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Unusual, unique, and uncommon facts about a diversity of subjects:

Superstitions:
old wives tales, folklore, bizarre beliefs,
taboos, omens, lucky & unlucky things

 

Superstition A to L includes Friday the Thirteenth

 

Superstition M to Z

 

Death Superstition

 

Dreams : Meanings & Superstitions

 

Wedding Superstition

 

Superstitions A - L

ACORN

An acorn should be carried to bring luck and ensure a long life.
  An acorn at the window will keep lightning out

AMBER

Amber beads, worn as a necklace, can protect against illness or cure colds. 
AMBULANCE
Seeing an ambulance is very unlucky unless you pinch your nose or hold your breath until you see a black or a brown dog.
  Touch your toes
Touch your nose
Never go in one of those
Until you see a dog.
APPLE
Think of five or six names of boys or girls you might marry, As you twist the stem of an apple, recite the names until the stem comes off. You will marry the person whose name you were saying when the stem fell off.

 

An apple a day
Keeps the doctor away.
  If you cut an apple in half and count how many seeds are inside, you will also know how many children you will have.

BABY

To predict the sex of a baby: Suspend a wedding band held by a piece of thread over the palm of the pregnant girl. If the ring swings in an oval or circular motion the baby will be a girl. If the ring swings in a straight line the baby will be a boy.

BASEBALL BAT

Spit on a new bat before using it for the first time to make it lucky

BED

It's bad luck to put a hat on a bed.
  If you make a bedspread, or a quilt, be sure to finish it or marriage will never come to you
  Placing a bed facing north and south brings misfortune.
  You must get out of bed on the same side that you get in or you will have bad luck.
  When making the bed, don't interrupt your work, or you will spend a restless night in it.

BEE

If a bee enters your home, it's a sign that you will soon have a visitor. If you kill the bee, you will have bad luck, or the visitor will be unpleasant.
  A swarm of bees settling on a roof is an omen that the house will burn down.

BELL

The sound of bells drives away demons because they're afraid of the loud noise.
  When a bell rings, a new angel has received his wings.

BIRD

A bird in the house is a sign of a death.
  If a robin flies into a room through a window, death will shortly follow.

BIRTH

Monday's child is fair of face;
Tuesday's child is full of grace;
Wednesday's child is full of woe;
Thursday's child has far to go;
Friday's child is loving and giving;
Saturday's child works hard for a living.
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
is fair and wise, good and gay.

BIRTHDAY CAKE

If you blow out all the candles on your birthday cake with the first puff you will get your wish.

BLARNEY STONE

The Blarney Stone is a stone set in the wall of the Blarney Castle tower in the Irish village of Blarney. Kissing the stone is supposed to bring the kisser the gift of persuasive eloquence (blarney.)

BLUE

To protect yourself from witches, wear a blue bead.
  Touch blue
And your wish
Will come true.

BREAD

Before slicing a new loaf of bread, make the sign of the cross on it.
  A loaf of bread should never be turned upside down after a slice has been cut from it.
BRIDE
Bridal & wedding superstitions

BRIDGE

If you say good-bye to a friend on a bridge, you will never see each other again.

BROOM

Do not lean a broom against a bed. The evil spirits in the broom will cast a spell on the bed.
  If you sweep trash out the door after dark, it will bring a stranger to visit.
  If someone is sweeping the floor and sweeps over your feet, you'll never get married.
  Never take a broom along when you move. Throw it out and buy a new one.
  To prevent an unwelcome guest from returning, sweep out the room they stayed in immediately after they leave.

BUTTERFLY

If the first butterfly you see in the year is white, you will have good luck all year.
  Three butterflies together mean good luck.

CANDLE

If a candle lighted as part of a ceremony blows out, it is a sign that evil spirits are nearby.
CALF
If the first calf born during the winter is white, the winter will be a bad one.

CAT

If a black cat walks towards you, it brings good fortune, but if it walks away, it takes the good luck with it.
  Keep cats away from babies because they "suck the breath" of the child.
  A cat onboard a ship is considered to bring luck.

CHEEKS

If your cheeks suddenly feel on fire, someone is talking about you.

CHILL

If you get a chill up your back or goosebumps, it means that someone is walking over your grave.

CHIMNEY SWEEP

It's very lucky to meet a chimney sweep by chance. Make a wish when sighting one, and the wish will come true.

CIGARETTES

It is bad luck to light three cigarettes with the same match.

CIRCLE

Evil spirits can't harm you when you stand inside a circle.

