Superstition

James_H

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#1
Are you a superstitious person? Do you follow any particular superstitions? Any reason for it? Do you actually believe it, or is it just a habit?

I spit whenever I see single magpies (I'm aware that spitting in public is disgusting). I don't believe that anything specific will happen if I don't, although I do tend to become a bit anxious for no reason and get a feeling of forboding.

I remember reading an article about how superstitious people were stupid, according to some study (and feeling quite affronted) - does anyone have any information on this?

Any other information on the subject is welcome.
 

Leaferne

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#2
Although my rational mind (and I do have one...somewhere) tells me there's nothing to it, I still can't open an umbrella indoors or spill salt without chucking some over my left shoulder. I think the discomfort that surrounds breaking either of these self-imposed rules is as significant as whatever evil I'm supposed to be preventing with my observances.
 

escargot

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#3
I pride myself on not being superstitious but still have to force myself to walk under ladders.
 

Stormkhan

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#4
A lot of superstitions are actually common sense in disguise.
Walking under ladders - the hazards of dropped objects.
Leaving scissors open - danger of cutting accident.
Whistling on the stage - old habits die hard, even when sailors no longer do the rigging in theatres.
Most are inherited, distorted memories of old rituals and social conventions.

I'm not very superstitious but I've found if I "daydream" about something I look forward to, it doesn't happen or something goes wrong. So, as odd as it sounds, I try not to think about something I want to happen ...
:confused:
 

SniperK2

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#5
Not really superstitious, but I am very concious of not ' tempting fate ', of saying something along the lines of ' well, that ( insert whatever ) hasn't happened to me/them yet, ' in case ' fate ' puts the finger up at me.
Since I was chased out of the house like a stray chicken at the age of 5, by my mother and grandmother, for bringing May blossom into the house ( I vaguely think it was something to do with death? ) I have also avoided that, as I was so shocked that it left a very big impression on my little brain.
And new shoes on the table. I have no idea why that's unlucky, but it was a big taboo when I was growing up.
 
A

Anonymous

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#6
The only superstition I have is to knock on wood whenever I say something that I don't want to happen to me, although it unfortunately doesn't always work.
However, this made me think of the movie Drugstore Cowboy. If you haven't seen it superstition plays a big part in the characters lives, especially Matt Dillion's character. Apparently the biggest no-no anyone can do is place a hat on a bed. I've never heard of this superstition. Has anyone ever heard of this and if so do you know why it is supposed to be so bad? In the movie he says something to the effect of if he sees a hat on a bed he'll just start walking and never come back to that house or town again.
 

decipheringscars

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#7
Lethe said:
Not really superstitious, but I am very concious of not ' tempting fate ', of saying something along the lines of ' well, that ( insert whatever ) hasn't happened to me/them yet, ' in case ' fate ' puts the finger up at me.
...

And new shoes on the table. I have no idea why that's unlucky, but it was a big taboo when I was growing up.
Old shoes on the table are OK, though?:eek!!!!:

re: the 1st paragraph, I remember that in my early teens I remarked that I'd never been in a major accident before. Or, come to think of it, broken a bone. Or stayed in the hospital. Or had surgery.

Well, when I was 14 (IIRC not too long after saying such things) I was in a car accident that broke my femur and required surgery and a hospital stay!

Happily, it was a nice clean break and healed well. And I'm not superstitious (isn't that always the disclaimer)...
 

Imperial_Call

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#8
highvoltage said:
However, this made me think of the movie Drugstore Cowboy. If you haven't seen it superstition plays a big part in the characters lives, especially Matt Dillion's character. Apparently the biggest no-no anyone can do is place a hat on a bed. I've never heard of this superstition. Has anyone ever heard of this and if so do you know why it is supposed to be so bad? In the movie he says something to the effect of if he sees a hat on a bed he'll just start walking and never come back to that house or town again.
I think it relates to an old tradition of placing a dead person's hat on their bed when they've been "laid out" after they died. Putting someone's hat on a bed was considered to be bad luck as it "foretold" the hat owner's soon-to-be death
 

carole

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#9
I'm quite supersitious, even though I know there's nothing in it . . .

  • Never put shoes on a table
  • Never wear red and green together
  • Don't walk under ladders
  • Don't wear green on a Monday

to name but a few . . .

Oh, and I always pick up a pin if I see one lying on the ground.

Carole
 
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Anonymous

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#10
I wouldn't say I'm superstitious. Just eccentric ;)

It's not that I believe certain things cause bad luck; I just have certain things I don't like.

I salute magpies.
I throw salt over my left shoulder.
I don't like shoes on the table - at all
I don't like crossed cutlery.
I don't like slammed doors.
I don't like Welcome mats, as I'm rather particular about who I invite into my home.
I don't like peacock feathers.
I'm aware that Opals are bad luck. So are emeralds in certain circumstances.

Walking under a ladder doesn't bother me, unless someone is up it. Opening an umbrella indoors doesn't bother me either.

A lot of the superstitions I adhere to are simply me being awkward, I'm afraid. I like traditions, so I like keeping them alive.

Mind you, I'm quite serious about the Welcome mat.
 

escargot

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#11
We've had this subject before but I have no problems about repeating myself.

