The Evil Side of Superstitions
Throughout history, many odd customs regarding the supernatural have developed.
These customs became commonly known as superstitions originating through Post Hoc
Reasoning. This reasoning is false conclusions that since one event followed another; the
first caused the second. It is human nature to use this type of logic, so it results in so
many different superstitions. Most superstitions regard lucky objects and practices, but
it goes both ways.
Mirrors are one of the most common items of unlucky superstition. Early humans thought
that their image reflected in the water was that of their souls. If they could see this,
then the demons could, and might take it. Legend also says that if one looks into a mirror
for too long that they will see the devil (Hughes, 23). Breaking one brings about the
worst of lucks. Magicians formally used them for their pernicious purposes, and if one
shatters this magical object, then it could unleash hell (Opie, 249). As to the
"seven years bad luck", seven is rooted from the stalwart numbers three and
four. Three is a symbol for the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. There are four main
directions in which everything goes: north, east, south, and west (Cohen, 9). Combined,
these two numbers are very potent.
Owls, crows, and ravens are birds of ill omen. Owls have frightened the superstitious
since the days of early Egypt. They are notorious symbols of mourning and death (Hughes,
31). Crows are ravens are ominous as well. They have been depicted in many literary works
as caliginous. Ravens are most infamous in Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven. If seen around,
someone will die (Opie, 111).
An occult and apocalyptic action is whistling. Europeans favor this superstition more than
Americans do. On land, it is said that uncompassionate women whistled while workmen were
forging nails for Christ's crucifixion (Hughes, 43). Another such belief about women
whistling is that if she does, then the devil will appear (Opie, 442). These two
superstitions make this a terrible sound to make for a woman. On the high seas, another
superstition takes form. Whistling upon the water induces winds (Opie, 441). Even when a
wind is needed, a sailor won't take the risk of whistling in fear of bringing too puissant
of a wind.
Friday the thirteenth, just saying it brings to mind numerous horror flicks. Both 'Friday'
and 'thirteen' ate extremely unlucky, together, diabolical. Good Friday, the Friday before
Christ's crucifixion, is considered one of the worst days in Christian history. This
superstition dates back to that first Good Friday, and Friday has never been the same
since. Thirteen is also catastrophic for religious reasons. At the Last Supper, thirteen
men dined with Christ at the table. The thirteenth was Judas Iscariat (Opie, 377). Even
today, this superstition prevails. Rows are disguised as rows AA and BB, fourteen people
sit at a table, and skyscrapers don't have a thirteenth floor (Hughes, 45).
All beings of supernatural status are superstitions. They are just a way to blame others
for unexplainable events, Post Hoc Reasoning. A witch was a good thing until the 16th
century. Then, it began to characterize these people as someone who made a pact with the
devil (Cohen, 68). In ancient times, a witch engaged in supernatural activities (Cohen,
68). According to some, witches could control weather, other people, and tell the future.
If one needed to find a witch who killed a beast, then one would take the beast's heart
out and stick it with pins. This done, and the witch would be found (Opie, 195). Once you
found this witch, her trial would be by water. If she floats, then a magical aide is
helping her. If she sinks, then she is innocent. Although by then, she may have drowned
(Cohen, 70). It didn't help that the witch was tied with their knees to their chests,
making it easier to float. The whole witch thing sounds insane and unreal today, but many
believed in it long ago.
Superstitions are just ways to blame coincidences on completely unrelated happenings.
There is no evidence that they are true. Luck itself is a mere figment of one's
imagination. Superstition is how a person conceives the answer of problems to be. One
could be superstitious or not, it is all in the mind.
Opie, Iona and Moira Tatem. A Dictionary of Superstitions. Oxford: Oxford University
Hughes, Mary. Popular Superstitions. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 1999