Legends abound, from a story of an ancient Roman woman who happened to have opened her umbrella moments before her house collapsed, to the tale of a British prince who accepted two umbrellas from a visiting king and died within months. Many superstitions stem from the same human trait that causes us to believe in monsters and ghosts: When our brains can't explain something, we make stuff up. Legend has it that first-century Romans used to fight over dried wishbones — which they believed were good luck — and would accidentally break them, ushering in the idea that whoever has the largest bit of bone gets their wish. Top Doomsday Fears], This phrase is almost like a verbal talisman, designed to ward off bad luck after tempting fate: "Breaking that mirror didn't bring me any trouble, knock on wood.".
Lovelorn travelers can visit the Casa di Giulietta, the 14th century home turned museum that is said to have inspired Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," and leave their letters for Juliet. The water is thought to be lucky because it represents fluidity and motion. But one theory holds that this superstition arises from a Christian belief in the Holy Trinity: Since a ladder leaning against a wall forms a triangle, "breaking" that triangle was blasphemous. What Really Scares People: Top 10 Phobias, 13 Superstitions and Traditions Explained, 13 Strange Things That Happened on Friday the 13th.

Bird bones have also been used in divination throughout history, with a supposed soothsayer throwing the bones and reading their patterns to predict the future. The consecration of Jumada and plants.

If you are superstitious, you can't leave the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul without doing this one thing. The exact origin of this morbid superstition is unclear, although our guess is that most people would rather not risk it. Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, They have their origin in illiteracy, i.e. 5.

In fact, a 2010 study found that superstitions can sometimes work, because believing in something can improve performance on a task.
This affected people’s views on everything from religion to treating illnesses. Subscribe to our daily newsletter to get more of it. The superstition seems to arise from the belief that mirrors don't just reflect your image; they hold bits of your soul. Three sixes in a row is probably the numeric equivalent of the Hebrew letters for the first-century Roman Emperor Nero. And it would come as no surprise if many among us hold at least some fear of freaky Friday, as we humans are a superstitious lot. Most likely, this superstition arises from old beliefs in witches and their animal familiars, which were often said to take the form of domestic animals like cats.