Ghost Busters

October 20, 2011

We humans are a superstitious lot.

Some believe Friday the 13th is bad luck but finding a penny is good luck.

Superstitions have been with us since the dawn of time. Many evolved from ancient religious or supernatural genres as a way to explain the unexplainable.

Consider the thought that mirrors can strike fear in the heart of the bravest man or woman – maybe even you. This ordinary piece of reflective glass is may be the focus of more superstitions and ghost stories than any other ordinary object in our culture. Ever heard (or said) that if you break a mirror you’ll have seven years bad luck?

The root of the mirror superstitions evolved from a time when water was used as a mirror. Imagining that they were seeing the image of their soul, people would look into the water to see their fates. If the image was distorted it was a sign of the viewer’s demise or death. As the mirror changed form, so did the beliefs.

Many superstitions stem from the human desire to associate thoughts and symbols with events. Essentially, when our brains can’t explain something, we make stuff up. The basis for this made up stuff has its source in instinctual fear – the emotion designed to keep us safe.

Superstitions are harmless and can be playfully fun, unless of course, they limit your luscious living. If you won’t leave the house without your lucky rabbit’s foot in your pocket and a string of garlic tied around your neck, then its time to face your frights.

Start here with this Ghost Busters Mad Lib (PDF). It’s a fun way to let the superstitions that might plague you tickle your funny bone instead. Knock on wood!

What are some of your superstitions? Does bad luck come in threes? What do you do with spilled salt? And what about ladders – would you walk under one? I’d  love to know…

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