tattoo was different birds flying up my stomach, each one, to me, represented a family member or close friend of mine that had passed away. The sparrow represents my grandpa, because its said that they are wise birds that "resemble" peace, safety etc..
  • Sparrow (swallows, you may be confused with) are traditional nautical/Navy tattoos that signify that the sailor has traveled a certain amount in his life. Same with Nautical stars.
  • In the old days, before GPS, sailors would follow birds to land. There was an old sailor's legend about one particular captain who would recognize the sparrow as native to his home. The sparrow would signify his coming home. The tattoo is supposed to help lead you home.
  • I have two sparrows on my chest - the devil and the angel symbolizing good and evil in all of us. But I chose sparrows due to the fact that it also symbolized freedom and loyalty. It was like symbolizing " being true to thy self."
  • They are old sailor tattoos. You would get the first one after traveling 5,000 miles and the second after traveling another 5,000.
  • The sparrow tattoo was designed by Sailor Jerry. He also designed/originated the love mom tattoos as well as his own brand of rum.
  • Sparrows symbolize love, dedication and trust. Sparrows mate for life and will always return home no matter how far they travel. They should always be tattooed in pairs. Sparrow tattoos are often confused with Blue swallows. Swallows were often tattooed on sailors to symbolize a safe return home. When a sailor saw a swallow at sea, he knew he was near land. If the swallow is tattooed on the sailor's upper chest near his shoulder, it represents 5,000 nautical miles sailed.
  • I have one sparrow on each side of my neck, one with its head curled back/up and the other with it facing forward. The one looking back/up, to me, means I'm letting go of the past and the one facing forward is the obvious opposite, live in the present and deal with what's coming not what's already gone.
  • Another less-used meaning dates back to Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians associated sparrows/swallows with the stars and believed that they caught the souls of those who have passed (hence "living" on as stars). I have two on my back, one on each shoulder blade, with the left representing those I have lost in the past and the right representing those I'll lose in the future.
  • I'm thinking about getting a sparrow tattoo, There are so many meanings for it, But mine's completely personal. Im German, and I have lots of memories visiting my grandparents there. I used to watch the sparrows with my oma. She used to love them. She passed away a year ago. I want to get one in memory of her. But also, My parents have such a strong marriage and and have pet names, my dad calls my mom "spatz" which means sparrow in German. But that's just my opinion on sparrow tattoos.

Sparrows and swallow tattoos are often grouped as the same thing....

swallows were gotten by pirates when they travel over 100,000 miles or over the equator and back, they would ge one on the way one on the way back... (often done on collarbones) they have a symbolism of "safe travel/safe return"

they also are a symbol of true love (more so with swallows) but swallows mate for life, and no matter where each of them are in the world, once a year they both meet up in the Galapagos Islands to mate.... amongst millions of other birds, all over the world, they find each other.

-What most of this is talking about is Swallows, not sparrows. Oold sailors would tattoo one swallow for 5,000 miles, until they had their 2 swallows, after that they would do stars, often on the hands or in the ears. The crossing of the equator has little to do with the swallows. Crossiing the equator would generally be remembered with a tattoo of Neptunus Rex, or some manner of turtle, to represent the order fo the Shellback. Like most sailor-esque tattoos, its a good luck token. By all means, any tattoo is whatever you want it to mean, do it for you.

+1 ^ the crossing the line( equator) has nothing to do with the sparrows,or swallows. crossing the equator is when a sailor goes from being a slimy polly-wog (landlubber) to a mighty shellback-after a two day initiation; a day of wog uprising and rebelion,and the next day wich is the actual initiation and going before King Neptune.

The Sparrows were not a Sailor Jerry design,nor were the nautical stars-though he made them 'popular' and 'cool' to have.They have been around for a very long time. Much longer than most people know. As sailors travled by sea, swallows were seen flying above when land came closer. So a swallow in flight is a sign of land ahead or "safe return home".

It fully depends on who you ask. My favorite one I have ever heard was it was originally gotten by seamen to symbolize a safe journey home because when you saw the birds it meant you were close to shore. I have heard they also mean freedom and a few other things. Some people just get them because they look cool too.

