Superstitions: Are They Just Old Wives Tales?

By | January 24, 2019

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A black cat crosses the path of Chicago Cubs player Ron Santo as he waits his turn at bat in a crucial game against the New York Mets. The Cubs went on to lose this game and the pennant after having a 9 game lead. Source: (

Watch Out for that Black Cat!

Black cats weren’t always considered bad luck. All cats used to be revered. It was in the middle ages that it all went south for black cats. In Europe, the churches starting accusing people of being witches. It was believed that witches could shape-shift into black cats in order to move about freely during the night. There is a legend about a father and son, walking home late at night and saw a black cat cross their path. The boy threw a rock at the cat and hit it on the left leg. The cat, hurt, gave out a shriek and ran to a house belonging to a suspected witch. The next day, the father and son saw the woman and she was limping on her left leg! That sealed the deal for this poor woman, as the townspeople thought this was proof she was a witch. When people began settling in America, they brought this belief with them. Even pirates believed that if a black cat walked on their ship then walked off, the ship would sink on their next voyage. Not everyone went along with this as many cultures believe cats bring good luck.

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Man walking under a ladder. Source: (

Don’t Walk Under that Ladder!

Besides the fact that it is obviously unsafe, the superstition of avoiding walking under a ladder comes from the early days of Christianity. As most Christians believe in the Holy Trinity, the number three is sacred and the triangle, with its three sides, was associated with this. A ladder up against a wall was seen as a triangle. To walk through the triangle was considered to be akin to breaking the Trinity. Anyone seen breaking the Trinity was labeled as being in league with the Devil.