CLOCK

If a clock which has not been working suddenly chimes, there will be a death in the family.

CLOVER

It's good luck to find a four-leaf clover.
  Clover protects human beings and animals from the spell of magicians and the wiles of fairies, and brings good luck to those who keep it in the house.

COIN

It's bad luck to pick up a coin if it's tails side up. Good luck comes if it's heads up.

COMB

To drop a comb while you are combing your hair is a sign of a coming disappointment.
COUGH
To cure a cough: take a hair from the coughing person's head, put it between two slices of buttered bread, feed it to a dog, and say, "Eat well you hound, may you be sick and I be sound."
COW
Cows lifting their tails is a sure sign that rain is coming.

CRACK

Don't step on a crack on a sidewalk or walkway.
  Step on a crack
Break your mother's back.

CRICKET

A cricket in the house brings good luck.

COUNTING CROWS

One's bad,
Two's luck,
Three's health,
Four's wealth,
Five's sickness,
Six is death.
DANDELION
Pick a dandelion that has gone to seed. Take a deep breath and blow the seeds into the wind. Count the seeds that remain on the stem. That is the number of children you will have.
DEATH
Superstitions about death

DOG

A dog howling at night when someone in the house is sick is a bad omen.

DOOR

It's bad luck to leave a house through a different door than the one used to come into it.

DREAMS

The meaning of dreams
and dream superstitions

EARS

If your right ear itches, someone is speaking well of you.
  If your left ear itches, someone is speaking ill of you.
  Left for love and right for spite:
Left or right, good at night.

EASTER

For good luck throughout the year, wear new clothes on Easter.
ELEPHANT
Pictures of an elephant bring luck, but only if they face a door.

EYE

If your right eye twitches there will soon be a birth in the family. If the left eye twitches there will soon be a death in the family.
  To cure a sty, stand at a crossroads and recite
Sty, sty, leave my eye
Take the next one coming by.

EYELASH

If an eyelash falls out, put it on the back of the hand, make a wish and throw it over your shoulder. If it flies off the hand the wish will be granted.

FINGERNAILS

It is bad luck to cut your fingernails on Friday or Sunday.
  Fingernail cuttings should be saved, burned, or buried.

FISH

A fish should always be eaten from the head toward the tail.
  Dream of fish: someone you know is pregnant.
FISHING
Throw back the first fish you catch then you'll be lucky the whole day fishing.
  If you count the number of fish you caught, you will catch no more that day.
  It's bad luck to say the word "pig" while fishing at sea.

FLAG

It brings bad luck for a flag to touch the ground.

FLOWER

First Flower of Spring: The day you find the first flower of the season can be used as an omen:
Monday means good fortune,
Tuesday means greatest attempts will be successful,
Wednesday means marriage,
Thursday means warning of small profits,
Friday means wealth,
Saturday means misfortune,
Sunday means excellent luck for weeks.
FOOT
If the bottom of your right foot itches, you are going to take a trip.

FORK

To drop a fork means a man is coming to visit.

FRIDAY

A bed changed on Friday will bring bad dreams.
  Any ship that sails on Friday will have bad luck.
  You should never start a trip on Friday or you will meet misfortune.
  Never start to make a garment on Friday unless you can finish it the same day.
FRIDAY THE 13TH - how did Friday the thirteenth become such an unlucky day?
  fear of Friday the 13th is rooted in ancient, separate bad-luck associations with the number 13 and the day Friday. The two unlucky entities combine to make one super unlucky day.
  There is a Norse myth about 12 gods having a dinner party at Valhalla, their heaven. In walked the uninvited 13th guest, the mischievous Loki. Once there, Loki arranged for Hoder, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. Balder died and the Earth got dark. The whole Earth mourned.
  There is a Biblical reference to the unlucky number 13. Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest to the Last Supper.
  A particularly bad Friday the 13th occurred in the middle ages. On a Friday the 13th in 1306, King Philip of France arrested the revered Knights Templar and began torturing them, marking the occasion as a day of evil.
 

In ancient Rome, witches reportedly gathered in groups of 12. The 13th was believed to be the devil.