Water Fountains and Ponds

What happens to the change people throw in wishing wells and fountains?

There are a few different places the money can end up. In the most noble cases, the change is donated to a charity. For example, the fountains in the Mall of America collect roughly $24,000 a year, and that money is donated to several different worthy causes. In other, more practical cases, the money goes toward the cleaning and maintenance of the fountain.

Finally, the far too common alternative is for the change to go back into the pockets of citizens. Maeri Ferguson from the New York City Parks and Recreation Department’s press office told The Atlantic, “[Fountains] are cleaned regularly by Parks staff (every few weeks) but we consistently find that most of the coins have already been removed by entrepreneurial New Yorkers and there is not a significant amount left to be collected.”

Birds of Prey

What does it mean if you see the coyote at night?

It means you saw a random coyote that was probably hunting or going back to it's den.

Religion & Spirituality

Is pigeon for good luck for home?


History of Ireland

What are some sayings about a four leaf clover?

They say a four leaf clover is very lucky and that it is very rare so if you find one you will have luck.


Is seeing an owl bad luck or good luck?

This is actually a test of whether you are an optimist or a pessimist.

If an optimist, seeing an owl is good luck. If a pessimist, then its bad luck.


What is the superstitions belief of the moon?

Wow! Such a simple question, and such a huge topic. The moon has fascinated, intrigued, frightened, and captivated humankind since we first looked up into the night sky.

There are as many creation myths concerning the moon as there have been story-tellers to tell them. As for superstitions concerning the moon, I have a minimum of 9 complete books on the subject and entire chapters in 6 more.

So, what I will do here is give you a general over view with a few of my favourite, and more obscure specific ones.

The markings on the observable face of the moon have been interpreted variously as the man in the moon, the old woman in the moon and the hare ion the moon, each with it's own tale for how the man/woman/hare got there.

Our language has many "moon" words in it, most of them less than happy. One such example is:

Lunatic - madness was once thought a result of either the pull of the moon on weak minds or over exposure to the light of the moon.

Because the average woman's menstrual cycle is the length of a standard lunar cycle, in some circles menstruation is called "moon time", it is considered lucky for a woman's cycle to correspond to the full moon.

It is a well-known fact that the waters of the earth are influenced by the gravitational pull of the moon, causing the tides. It is also believed by some that as the human body is made up of a high percentage of water, that we too are influenced by that same gravitation pull, causing mood swings at high tides.

The phases of the moon have been explained by everything from a wolf taking bites out of it to her being shy and "hiding her face."

There are many who believe certain phases of the moon are better for specific acts and projects.

Here are a few examples:

~Planting in the dark of the moon will ensure a bountiful harvest. This applies to most crops, the exception being vine crops, which grow and twine in a counter-clockwise manner, and should be planted at the full moon.

~Starting a new project should be done at the new moon.

~It is best to first see the new moon rising by glancing at it over your right shoulder, and finding it in an open sky.

~It is not lucky to first see the new moon through glass (corrective lens excepted) or through the branches of a tree.

~Bowing to a new moon and turning the "silver" (coin) in your pockets will ensure a doubling of money in that lunar month.

~Magic done for increase should be done in the waxing of the moon.

~Proposing marriage and/or getting married at the new moon should ensure a long and happy marriage with lots of children.

~The full moon is a the best time to end projects. It is also a good time to give birth.

~Children were advised not to be caught by the full moon (have the moon shine on them) or they would become "moonstruck" and either give birth to "monsters" or become ungovernable, depending on their gender. To avoid this, they were to recite the poem: "I see the moon, and the moon sees me, god bless the moon, and god bless me."

~The full moon is supposed to be a dangerous time. Werewolves are believed to only be abroad in wolf form under the full moon.

~Emergency hospital workers and police will tell of higher incidences of personal crime (assaults, rapes, domestic violence, etc.) and injuries during the full moon.

~A weight loss program is best undertaken during the waning of the moon.

~The weaning of nursing children and domestic animals will be more successful if done in the waning moon.