Angels. :eek!!!!:
You fools who dress your kids up in old white sheets and tinsel for the xmas play, don't you know you're marking them out for DEATH??

Angels are (according to my Methodist upbringing) dead people.

Letting kids play angels is TEMPTING FATE.

Don't do it, 'rents. :(
 

carole

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#12
A jeweller I know tells me that opals are considered unlucky because they are quite fragile and easily chipped or shattered.

When I was in hospital having my twins, one of the sisters asked me if she could take a yellow flower from one of my vases to put in a bouquet of one of the other patients, who'd been given a bunch of red and white flowers.

Red and white = blood and bandages, apparently. I think that supersition comes from the time of the first world war.

Carole
 

SniperK2

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#13
Ah Peacock feathers! I'd forgotten that. My friend had a fan of peacock feathers which I thought was very beautiful when I was young and often admired. My friend was quite a lucky person, but whenever I was at her house and playing with the thing, afterwards things often went a bit pear shaped for me. When I mentioned it to my grandmother she said that the feathers were unlucky and that the shape on them had always represented the ' Evil Eye '. So I left it alone.
I think opals are beautiful stones, and if I was lucky enough to have any jewellry given to me bearing opals I think I'd wear it, regardless of superstition - until something bad happened :D
 
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Anonymous

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#14
Ah yes! Blood and bandages. That's another of mine.

And stepping in fairy rings.

Emeralds are considered unlucky for the same reason as opals, although they are also green, of course.

And saying 'thank you' if someone says 'bless you' after sneezing. That kills fairies, that does :D. Mind you, if you believe in the kind of fairies I believe in, you really don't want to be stepping in any fairy rings, and you really don't mind some of them dying!
 
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Anonymous

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#15
More habits that superstition really, but I don't walk under ladders, I salute magpies, if I spill salt I throw it behind my shoulder, don't open umbrellas indoors, and when performing it's break a leg not good luck. Oh, and it's the Scottish Play too.
 

strangefruit

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#17
The Magpie thing......do people just salute them or do you say something too?

I always thought you had to say "Hello Mr Magpie, how are your wife and children" or "Hello Major, I hope you are well".......Even when walking down a busy street I still mutter this, under my breath of course, and salute (usually by scratching my temple and then flicking my wrist out to look at my watch....)

Is it just me?????

Im superstitious about taps too. Every night before I go to bed I have to check to make sure none are dripping, only in the bathroom though. I think this may have something to do with obsessive compulsive disorder........do you think?
 

lemonpie3

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#18
I didn't know about saluting to magpies but I usually say Hello Mr Magpie just to be on the safe side. But like Strangefruit, I say it very very quietly and without moving my mouth.

In fact it probably sounds like uh-uh uh-fuh uh-huh, but it makes me feel better ok?
 

wembley8

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#22
"I think this may have something to do with obsessive compulsive disorder........do you think?"

The whole superstition thing appears to be the same as obsessive-compulsive: performing ritual acts to give yourself an illusion of control.

The human/magpie one is interesting though: what species are unlucky for other species? Do rabbits salute dragonflies, are giraffes unlucky for kangaroos...?
 

Melf

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#23
re:- the "bad fortune" concerning opals

was iirc spread around by the diamond mine owners, who saw that opals were becoming more popular than diamonds
 

Kondoru

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#24
I always thought it was because they are delicate stones and shrink and expand with the heat.

if the stone is not set by a person experienced with opals and their habits, you may lose it.

I like opals and other colourful stones such as agate and tigereye myself.


and peafowl.
 
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Anonymous

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#25
Wembley said:
The human/magpie one is interesting though
I think I read somewhere that it has something to do with their light fingered (beaked?) habits and burial sights, hence a whole supernatural reputation building up. But now that I write it it does sound a bit weak.
 
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Anonymous

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#26
I was always given to understand that you only salute solitary magpies, because they mate for life; so a magpie alone means it's been widowed, hence the bad luck.

Also, according to some legends, Merlin was transformed into one. Or Arthur.

And they look like funeral directors.
 
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Anonymous

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#27
yeah, one for sorrow, two for joy kinda thing.

I seem to recognise the Merlin transformation.
 

strangefruit

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#28
Thats where the "Hows your wife and children" bit comes into it. Perhaps to make it think you didnt know it had been widowed....maybe....I dont know!
 

bugmum

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#29
I can walk under ladders if I've got my fingers crossed.

No new shoes on the table.

BUT...after years with my husband, I can now leave an umbrella open in the hall to dry out, and I don't feel the need to pinch and punch on the first day of the month anymore.

Opals, have no problem with those; my mum, who touched her collarbone every time she saw an ambulance, loved opals and wore them a lot. Since I inherited those, it'd be a shame not to wear them. And although emeralds have a bit of a reputation, what does that mean for those of us born in May, who got landed with emeralds as a birthstone?

There's a thought - since May is an unlucky month for weddings, and may flowers can be unlucky, perhaps emeralds were either assigned to May because they were unlucky too, or stigmatised by the connection?
 
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Anonymous

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#30
I love these quirkies, but am not prey myself.

Having debated with many of you on numerous issues and knowing healthy skepticism to exist here, I must honestly ask, do any of you really believe that your response to these things, be it saluting magpies or driving may blossom from your abode, has any effect whatsoever, and if so explain how?

LD
 
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