Superstitions date back to early man’s attempt to explain nature and his own existence. There was a deep belief that animals, nature, and objects held a connection to spirits and the spirit world. In order to have a feeling of appeasing these forces, different behaviors or customs arose that would dictate a favorable fate and good fortune. Many superstitions have come from mythology, where omens were common.

Number 13

There is a term for fear of the number 13 — triskaidekaphobia, of Greek origin. The term for a fear of Friday the 13th is paraskevidekatriaphobia. Across many cultures, the belief that the number 13 is evil and brings bad luck so strong that many hotels, offices, and apartment buildings do not have or recognize a 13th floor, airports usually do not have a 13th gate, and many people stay home on Friday the 13th. The Chinese and ancient Egyptians believed the number 13 brings good fortune. The Egyptians believed in the 12 stages in life toward spiritual enlightenment. The 13th stage was the eternal afterlife. In this sense, death was not a place of fear but a place of high regard for the afterlife. One theory about why this a negative belief about the number 13 exists that Judas, who betrayed Jesus was the 13th person to be seated at the Last Supper.

Spilling Salt 

Historically, it has been believed that spilling salt will bring a person bad luck. More so than bringing bad luck, it is an invitation to let the devil in. Origins of this superstition may date back to ancient times, as salt was used in early rituals and practices. In many cultures, it was believed to be a powerful magical substance. There is yet another Christian belief ascribed to this superstition. It is believed that good spirits exist on the right­hand side and that the devil is seated on the left­hand side of God. So, when we spill salt, it is important to throw the salt with our right hand over our left shoulder to keep the devil, evil and bad luck off of our backs and behind us.

Black Cat Crossing your Path

If a black cat crosses your path, bad luck will come to you and can also be an omen of death. In another version, it is believed that if a black cat walks toward you, it will bring you good luck, and if it walks away from you, it takes good luck away. In ancient Egypt, all cats, including black ones, were highly regarded and well-protected from death and injury. It is customary in England and Ireland that black cats bring good luck.