~Cutting your hair in the waning moon will make it weak and encourage baldness, so it is best to cut hair (and finger nails) in the waxing moon.


Why is it bad luck to spill milk?

It is considered bad luck because it wastes nourishment for the whole family.

History of England
UK History

What are some Victorian era superstitions?

That it was harmful to breathe night air.


Do science believe in ghost?

Most of them don't.A hallucination, in the broadest sense of the word, is a perception in the absence of a stimulus.Hallucinations are made up of the mind. There is a specific part in your brain that can make illusions.Therefore, the answer is No

It is often said that the supernatural and science converge, and a lot of scientists explain their belief in ghosts as physical phenomena. Since everything in the universe is electromagnetic, this must be the basis of any real ghost. Often there are misconceptions as to what constitutes a ghost. It might be the residual memory of a past life left like a tape recording in sensitive factors like freezing water and rusting iron. It might be the projection of powers from universal currents of energy in subspace and hyperspace. This would be a mechanical structure that the ghost might be only dimly aware of. Often spirits have manifested themselves to observation creating stories by the witnesses who might be scientists or poets. There are communications by voices in the wind and water. Actions that are entirely mental or actions that are distinctly physical. In terms of ancient (Indian) philosophy written in Sanskrit, there are machines that travel from star to star; these could easily be responsible for ghostly demonstrations.

Urban Legends

Did David Gregory really die?


Why is a 13th floor bad luck?

Due to the superstitious belief that the number 13 is unlucky.


Examples of supertitious beliefs?

- 13 is an unlucky number

- a black cat crossing your path is bad luck

- a crow or blackbird crossing your path is bad luck

- walking under a ladder will bring bad luck

- breaking a mirror brings seven years of bad luck

- wishing on a shooting star is good luck

- carrying a rabbit's foot is good luck

- starting a journey on a Friday is unlucky

- seeing your bride in her dress before the wedding will doom the marriage

- the sound of a bell will drive away demons (gremlins if it's on a motorcycle).

Word and Phrase Origins
Friday the 13th

What is the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition?

The convergence of two superstitions between the number 13 and Friday seem to be at the heart of many questions concerning this particular superstition. So lets start with those.

FRIDAY has been an inauspicious day for a very long time, and in many varied cultures. It has been held to be both unlucky and as a day when evil influences are at work.

In Ancient Rome, Friday was execution day.

In some pre-Christian Religions Friday was a day of worship, so those who involved themselves in secular or self-interested activities on that day were not likely to receive the blessings of the gods on their undertakings. Which may go a long way to explain the superstition of not embarking on journeys or starting important projects on Fridays.

From the Christian bible:

- Friday is reputed to be the day Eve gave Adam the apple.

- It is said to be the day Adam & Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden.

- Friday is also reputed to be the day they (Adam & Eve) died.

- The Great Flood is supposed to have started on a Friday.

- God was said to have struck the builders of the Towel of Babel and created the confusion of many tongues, on a Friday.

- The Temple of Solomon was destroyed on a Friday.

- Christ was crucified and died on a Friday.

In Britain, Friday was customarily Hanging Day.

It is said accidents are more common on Fridays, however, that may be more because Friday is the end of the work week and people are hurrying to get away from work, than any sinister reasons.

It is supposed that witches favour Friday for coven gatherings. This Pagan association was not lost on the early Christian Church, which went to considerable lengths to suppress them. If Friday was a holy day for "heathens" the Church fathers felt it must not be so for Christians, hence in the middle ages Friday became known as the "Witches' Sabbath."

The name "Friday" is derived from the Norse goddess known either as Frigg - wife of Odin (the goddess of marriage & fertility, the moon & witches) or Freya (goddess of love, beauty, sensuality, war, good fortune, magic & wisdom). To complicate matters the two goddesses are combined and used interchangeably by many, however, the etymology of Fridayhas been given both ways.

Pre-Christian Teutonic people actually considered Fridayto be lucky, particularly for wedding, because of its association with the aforementioned goddesses. This however changed when the Christian church came into ascendancy. Frigg/Freya was re-cast in folklore as a witch and her day became associated with evil doings.

