You probably think that superstitions are a lot of “bunk.” On the other hand, maybe you wouldn’t dare challenge the world of the “unknown”— just in case.
Well, keep in mind the obtuse logic of old-time scaaarrry actor, Bela Lugosi, who died on Friday the 13th in 1956. Bela said: “Don’t forget ... it’s bad luck to be superstitious!”
Thanks for that elliptical thought Bela. And by the way, I’ll never forgive you for Plan 9 from Outer Space, which is generally considered to be one of the worst movies ever made.
The year 2012 offers us two Friday the 13th occasions — in April and again in July. Some will scoff, while others will take these days very seriously, depending on their point of view. Let’s do a little superstition digging and see what we unearth.
Friday the 13th
The fear of Fridays is known in “phobia” circles as friggaphobia. The fear of the number 13 is triskaidekaphobia. Put them together and some people get very nervous about that particular day.
Why is it supposed to be so unlucky? Some of this wariness may have its roots in the Bible. Christ was crucified on Friday and the No. 13 is said to be unlucky because there were 13 present at the Last Supper, including Judas, the betrayer of Christ.
Thirteen also gets low marks as it’s believed that Eve slipped Adam the fateful apple on Friday the 13th. Moving forward in history, English hangings were always held on Fridays. And the gallows had 13 steps and executioners were paid 13 pence.
Other than all that, 13 is a great number. In fact, not everyone fears Fridays or the No. 13. Here’s the other point of view:
• Christopher Columbus discovered the New World on Friday the 13th.
• Arthur Lee of England loves the No. 13. His mother was born on the 13th, as were his wife, his oldest brother, his oldest brother’s wife and his wife’s father. His parents met on the 13th and their first house number was 13. Arthur and his wife moved into their first house on the 13th and it was numbered13. What a surprise, eh?
And there's more. Arthur passed his driver’s test on the 13th. He was a member of a soccer pool with 13 members who won over $2,000 by guessing the outcome of 13 matches. Ah, the luck of good old 13.
• Charles Ludwig of Pennsylvania was born on the 13th and the number crossed his path endlessly after that. He went into the army on the 13th and then a month later was married on the 13th. Later in life, he was fire dispatcher No.13, his street number was 10-13, his telephone number ended in 13 and, in case you didn't notice, his name has 13 letters.
How about the No. 7?
• Seven is supposed to be lucky. It emerged through history with such a great reputation while good/bad 13 gets all the negative press. Let’s see why:
• Seven could be lucky because of the moon. Every seven days, the moon goes through a new phase. The ancients saw great significance in this pattern and from it emerged our seven-day week.
• The ancient Egyptians saw the earth as a four-sided house with three gods living inside, resulting in another significant seven.
• Then, there is “seventh heaven.” An old Islamic belief says that there are seven heavens, one on top of the other. To reach all the way to “seventh heaven” was good luck, indeed!
• The Romans liked seven partly because of their theory that the human mind and body were renewed every seven years.
Is it bad luck to break a mirror?
Even before mirrors, it was believed that you were seeing your soul when you saw your reflection in metal or water. If the image was distorted, for example, by a ripple on the water, this meant that your soul would be troubled. When mirrors came on the scene, it naturally followed that anyone who broke a mirror image was in for bad times ahead.
Then, because of the “seven-year mind and body renewal theory” mentioned earlier, the Romans decreed a specific time span of seven years bad luck if you broke a mirror.
Would you walk under a ladder?
You’re walking along and right in your path there is a ladder leaning against a building. Would you walk under it without even thinking? Probably not. Maybe this one is considered unlucky simply because you might get a falling hammer or a can of paint on the noggin. Just makes good sense to be cautious, right? Or, maybe it goes deeper than that.
In the old days, people had other reasons to avoid walking under a ladder. A ladder against a wall formed a triangle, which was considered a sacred shape — the symbol of life. They felt that by walking through the triangle, you broke the symbol of life and thus put your own life in danger. Don’t forget about the falling hammer or paint danger.