5 of the Stupidest Superstitions

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Perhaps we’re being a bit unfair today, you might think? Perhaps it seems a bit insensitive to call a superstition stupid? Many superstitious beliefs are based on centuries of precedent or are predicated on perceived proof and/or plausibility, after all. Well, we say that when people frame their lives by superstition, basing large, potentially momentous decisions on what are essentially delusions—and this happens all the time, as we’ll demonstrate—we frankly can’t think of any other word than… stupid. Maybe moronic, idiotic or simplistic would work also. Call it what you will, but most superstitions look pretty damned foolish when put under the microscope.

5 Lighting a Smoke With a Candle

A maritime superstition has it that every time someone lights a cigar or a cigarette with the flame of a candle, somewhere a seaman will die. This belief seems to date back to either Northern Europe or Poland, and seems at least ostensibly rooted in logic. During the winter months when many sailors were on land, many turned to selling odds and ends, frequently matches. Using a candle to light your smoke thus kept a sailor from making a sale and would have him starving to death.

4 Spilling the Salt

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Did you know that the word “salary” is derived from the Latin word “salarium?” Salt was so valuable in the ancient world, thanks to its preservative properties, that any waste of it was seen as not only expensive but even as tantamount to inviting a curse on the spiller. Nice and practical for a change, eh? Another tradition holds that Judas spilled salt at the Last Supper, and we all know how that turned out. Today, with salt overly abundant, this persistent superstition lingers and has people tossing salt over their shoulders all around the globe.

3 Unlucky Numbers

Now here’s a superstition that should be based off of good old common sense: you shouldn’t walk underneath a ladder because you might get something dropped on your head, right? But that’s not the provenance of this silly belief. Instead, it dates back to Ancient Egypt, when the triangle was thought to be a sacred shape, thus walking through the triangle formed by a ladder leaning on a wall was a desecration. The notion persisted in Christian beliefs, with the triangle representing the Holy Trinity.

1 Breaking a Mirror

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