6

A friend who served in the IDF Navy told me that some soldiers there believed it was bad luck to whistle while at sea, because it might infuriate Neptune. Supposedly it was like whistling at his wife or something.1

Googling whistling and sailor superstitions brought up some results, but nothing that connected Neptune or Poseidon to this. Whistling apparently helps bring strong winds that are good for sailing (source)(source) but may also cause storms. (source)

I was wondering if there was any historical basis for this superstition or is it some niche, modern invention made by taking a few different superstitions and slapping them together?


1 We were both aware of the irony of this superstition existing in a country that's based on an ethnic-religious group whose religion is one of the oldest monotheistic ones around. As such, he told me that he used to whistle out at sea just to annoy the superstitious soldiers and officers and even did it on the comms link a number of time so officers on other boats would hear it too.

  • 1
    The same can be said for a bottle of champagne failing to break on the first try, and yet we still do this. Sailors superstitions can be very old or very new, but for a superstition to come to fruition there are usually some cases where it happened and sailors told other sailors in a bar or other meeting (not talking about all superstitions ofcourse but I cant disprove the Sirens just as I can't prove it). Also knowingly pestering superstitious sailors could backfire. I know I have a book somewhere about this and will try to find it or atleast tell you which one when I find the time – Tom Sol Oct 12 '20 at 16:44
  • 1
    @TomSol Cool. Thanks! – Harel13 Oct 12 '20 at 16:46
  • 1
    Whistling was supposed to draw up storms in general, not just at sea. – Mary Oct 13 '20 at 1:00
  • @Mary I didn't know that. Thanks. – Harel13 Oct 13 '20 at 4:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.