  Both Friday and the number 13 were once closely associated with capital punishment. In British tradition, Friday was the conventional day for public hangings, and there were supposedly 13 steps leading up to the noose.
  It is traditionally believed that Eve tempted Adam with the apple on a Friday. Tradition also has it that the Flood in the Bible, the confusion at the Tower of Babel, and the death of Jesus Christ all took place on Friday.
  Numerologists consider 12 a "complete" number. There are 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 apostles of Jesus. In exceeding 12 by 1, 13's association with bad luck has to do with just being a little beyond completeness.
FRIDAY THE 13TH - how is fear of the number thirteen demonstarted?
  More than 80 percent of high-rises lack a 13th floor.
  Many airports skip the 13th gate.
  Airplanes have no 13th aisle.
  Hospitals and hotels regularly have no room number 13.
  Italians omit the number 13 from their national lottery.
  On streets in Florence, Italy, the house between number 12 and 14 is addressed as 12 and a half.
  Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue
  In France, socialites known as the quatorziens (fourteeners) once made themselves available as 14th guests to keep a dinner party from an unlucky fate.
  Many triskaidekaphobes, as those who fear the unlucky integer are known, point to the ill-fated mission to the moon, Apollo 13.
  If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil's luck . Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names.

FROG

A frog brings good luck to the house it enters.
  The dried body of a frog worn in a silk bag around the neck averts epilepsy and other fits.

GOOD FRIDAY
(The Friday before Easter)

A child born on Good Friday and baptized on Easter Sunday has a gift of healing. If a boy, he should go into the ministry.
  Cut your hair on Good Friday to prevent headaches in the year to come
  A person who dies on Good Friday will go right to heaven.
  Shed no blood on Good Friday, work no wood, hammer no nail.
HAIR
Pulling out a gray or white hair will cause ten more to grow in its place.

HAND

If the palm of your right hand itches it means you will soon be getting money.
  If the palm of your left hand itches it means you will soon be paying out money.

HORSESHOE

A horseshoe, hung above the doorway, will bring good luck to a home. In most of Europe protective horseshoes are placed in a downward facing position, but in some parts of Ireland and Britain people believe that the shoes must be turned upward or "the luck will run out."
  A horseshoe hung in the bedroom will keep nightmares away.

ITCH

If your nose itches you will soon be kissed by a fool.
  If your nose itches
Your mouth is in danger.
You'll kiss a fool,
And meet a stranger.
Rub an itch to wood
It will come to good.

IVY

Ivy growing on a house protects the inhabitants from witchcraft and evil.

KNIFE

A knife as a gift from a lover means that the love will soon end.
  A knife placed under the bed during childbirth will ease the pain of labor.
  If a friend gives you a knife, you should give him a coin, or your friendship will soon be broken.
  It will cause a quarrel if knives are crossed at the table.
  It is bad luck to close a pocket knife unless you were the one who opened it.
  Knife falls, gentleman calls;
Fork falls, lady calls;
Spoon falls, baby calls.
KNITTING
It's bad luck to leave a project unfinished. The intended recepient will get bad luck from the unfinished item.
  Stabbing your needles though your yarn balls brings bad luck to anyone who wears something made from that yarn.
  Don't knit a pair of socks for your boyfriend or he'll walk away from you.
  If you knit one of your own hairs into a garment, it will bind the recipient to you.
  Knitting for children you may have in the future, but before you are pregnant, is bad luck (it may prevent one from getting pregnant, or bring ill health to the baby).

LADDER

It is bad luck to walk under a ladder.

LADYBUG

If a young girl catches a ladybug and then releases it, the direction in which it flies away will be the direction from which her future husband will come.
  It is bad luck to kill a ladybug.
  Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home.
Your house is on fire,
Your children all roam.

LEAF

If you catch a falling leaf on the first day of autumn you will not catch a cold all winter.

LETTUCE

Lettuce is believed to have magical and healing properties, including the power to arouse love and counteract the effects of wine.
  Lettuce promotes child bearing if eaten by young women, and certain types of salad can bring on labor in pregnant women.

LIE

Cross my heart and hope to die,
Cut my throat if I tell a lie.

LIZARD

To dream of a lizard is a sign that you have a secret enemy.

 

Superstition A to L includes Friday the Thirteenth

 

Superstition M to Z

 

Death Superstition

 

Dreams : Meanings & Superstitions

 

Wedding Superstition

 

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recommended:
cassell's dictionary of superstitions
Cassell's Dictionary of Superstitions

101 american superstitions
101 American Superstitions : Understanding Language and Culture through Superstitions

sheer superstition: outmaneuvering fate
Sheer Superstition: Outmaneuvering Fate

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Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century

dictionary of omens and superstitions
Dictionary of Omens and Superstitions

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Curious Customs and Bizarre Beliefs Around the World

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Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time

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