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The Student News Site of Olathe West High School

Owl Post

The Student News Site of Olathe West High School

Owl Post

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Superstitions: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Superstitions are the belief in supernatural beings or happenings. Friday the 13th, a black cat crossing your path and walking under a ladder are all superstitions. People have believed these events and more are the cause of bad luck for centuries. But, how did they start?


The origin of Friday the 13th isn’t completely clear, but it is commonly believed that it originates from Christianity. During the last supper, Jesus and his twelve apostles gathered for  their last meal before Jesus’s crucifixion. The last to arrive was Judas, the 13th guest and the one who betrayed Jesus. 

In addition, the Bible is said to have bad things happen on Fridays, like the crucifixion of Jesus. There was also a book titled ‘Friday The 13th’ from 1907 that was said to have popularized Friday the 13th. The book is about a stockbroker that messes up Wall Street stocks, this causes him to swear off trading stocks on any Friday the 13ths in the future.



There are different beliefs about how walking under a ladder is bad luck, most commonly the origin is traced back to Christianity and Egyptian beliefs. The Holy Trinity is a Christian concept involving the Father, the Spirit and the Holy ghost. The Holy Trinity is commonly related to a triangle or ladder. Walking under a ladder is supposedly bad luck; it can be seen as tempting fates and could awaken the spirits that live in the triangle. The Egyptians believed a triangle to be a holy shape and they believed that if you walked under a ladder you could anger a god by seeing them climb down the ladder.



It takes seven years for the body to develop new cells, this is why you are cursed with seven years of bad luck when you break a mirror. The Romans believed mirrors reflected your soul and that the Gods would look through the mirror to observe your inner self. The Romans also believed that breaking a mirror was bad luck because mirrors had magic in them. This meant that if you broke one the gods would curse you with bad luck for being careless enough to break it.



Black cats are commonly seen as bad luck, especially when one crosses you path. Cats in many cultures, especially black cats, are seen as a symbol of good luck. However, in Europe during the middle ages fear of black cats arose. They were growing in number in their cities and were soon viewed as pests. At night especially people feared black cats and their ability to hide in the dark, move quickly and their yellow eyes that glowed. This created views of the cats being evil and it was said if you happened to cross paths with a black cat, bad luck was soon to follow.



Opening an umbrella indoors is also supposed to cause bad luck. Egyptians believed this because it was considered an insult to the sun God. This is due to the fact that in this period of time umbrellas were designed to keep the sun off of you rather than the rain. The belief is that the spirits that are said to live in your house will cause bad luck to rain on you and your family.



Not all superstitions bring bad luck, though. One of the most common good luck superstitions is finding a shamrock or four-leaf clover. In Ireland it was believed that if you carried a three-leaf clover with you it would give you the ability to see evil spirits coming. It was believed if you carried a four-leaf clover you had magical protection. Children at this time even believed if you carried a four-leaf clover it would help you see a fairy.

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About the Contributor
Avery Mathieu
Avery Mathieu, Writer
Avery Mathieu is a junior staff member for the Owl Post. This is her first year on the staff. The other activity she is involved in at Olathe West is theatre. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, crocheting and listening to Taylor Swift. 

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