It's Friday The Thirteenth. What are your own superstitions?


Category:  News & Politics

By:  john-russell  •  2 weeks ago  •  25 comments

It's Friday The Thirteenth. What are your own superstitions?

What are your own superstitions?

Here is an article from a couple years ago about Superstition.

Is your soul safe?

The Conversation

T he number 13, black   cats , breaking mirrors, or walking under ladders, may all be things you actively avoid—if you’re anything like the   25% of people in the US   who consider themselves superstitious.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a particularly superstitious person, you probably say “bless you” when someone sneezes, just in case the devil should decide to steal their soul—as our   ancestors thought possible during a sneeze .

Superstition also explains why many buildings do not have a 13th floor—preferring to label it 14, 14A 12B or M (the 13th letter of the alphabet) on elevator button panels because of concerns about superstitious tenants. Indeed, 13% of people in one survey indicated that staying on the 13th floor of a hotel would bother them—and 9% said they   would ask for a different room .

On top of this, some airlines such as Air France and Lufthansa,   do not have a 13th row . Lufthansa also has no 17th row, because in some countries—such as Italy and Brazil—the typical unlucky number is 17 and not 13.

What is superstition?

Although there is   no single definition of superstition , it generally means a   belief in supernatural forces —such as fate—the desire to influence unpredictable factors, and a need to resolve uncertainty. In this way then, individual beliefs and experiences drive superstitions, which explains why they are generally irrational and often defy current scientific wisdom.

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.


Black cats are less likely to be adopted. Does superstition play a part?

For many people, engaging with superstitious behaviors 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. Indeed,   Researchers   have observed how in Germany between 1918 and 1940 measures of economic threat correlated directly with measures of superstition.

Touch wood

Superstitious beliefs have been shown to help promote a   positive mental attitude . But 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 colors, and using particular numbers are all elements of superstition. And although these behaviors and actions can appear trivial, for some people, they can often affect choices made in the real world.


Lucky horseshoes.

Superstitions can also give rise to the notion that objects and places are cursed. 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 666 in a license plate   is often featured in stories of misfortune. The most famous case was the numberplate “ ARK 666Y ”, which is believed to have caused mysterious vehicle fires and “bad vibes” for passengers.

Sporting superstitions

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   behavior prior to performance. Within sport, superstitions have been shown to   reduce tension   and provide a sense of control over unpredictable, chance factors.

Superstitious practices tend to vary across sports, but there are similarities. Within football, gymnastics, and athletics, for example, competitors reported praying for success, checking their appearance in a mirror and dressing well to feel better prepared. Players and athletes also engage with personalized actions and behaviors—such as wearing lucky clothes, kit, and charms.


Dayton baseball players try to bring good luck by twirling their fingers.

Famous sportspeople often display superstitious behaviors. Notably, basketball legend Michael Jordan concealed his lucky North Carolina shorts under his Chicago Bulls team kit. Similarly, the tennis legend Björn Bork reportedly wore the same brand of shirt when preparing for Wimbledon.

Rafael Nadal has an array of rituals   that he performs each time he plays. These include the manner in which he places his water bottles and taking freezing cold showers. Nadal believes these rituals help him to find focus, flow and perform well.

Walking under ladders

What all this shows is that superstitions can provide reassurance and can help to reduce anxiety in some people. But while this may well be true, research has shown that actions associated with superstitions can also become self-reinforcing—in that the behavior develops into a habit and failure to perform the ritual   can actually result in anxiety .

This is even though the actual outcome of an event or situation is still dependent on known factors rather than unknown supernatural forces; a notion consistent with the   often quoted maxim , “the harder you work (practice) the luckier you get.”

So the next time you break a mirror, see a black cat or encounter the number 13, don’t worry too much about “bad luck,” as it’s   most likely just a trick of the mind .

Neil Dagnall is a Reader in Applied Cognitive Psychology, and Ken Drinkwater is a Senior Lecturer and Researcher in Cognitive and Parapsychology at Manchester Metropolitan University. This article was originally featured on   The Conversation .


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Trout Giggles
1  Trout Giggles    2 weeks ago

My two things are hats on beds and opening an umbrella inside a building.

My grandmother was very superstitious. She believed that if you put on an article of clothing inside out and/or backwards you must leave it that way. It was bad luck to reverse it. I do think she thought it was ok to put something else on, tho. She also swept the devil out of the house at least once a week.

1.1  author  JohnRussell  replied to  Trout Giggles @1    2 weeks ago

You are against hats on beds? 

Trout Giggles
1.1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  JohnRussell @1.1    2 weeks ago

Yes, it's bad luck. What will happen if you throw a hat on a bed? I dunno. It's irrational but so are superstitions

1.1.2  author  JohnRussell  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.1.1    2 weeks ago
What will happen if you throw a hat on a bed?

Someone might sit on it. jrSmiley_82_smiley_image.gif

1.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Trout Giggles @1    2 weeks ago

Actually, Friday the 13th is a lucky day for me as I was born on a Friday the 13th.jrSmiley_82_smiley_image.gif I know when I was in the Navy, sometimes it was considered bad luck to be covered, i.e. wear a hat, indoors on military installations.

Trout Giggles
1.2.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @1.2    2 weeks ago

It was against regulations on an AF base unless you were under arms. You were required to remove your cover as soon as you entered a building. The only ones who didn't have to were the cops because they were carrying a weapon of some sort.