Various legends developed in that vein, one however, is of particular interest:

As the legend goes, the witches of the north used to observe their Sabbath by gathering in a cemetery in the dark of the moon. On one such occasion the Friday goddess, (Freya herself) came down from her sanctuary in the mountaintops and appeared before the group, who numbered only twelve at the time, and gave them one of her cats, after which the witches' coven, and, by "tradition," every properly-formed coven since, is comprised of thirteen members.

Other superstitions concerning Friday include:

- Clothing made on a Friday will never fit properly.

- Visiting your doctor on Friday will not have a good result.

- Never change your bed on a Friday, as it will result in nightmares and bad dreams.

- One should not move their residence or marry on a Friday, if they expect any good to come of it.

- Cut your nails of Friday and you cut them for sorrow.

- Ill news received on a Friday will etch wrinkles in the face of the recipient, more so than the same news received on any other day.

- Friday is an inauspicious day to start a trip as "misfortune will bound to follow."

- Ships that set sail on Friday will have bad luck. ~ This superstition is supported by the Urban legend of the H.M.S. Friday.

It is reported that, in an attempt to debunk the many sailors' superstitions centered around Fridays, the British government commissioned a special ship. They named it the H.M.S. Friday; the crew was selected on a Friday, the keel was set on a Friday, and she was launched on a Friday. They even went so far as to hire a man named Friday to captain her. It was on a Friday that she set sail on her maiden voyage, and as the story goes, was never heard of again.

Children born on Fridays are believed by some to be unlucky, but they will enjoy the gifts of second sight and healing powers.

On the other side of things, the old nursery rhyme says "Friday's child is loving and giving", so not all cultures agreed that Friday was a bad day to be born.

An old proverb said "If you laugh on Friday you will cry on Sunday,"

There are those who say the weather on Friday will be repeated on Sunday.

The number THIRTEEN is much maligned, The prejudice against the number is more or less planet wide. The Turks are said to have so disliked the number so much that it was all but eradicated from their vocabulary. In fact there are so many people with a fear (triskaidekaphobia) of the number thirteen, that many will go to great lengths to avoid any association with it. This is why there are cities that do not have a thirteenthStreet or Avenue, highways often do not have a thirteenthexit, many airports do not have a thirteenth gate and many buildings do not have rooms and in some cases floors number thirteen.

The number thirteen is associated with the supposed number of members in a witches' coven. As the legend goes, the witches of the north used to observe their Sabbath by gathering in a cemetery in the dark of the moon. On one such occasion the Friday goddess, (Freya herself) came down from her sanctuary in the mountaintops and appeared before the group, who numbered only twelve at the time, and gave them one of her cats, after which the witches' coven, and, by "tradition," every properly-formed coven since, is comprised of thirteen members.

It is also interesting to note in this story, the possible origin of the belief that a witch's familiar is a cat.

One of the most commonly known and observed superstitions concerning the number thirteen, has to do with dining. It is said to be incredibly unlucky to be invited to dinner and have thirteen people at table.

The belief is that the first person to rise from table and/or the last person to sit down at the table are destined to die within the calendar year. The only way to avoid this is for everyone to be seated and to rise from the table at the same time. Not an easy feat, however, there is some hope for everyone's survival if two or more of the people at dinner are seated at another/separate table.

- This superstition is said to originate with the Last Supper at which Judas Iscariot was the last person to take a seat at table.

- The superstition is also said to have originated in the East with the Hindus, who believed, for their own reasons, that it is always unlucky for thirteen people to gather in one place at one time, say - at dinner.

- Interestingly enough, precisely the same superstition has been attributed to the ancient Vikings. There is an old Norse legend that seems tailor made for continuing this trend;

As the story goes, twelve gods were invited to a banquet at Valhalla. Loki, the Evil One, (god of mischief) had been left off the guest list but crashed the party, bringing the total number of attendees to thirteen. True to character, Loki incited Hod (the blind god of darkness and winter) into attacking Balder the Good (fairest of the gods). Hod took a spear of mistletoe offered by Loki and obediently hurled it at Balder, killing him instantly. All Valhalla grieved.

