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Really strange superstitions...


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#1 arawa

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 06:00 AM

I didn't know where else to post this, but I'm hoping this is the right place  :)

I was brought up in the UK, with some superstitions (thanks to my Mother) that not many other people I've met seem to know of, I was wondering if anyone here could shed some light on them - is there a reason for these?

The two ones noone ever seems to have heard of were

"Putting shoes on the table is bad luck"

and "Saying thank-you after someone says "bless you" (after you sneeze) is bad luck"

Anyone got any other weird ones. or reasons as to why these two particular things were such bad luck?

#2 mellilotflower

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 06:24 AM

I've heard of both of those, though I don't follow the thankyou one I'll never put new shoes on the table.

One of my favourites is throwing spilled salt over the left shoulder to hit the devil in the eye... it's just so silly!

And I've never been able to work out, is a black cat across your path lucky or unlucky?

The point which I should first wish to understand is whether the pious or holy is beloved by the gods because it is holy, or holy because it is beloved of the gods.

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#3 hunnyfire

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 06:41 AM

I heard that if a black cat does cross your path, it is bad luck.

Or if a window breaks, you will have 7 years of bad luck.

Or if you cutt between a pole, you will have bad luck.
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#4 whispers_of_fire

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 08:12 AM

Hawk, I've never heard of either

LOL, Mel, salt's a cleanser and purifier and you have to remember that at the time it originated bad luck was attributed to demons.

My own fave is walking under a ladder, now when a ladder's against a wall, the shadow forms a triangle, the triangle's
symbolic of the Christian Trinity and to walk beneath it...to break up that Triangle is the worst of bad luck. Personally, I think it has more to do with a 300# carpenter landing on the person
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#5 mellilotflower

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 10:51 AM

See, I always found too much sense in the ladder thing, mainly because I saw how easy it was for someone to drop things on your head from that position... thanks for the explanation, of both the ladder and the salt...

The point which I should first wish to understand is whether the pious or holy is beloved by the gods because it is holy, or holy because it is beloved of the gods.

Sonnet XCIVBut if that flower with base infection meet,The basest weed outbraves his dignity:For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds

#6 MoonChild

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 10:56 AM

See, I always found too much sense in the ladder thing, mainly because I saw how easy it was for someone to drop things on your head from that position... thanks for the explanation, of both the ladder and the salt...


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I won't come near the ladder if you are on, Mell :)
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#7 mellilotflower

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 11:43 AM

Hey! I'm not that clumsy... honest- just a little cruel sometimes

The point which I should first wish to understand is whether the pious or holy is beloved by the gods because it is holy, or holy because it is beloved of the gods.

Sonnet XCIVBut if that flower with base infection meet,The basest weed outbraves his dignity:For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds

#8 NocturnalCantaloupe

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 12:12 PM

Honesty can be the most brutal of cruelties at times.  I love it!

I like the shoes on the table one.  I think that goes along with putting things like hats and socks on the table (or feet for that matter).  Probably becuase it is considered poor form.
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#9 trudy_causey

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 07:53 PM

I have heard of 7 years bad luck for breaking a mirror but not a window, and every time I have had a black cat cross my path especially driving a car something has always happened.

#10 Guest_Ghostbuter20_*

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Posted 17 July 2004 - 07:50 AM

If you open an umbrella indoors-bad luck
I think with the broken mirror one, however many shards is breaks into is how many years of bad luck you'll have. Could the bad luck from walking under the ladder have been made up that way to prevent people from getting hurt? Sounds a littl too convenient for me.
The bad luck with the shoes-to keep people from putting their feet or anything associated with the feet, on the table, because that's just nasty. Could these 'bad luck' things have been made to keep people from doing stuff?  

#11 trudy_causey

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Posted 17 July 2004 - 08:13 PM

I have a book on superstitions and under shoes there's nothing there about putting shoes on a table.here goes for the ladder. a ladder leaned against a wall completes a triangle with the wall and the ground. The triangle is said to be the sign of the Holy Trinity, so anyone who walks straight through it is showing disrespect for God and possibly sympathy with the Devil.

#12 whispers_of_fire

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 08:28 PM

No worries, Mel ;D

I think a lot of them have religious connotations, possibly dating back to the Middle Ages where anything bad was attributed to the workings of the Devil or a demon, another thing I find interesting was rhymes we learned as children that refer to the plague outbreak, "Ring around the rosey (Refers, I think, to the rash that was one of the early signs of plague) a pocket full of posies<posies were thought to ward off the plague>Ashes! Ashes! They all fall down" (Possibly due to the fever that was one of the last symptoms or the fact that plague victims were burned)

Kind of a maverick thought, guys, is a superstition a learned behavior? In Classic conditioning a gentleman named BF Skinner created a multi-level box called the Skinner box, the box was designed as a set of increasingly difficult tests for small animals and birds, on a simple level, a rat presses a bar and a food pellet is dispensed, whereas on a more complicated level, the rat only gets the reinforcer if the bar is pressed and an overhead light is green. In many trials the rats would exhibit seemingly bizarre behavior, spinning, jumping, acts that they had exhibited when the reinforcer criterion was less demanding,
was this the ratly equivalent of lucky boxers?
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#13 arawa

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Posted 19 July 2004 - 07:46 AM

Thats a really interesting question - I know my Mother for one would go insane if you left shoes on the table (any shows, not just new ones) and I tend to do the same without even thinking - my poor husband swears I'm making superstitions up as I go along :)

Perhaps there is some sort of "conditioned" response to superstitions - I know that people who have had "bad days" on Friday 13ths seem to be very much more aware of any future Friday 13ths, much the same as I'm down to two colors of hairband I can wear at work, because the other colors are obviously responisble for me having horrible days, rather than my job :P

#14 Guest_Ghostbuter20_*

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Posted 20 July 2004 - 07:15 AM

What's a posie?

#15 arawa

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Posted 20 July 2004 - 07:36 AM

A small bunch of flowers.




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