It was bad luck to wear a cover in front of Command at Reese AFB because the Mississippi Kites nested near the building and attacked people wearing any kind of hat

1.2.2  Ender  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @1.2    2 weeks ago

I am a 13th baby too. Except mine was a Friday night and I was born at about one in the morning so it ended up being Saturday the 13th.

I had surgery today on Fri 13. they asked me my birthday over and over and over the 13th my pre-op area was 13.

I almost want to say I was under the knife at 1300 hours Haha  but can't say for sure. The last thing I remember was the anesthesiologist saying that an injection into my iv would make me feel like it was nap time and the nurse complimented my hair. I was out quick.

1.2.3  Gsquared  replied to  Ender @1.2.2    2 weeks ago

I hope you are doing ok.

1.3  Tacos!  replied to  Trout Giggles @1    2 weeks ago
hats on beds

My mom had that one. When I was like 12, I tossed a hat on the bed and she literally screamed. She wouldn't leave the house on Friday the 13th.

2  author  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

I have to admit, if I am walking down a street and there is a ladder up against the side of a building I will walk around the ladder rather than under it. 

When the Cubs were in the World Series in 2016 I went to a local bar with some family and friends to watch games 5 , 6 and 7.  The Cubs were at the brink of elimination and we went to a new bar to change our luck. When they won game 5 we went back again for game 6 and made sure we had the same table we had for game 5 . When we went for game 7 we got there a little late and the table we wanted for luck was already taken.  We had to go to the bar manager and ask him to make the other people move so we could have the table that had brought the Cubs luck.  He agreed and we got our lucky table and we won the world series. 

Trout Giggles
2.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  JohnRussell @2    2 weeks ago

I never walk under ladders because that's just dangerous, not because it's bad luck.

I don't watch the Steelers when they are in the Super Bowl because I will bring them bad luck

Trout Giggles
3  Trout Giggles    2 weeks ago

I have another crazy thing I do. I've seen people rubbing the screen whenever they got a bonus or something on a slot machine. I don't do that. What I will do though is alternate how I make the bet. I will use the spin button until I win (or lose depending on how I started) then switch over to tapping the bet buttons until I win or lose.

And there's this one machine I also look for, it's called Quick Hits. When you get the Free Games, blocks come up on the screen and you have to match 3. I always go from left to right then down then right to left. I never just randomly select a block (drives my daughter nuts!). I have to be logical not random, tho playing slots is not really logical, is it?

3.1  Freefaller  replied to  Trout Giggles @3    2 weeks ago
it's called Quick Hits. When you get the Free Games, blocks come up on the screen and you have to match 3. I always go from left to right then down then right to left. I never just randomly select a block

Lol it's been a long while but I've played something similar but while I always start on the left hand everything after is completely random

Hal A. Lujah
4  Hal A. Lujah    2 weeks ago

It is really bad luck to not wear a face covering in public spaces.

It’s also really bad luck to not wear pants on a zoom call.  Ask Jeffrey Toobin.

And it’s bad luck to give lottery tickets as gifts.  They could win and ruin your friendship.

4.1  Gordy327  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @4    2 weeks ago

Bad luck and even more stupid.

5  Gordy327    2 weeks ago

I have no superstitions.

Hal A. Lujah
5.1  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  Gordy327 @5    2 weeks ago

Some would say that it’s bad luck to use the lord’s name in vain, but I’ve disproven that about one bazillion times.

5.1.1  Gordy327  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @5.1    2 weeks ago

Goddammit Hal, that's a lot, Lol

6  Kavika     2 weeks ago

I don't have any suspicions. The horseshoe is in case I get a horse. Oops, step around that crack in the sidewalk. I did not paint my cat white. 

Ok, off to buy some wood. One can never have enough wood, just in case.

7  Freefaller    2 weeks ago

Due to the old adage "Step on a crack, break you mothers back" there was a time when I was little that I would avoid all cracks but that stopped a long, long time ago

Hal A. Lujah
7.1  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  Freefaller @7    2 weeks ago

8  FLYNAVY1    2 weeks ago

In my younger days regarding athletics, I would say I was superstitious.  You warm up a certain way, you wore these socks, Etc., because good things happened the last time you did.

Since the gladiator days are way in the rear view mirror.... Nope, can't say I have any superstitions.  Just an irritating amount of extra pounds. 

9  Ender    2 weeks ago

My last cat was solid black. That cat walked across my path thousands of times.

I guess that explains a lot....

9.1  Gsquared  replied to  Ender @9    2 weeks ago

My cat of many years was solid black, too, and the most intelligent, loving, wonderful little guy ever.

I'm not really superstitious about anything.

Buzz of the Orient
10  Buzz of the Orient    2 weeks ago

There are many superstitions among the Chinese people, mostly for good things, but one that stands out as bad luck is the number 4.  The word for 4 in Mandarin sounds just like the word for "death". For example, it is not unlikely that the rent for an apartment on the 4th floor is considerably less than for an identical apartment elsewhere in the same building, because it is so hard to find a tenant..  Although I'm familiar with many superstitions, I think the only one I'm careful about is walking under a ladder, probably because when I was very young I saw a picture of an open can of paint falling on someone who was walkng under. 


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