This tale apparently explains why the Norse themselves adhere to the belief that thirteen people at a dinner party is just plain bad luck.

One of the more perplexing suggestions of origin is that the fears surrounding the number thirteen are as ancient as the act of counting. This speculative explanation suggests, primitive man had only his ten fingers and two feet to represent units, so he could count no higher than twelve. What lay beyond that -thirteen- was an unfathomable mystery to our prehistoric antecedents, hence an object of fear, confusion and superstition. Which has the feel of possible truth, but my first thought was, those self-same humans didn't wear shoes, so why didn't they use their toes to count with as well?

There is also a theory which has a ring of truth to it that suggests that the number thirteen may have been purposely vilified by the founders of patriarchal religions in the early days of western civilization because it represented femininity.

Thirteen had been revered in prehistoric goddess-worshiping cultures, we are told, because it corresponded to the number of lunar (and coincidentally, menstrual) cycles in a year (13 x 28 = 364 days).

The "Earth Mother of Laussel," for example, a 27,000 year old carving found near the Lascaux caves in France is often cited as an icon of matriarchal spirituality. It depicts a female figure holding a crescent-shaped horn bearing thirteen notches.

It is speculated that as the solar calendar triumphed over the lunar with the rise of male-dominated civilization and religions, so did the "perfect" number 12 over the "imperfect" number 13, thereafter considered anathema.

It is said that if you have thirteen letters in your name you will have the "Devil's luck." There may be some truth in that as Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all had thirteen letters in their names.

More superstitions about the number thirteen include:

- There are thirteen steps leading to the gallows.

- There are thirteen knots in a hangman's noose.

- It is thirteen feet the blade of a guillotine falls.

- There were thirteen people at the last supper.

- Lizzy Borden was said to have spoken only thirteenwords at her trial.

- There were thirteen original colonies.

- The US Seal has thirteen stars, bars, and feathers in the eagle's tail. The eagle carries thirteen bars in one claw, thirteen olive branches in the other.

- E pluribus Unum has thirteen letters.

- Ancient Romans regarded the number thirteen as a symbol of death, destruction and misfortune.

- The thirteenth card in a Tarot deck is "Death" often pictured as the Grim Reaper (a skeleton, often in a hooded cape, carrying a scythe). It should be noted however, that the Death card is rarely if ever read as "death" but as transition, change or new beginnings.

- The driver of Princess Diana's vehicle hit pillar #13at Place de l'Alma when she was killed in Paris, France.

- Apollo 13. In 1970, the thirteenth mission was to be launched from pad #39 (13 x 3). The mission was aborted, after an explosion occurred in the fuel cell of their service module. The rocket had left launching pad at 13:13 CST and the date was April 13th.

.- In France, a "quatrorzieme" is a professional 14th guest hired by people who had only thirteen guests in attendance for dinner, and who felt that was unlucky.

- A baker's dozen is a term used to describe bakery items such as rolls, or doughnuts sold in a pack of thirteen. I have heard many explanations for this, however, the following is pretty much exemplary of them.

The story tells of a witch near Albany, NY who demanded thirteen items every time she came in to a particular bakery. One day the old bake, who could not afford her extra biscuit, refused her. She is said to have sneered some strange words at the man, and thereafter he suffered terrible luck, until he brought her another thirteen rolls. After that life was once again easy for the baker and word spread around town. The custom is still sometimes practiced today.

The prejudice against the number thirteen is of obscure and ancient origin, as it existed in Roman times long before Christ, and the last supper.

Perhaps of interest, is that the Chinese consider thirteen to be a lucky number.

The ancient Egyptians revered thirteen was the number of the last step a soul took on its journey to eternity, twelve steps taken in life and the final one at death into the eternal glory of the afterlife. Thus making the thirteenth step a joyous one. It is only after the Civilizations of the Pharaohs were ancient history that the association of the number thirteen with death became one of fear instead of one of celebration.

There are some schools of thought that attribute the thirteenth step into the afterlife to be of Hindu origins.

FRIDAY the THIRTEENTH is believed to be the most widespread superstition.

