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Psychologists who have investigated what role superstitions play, have found that they derive from the assumption that a connection exists between co-occurring, non-related events. For instance, the notion that charms promote good luck, or protect you from bad luck. For many people, engaging with superstitious behaviours provides a sense of control and reduces anxiety — which is why levels of superstition increase at times of stress and angst.

This is particularly the case during times of economic crisis and social uncertainty — notably wars and conflicts.

10 most popular superstitions in the U.S.

Indeed, Researchers have observed how in Germany between and measures of economic threat correlated directly with measures of superstition. Superstitious beliefs have been shown to help promote a positive mental attitude. Although they can lead to irrational decisions, such as trusting in the merits of good luck and destiny rather than sound decision making. Carrying charms, wearing certain clothes, visiting places associated with good fortune, preferring specific colours and using particular numbers are all elements of superstition. And although these behaviours and actions can appear trivial, for some people, they can often affect choices made in the real world.

Superstitions can also give rise to the notion that objects and places are cursed.

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Such as the Annabelle the Doll — who featured in The Conjuring and two other movies — and is said to be inhabited by the spirit of a dead girl. A more traditional illustration is the Curse of the Pharaohs , which is said to be cast upon any person who disturbs the mummy of an Ancient Egyptian person — especially a pharaoh. Numbers themselves can also often be associated with curses. For example, the figure in a licence plate is often featured in stories of misfortune.

Superstition is also highly prevalent within sport — especially in highly competitive situations. Four out of five professional athletes report engaging with at least one superstitious behaviour prior to performance. Within sport, superstitions have been shown to reduce tension and provide a sense of control over unpredictable, chance factors. This common superstition still exists: around Halloween, certain animal shelters and rescue groups will not allow anyone to adopt black cats, in fear of the ill intentions of certain occult groups.

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The Origin Of The Most Popular Superstitions

Briana Jones is a freelance writer, screenwriter, and artist roaming the hot sands of the southwest. She enjoys the strange and unusual, and green tea.

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Previous Post. By the time it was possible to manufacture mirrors inexpensively, the superstition had already solidified into the cultures and exists even today.

There are numerous theories in history that indicate the tradition of crossing fingers for good luck can be traced back to as far as the 14th century. Crosses were a symbol of unity and power in the pre-Christian era. The middle portion of the cross signified everything good, so people used to make wishes on the mid-intersection of the cross.

This tradition over time evolved into just crossing fingers between two people. This would solidify the wish. Later, this further evolved to one person crossing his fingers to make a wish. An archer would cross the same two fingers that he would use on the bow to wish for good luck at the war.

An alternate theory cites the early Christian era when several practitioners were tyrannized for their beliefs. In order to recognize fellow Christians, people created a sequence of hand gestures, one of which was making the sign of the cross. But there is no evidence that this custom led to fingers being crossed for luck.

The origin of this very common superstition is believed to date back to the Pagan era. It was believed that the deities lived in trees. Touching a wooden surface would acknowledge them and ensure that you get their protection during misfortunate events. It was also believed to be a thankful gesture to the deities for bringing good luck. In Irish culture, touching wood is seen as a thankful gesture to leprechauns for good luck. The Greeks used to worship the oak tree as it was considered sacred to Zeus.

When Pagan beliefs were incorporated into Christian beliefs, this superstition found its way to Christianity, and knocking on wood became to be associated with the Cross.

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A Jewish version of this particular superstition takes one back to the 15th-century Spanish Inquisition. During this time, the Jews used to hide in synagogues wooden prayer buildings. They designed a specific knock code to let people in. This saved the lives of many people, and subsequently knocking on wood came to symbolize good luck. By the s, the British and the Americans had also adopted this ritual. But researchers believe that the deletion was a mere clerical error that made one of the earliest translators to miss out a line of text.

Scientists and mathematicians have always considered the number 12 as a perfect number.

Why we knock on wood, and the origins of some common superstitions - Business Insider

The Sumerians developed the number system based on 12, a day has 12 hours, most calendars constitute of 12 months, etc. The number 13, following so closely to a perfect number, started appearing unusual to people. This fear of the unusual and unknown played a role in two important historical events that strengthened the fear of the number The first event is the appearance of Judas Iscariot, the 13th guest at the Last Supper, who is the one that betrays Jesus.

Another event follows the belief that evil was introduced into the world by Loki, the god known for his mischiefs and treacherous plots. On the contrary, the Chinese and the ancient Egyptians considered the number 13 to be lucky and that it brings good fortune. The 13th stage was the eternal afterlife. Death was not seen as something to be feared, but a place of high regard for the afterlife.

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