Do you knock on wood when you say something presumptuous, or get goosebumps when you see a broken mirror?
If so, you’re not alone.
We asked callers to phone in with their superstitions, and here’s what they shared:
- Friday the 13th, step on a crack and you’ll break your mother’s back
- Opening a door when somebody sneezes
- Opening a can upside down when at sea is absolutely forbidden
- If you say a tractor pulling hay, you make a wish, but then you can’t turn around and look at the hay on the tractor or else the wish won’t come true
Like a real-world Dana Scully of The X-Files, Radford investigates fringe, paranormal, and unexplained phenomenon using science, reason, and an open mind.
He says many superstitions are actually just common sense.
“Even aside from bad luck and curses, there are some superstitions that are just generally good advice, regardless of any sort of supernatural connotations to them.”
The broken mirror and seven years bad luck curse
Radford says there all sorts of fascinating omens and superstitions regarding mirrors because they have powerful symbolism attached to them.
“You see this throughout folklore, in the case of the mirror specifically, before modern mirrors and the silvering of glass, essentially the only place you’d see a true reflection of yourself was, for example, in a still pool or a pond. And so when people saw this immediate, accurate reflection of themselves, it seemed divine. It seemed given from Gods…so the notion is that is you break a perfect image, that’s essentially defying the Gods.”
And that brings the wrath of the Gods, and seven years bad luck.
Radford says its not unusual for people to engage in superstitious rituals, even when they don’t believe in them. Avoiding a black cat, not walking under ladders, or throwing spilled salt over your shoulder, are all activities that don’t cost us anything, many people do these things even without really believing in them.