There isn't much documentation prior to the nineteenth century, on why humankind decided to amalgamate the two superstitions, other than the obvious one, in that the thirteenth of a month falls on a Friday between one and three times a year and someone was bound to eventually put two and two, or in this case thirteen and Friday into one day with a really nasty reputation.

The earliest traceable reference to the combination is from the biography of Italian composer Gioachino Rossini. In the book The Life of Rossini, by Henry Sutherland Edwards, it says: "[Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring and affectionate friends; and if it be true that, like so many other Italians, he regarded Friday as an unlucky day, and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that on Friday, the 13th of November, he died."

There is a theory that notes references to the superstition are nonexistent prior to 1907, and argues that the Thomas Lawson novel Friday the 13th is what has given rise to the popularity of the superstition. The book, all but forgotten now, concerned dirty dealings in the stock market and sold quite well in its day. It seems unlikely that the novelist, literally invented that premise himself. He treats it within the story, in fact, as a notion that already existed in the public consciousness. This may have set it on a path to becoming the most widespread superstition in modern times, it certainly was readily adopted and popularized by the press.

There is evidence to show that although most people will claim not to be superstitious, businesses, worldwide, show a marked decline in sales etc. on Fridays the thirteenth, as many choose to put off business decisions, investments of money, business and personal travel and even personal events such as weddings. Many others choose not to go in to work, eat in restaurants, go to movies, theatrical performances or to entertain in their homes on that day.

It has been known for the departure of certain ocean liners to be delayed until after midnight to appease passengers' fears of setting sail on a Friday the 13th.

According to Dr Donald Dossey, a psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of phobias (and the man who coined the term paraskevidekatriaphobia, sometimes spelled paraskavedekatriaphobia), there may be as many as 21 million people in the United States that currently suffer from some form of the phobia. If he is right, eight percent of Americans are still in the grips of a very old superstition.

There has been research in Britain showing there are fewer cars on the road on a Friday 13th than on any other Friday, and yet there are more accidents reported.

Friday, January the 13th 1939 is one example people hold up for the belief the day is inauspicious. In Australia, on that day, a devastating bushfire swept across southern Victoria, killing 71 people.

Another supposed origin of the Friday the 13th superstition comes from the historical destruction of the Knights Templar.

The Dan Brown novel The Da Vinci Code and the Movie of the same name, (directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks) popularized the thought that the superstition is tied to the mass arrest of the Knights Templar. Secretly ordered by King Philip of France, (and Holy Roman Emperor, Pope Clement V) the mass arrest, of all the Knights Templar in France happened on Friday, October 13, 1307. The eventual condemnation, and eradication of the Knights Templar was to follow. The King of France and the Pope got the spoils, and a date was cemented in time.

Very nearly everyone you ask has a theory about the origin of the Friday the thirteenth superstition, and no few of them will happily share some frightening or apocryphal story to back it up. And in all honesty most of us enjoy a good "scary tale," as evidenced by the popularity of the series of movies titled "Friday 13th" 1 through 705 (okay, I will admit that may be a bit of an exaggeration)

Fables and Folklore

What are some examples of superstitious beliefs?

Bad Luck, general

- Walking under a ladder is bad luck.

- Spilling salt is bad luck, to avert this throw a pinch of it over your left shoulder.

- Putting your clothing on inside out or backward is only unlucky if you remove the piece of clothing and turning it "right."


- the sound of bells is said to frighten away evil spirits, which is why they are rug at weddings, funerals, and on New Years Day.

- "Gremlin" bells are commonly hung on motorcycles to keep "bad" spirits from catching a ride.


- Crows tell fortunes per the following poem:

One is for bad news,

Two is for mirth.

Three is a wedding,

Four is a birth.

Five is for riches,

Six is a thief.

Seven is a journey,

Eight is for grief.

- Crows - It is bad luck to have a crow fly across your path. To avert this, recite the alphabet as fast as you can, before the crow completes its flight.

- Blue birds are a favourite tattoo of sailors, ensuing a safe return home.

- Any bird flying into your house through an open window and out again is said to predict a death in the household.

Cats, black

- It is bad luck to have a black cat cross your path. This is a regional thing as black cats are considered lucky in some areas of the world.

- If a black cat walks toward you it will bring good luck to you.

- If a black cat walks away from you, it will take your luck with it.


Red - Do not wear red in an electrical storm, the colour is said to attract lightening

Green - Green was once said to be the colour of a witch; actors believe green will bring bad weather or "natural disaster".

Yellow - Believed to be the colour or cowardice.

Black - Believed to be the colour of death and funerals.


- When a person dies and their eyes are still open, they are said to be awaiting the arrival of more souls of family members.

- It is considered inauspicious to speak ill of the dead.

- The inexplicable howling of dogs is said to foretell the death in the household.

- A last meal is often laid for the departed spirit, to assure them a good passage to the next world.

- A candle is often lit to "light their way."

- When a person dies at home, all the windows in the house should be opened to allow the soul to depart easily.

- Mirrors are covered so the dead will not be startled by their reflection.

Fridays (including the 13th)

- Never start a journey, a business proposition or a marriage on a Friday.

- Black Friday, also known as Friday the thirteenth (see separate answer in related questions)

Good luck charms etc.

- It is lucky to meet a chimney sweep.

- Carrying a rabbits foot is lucky (for everyone but the rabbit).

- Find a penny pick it up, all day long you'll have good luck.

- Hang a horseshoe (ends up) over a doorway, or in a room to bring good luck. If the horse shoe is from the rear hoot of a grey horse, all the better.

- Seeing a grey horse is good luck, riding in a cart pulled by one is even better.

- Finding a four-leafed clover is fortunate.

- Seeing a butterfly on the first day of the year will bring the viewer a prosperous year.

- Catch a falling leaf on the first day of autumn and you will not catch cold that winter.


- Sweeping at night will reduce your "blessings."

- Never sweep dirt out of your door, you will sweep your good luck out with it.

- Bathing at night is the equal of a cup of blood lost.

- Do not allow the birds to use your hair as part of their nest, as it will cause you to become confused.


- Allowing anyone else to wear your wedding band is an invitation for your spouse to be unfaithful.

- Buying opals for yourself is unlucky unless they are your birthstone.

- Certain specific gems (frequently diamonds) for example the Hope Diamond, are "cursed".

- A bride will shed tears for every pearl she wears to her wedding.


- Breaking a mirror brings seven years bad luck.

- Mirrors should be covered in a household in mourning.

- Covering a mirror during a thunderstorm will keep the thunder from shattering it.

- It is unlucky for a baby to see its reflection in a mirror before its first birthday. Doing so, could cause the child to have crossed eyes or to stutter.

- Looking into a mirror over someone's shoulder will result in a quarrel between the two people.

- If a mirror falls from the wall (unaided) and breaks, it foretells of a death in the household.


- Always enter a room/building on your right foot.

- Always enter and leave a building by the same door.

- Always enter and leave a bed on the same side.

- Cover your mouth when you sneeze, your soul is said to take leave of your body in this manner. This is also why people say "Bless you" to someone who sneezes.

- Giving a wallet without money in it will mean the wallet is empty in future.

- Never give a knife as a gift (the recipient should always pay, even a penny) or it will turn on its owner.

- Peacock feathers are unlucky if kept indoors, doubly so if you purchased them for yourself.

- Step on a crack, break you mother's back.

- Sleeping late, will cause a decline in blood (cause illness).

- Sleeping with wet hair, will bring snakes to sleep with you.

- Three people on a match (lighting three cigarettes on one match) is very unlucky.

- Do not turn a loaf of bread upside down after you have sliced it.


- Opening an umbrella inside the house brings bad luck to the person, and the entire household.

- Opening one under a roof, you will drown the next time you swim.

- Placing an umbrella on a bed or table brings misfortune.

- If you drop an umbrella, you should not pick it up yourself. A woman who picks up her own fallen umbrella will never marry.

- An umbrella (particularly a black one) is unlucky on a ship.


- Rain on your wedding day is considered good luck.

- Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning.

- Seeing a rainbow, particularly one that is a complete arch, is good luck.

- Keep an acorn on the window sill will keep the household safe from lightening.


- It is unlucky for a groom to see his bride, on the day of the wedding, before the ceremony starts.

- It is unlucky for the groom to see the bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony starts.

- It is unlucky for the bride to wear her wedding dress (other than for fittings) before the day of the wedding. If she does the marriage is said to be at risk of cancellation.

- Purchasing the engagement ring and the wedding band at the same time is considered bad luck.

- Wearing your wedding band before the ceremony is bad luck.

- Dropping the wedding band during the ceremony will doom the marriage to failure.

- A bride should never wear the colour green on her wedding day.

- A bride should throw away all of the pins from her dress and veil to avert bad luck.

- It is good luck to find a spider in your wedding dress

- It will bring prosperity to the marriage for the bride to have a coin in her left shoe.

- Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. A bride should have all these to ensure a happy marriage.

- Before she leaves the house, a bride should feed the family cat (if there is one) and look at herself, just once in a full length mirror.

- It is good luck for a bride to encounter a lamb or a dove on her trip to the church.

- On the way to the wedding, it is unlucky to pass an open grave, cross running water, or encounter a blind or cross-eyed person.

- It is important that both the bride and the groom step into the church on their right foot.

- A groom should give alms to a poor person on the way to the church and the bride give alms to a poor person on the way from the church.

- The bride usually throws her bouquet over her shoulder as she departs the reception. The young woman who catches it is said to be the next to marry.

- Brides are often carried over the threshold of their new homes as it is unlucky to enter on the left foot, and unluckier still to trip when entering.

- Do not wear green to a wedding, it will bring misfortune to the couple.

- It is bad luck to wear black to a wedding, black being the colour of death & funerals.

- Marrying a man who's surname starts with the same letter as yours is said to be unlucky.

- The spouse that falls asleep first, is believed to be the one who will die first,


- Wishes made on the first star seen of an evening are said to come true.

- If you make a wish and blow all of the candles on your birthday cake out in one breath, the wish is said to come true.

- Falling stars are favourite things to make wishes on.
1 - Dont pass salt (it passes bad luck);

2 - Having an elephant ornament facing your door drives away evil spirits;

3 - New shoes on a table (bad luck);

4 - Walking under scaffolding (I don't know why but it freaks me out - I think its either bad luck or something will fall on me);

5 - If you masturbate hair will grow on the hand you use;

6 - Having sex standing up is a form of contraception (NO! It isn't :P)

7 - Walking under a ladder is bad luck;

8 - If the cows are laying down it will rain;

9 - An itchy nose means a surprise;

10 - Burning ears mean there is someone talking about you behind your back.

From this website:

PLEASE JUST give me a answer
Superstition (Latin superstes, "standing over", "set above") is a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge. The word is often used pejoratively to refer to supposedly irrational beliefs of others, and its precise meaning is therefore subjective. It is commonly applied to beliefs and practices surrounding luck, prophecy and spiritual beings.

The End of the World (apocalypse)

Is the world going to end tomorrow?

The fact is that the Earth has been here for a long, long, very long time. For it to end would take an amount of energy difficult to calculate. Humans on the other hand have inhabited the planet Earth for a relatively short period of time, say a million years or so. That being said, in the entire history of the planet, more than 95% of the species that have ever inhabited the planet no longer exist. That being said, the world of humans could end tomorrow, or it could end in another million years.

Central America

What are some superstitions in Latin America?

Please see the related link below.


What do you do when you spill salt?

You either clean it up or you superstitiously throw it over your left shoulder. maybe whilst yelling out a chant, though the throwing is for the most part sufficient.

Care of Rabbits

Is rabbit a good sign in home are not?

They are a good sign, if you believe in the superstition.


Is that true that singing while cooking ends up marrying a widower?

No, it's just a folk tale. Singing while cooking wont affect ANYTHING to do with your love life!!

No, but if you whistle while you twerk, you can make some serious cash


Copyright © 2020 Multiply Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. The material on this site can not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Multiply.