15 votes

Why is it so bad to be born in the Year of the Fire Horse?

1966 was a hinoe-uma (丙午) year. This does not come from "crossing zodiac with elements" per se, but is instead a specific combination of celestial stem and earthly branch in the traditional sexagenary ...
  • 7,656
10 votes
Accepted

Why is it lucky to touch or knock on wood?

To make sure your vessel is seaworthy. Sailors in the 17th century would sometimes knock with their hands or tools on the wooden hull of their ship to listen for woodworm or rot, hearing a solid ...
  • 4,001
9 votes
Accepted

Why is it unlucky to walk under a ladder?

Richard Webster addresses this well-known superstition in The Encyclopedia of Superstitions and gives three theories for its origin: Walking under a ladder is believed to cause bad luck. No one ...
  • 16.7k
8 votes
Accepted

Why do Native Americans think photographs steals their souls?

Well, not many do anymore. I found this on a question on the skeptics stack exchange [Carolyn J. Marr] illustrates a change in Native Americans' attitudes towards photography from the late 19th to ...
  • 1,260
7 votes

How old is the belief that spilling salt is unlucky and should be followed by throwing a pinch of salt over the shoulder?

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable claims the superstition dates to the Romans, when salt was used in sacrifices and spilling it from the head of the victim would be considered a bad omen: ...
  • 9,118
7 votes
Accepted

Are there any stories that present solar eclipses as a good sign?

It is true that the vast majority of solar eclipse folklore, myths and superstitions are looked upon in less than favorable light. Throughout history, solar eclipses have been viewed with dread ...
  • 2,814
7 votes
Accepted

Crystal taped to radiator?

There are many myths surrounding crystals. They are held by many to be capable of channelling positive energy and so promoting health and wellbeing. Your picture looks like quartz. Quartz in ...
  • 1,056
6 votes
Accepted

Was a sneeze seen as an omen in ancient Greece?

Xenophon's Anabasis Reading Xenophon's Anabasis the sneeze of a soldier in his army while giving a speech was interpreted as a clear sign of the god(s), in this case the god in question was Zeus Soter ...
  • 4,001
6 votes

What's the secret behind the infamous 'Backrooms' creepypasta?

It is indeed 4chan, per Know Your Meme: On April 21st, 2018, an anonymouse 4chan user posted the image in the /x/ forum in a thread about cursed images (shown below). On May 12th, 2019, an anonymous ...
  • 378
6 votes

Where does the idea of counting crows come from?

I did some quick searching and found this page recounting a British nursery rhyme, with the oldest version accounted to be: One for sorrow, Two for mirth, Three for a funeral And four for ...
  • 13.9k
6 votes
Accepted

Twice a bridesmaid, never a bride?

From what I gather, the origin is uncertain, but it seems common sense that "if association with a bride and the high profile of the day did not attract a husband after two opportunities, then perhaps ...
  • 551
6 votes

Are there any stories that present solar eclipses as a good sign?

There appears to be a folk belief in Italy that "flowers planted during a solar eclipse are more colourful than those planted at other times of the year"1. I'm afraid that although there's a ton of ...
  • 16.7k
2 votes

Traditional beliefs regarding guardians of burial grounds

That's the legend of the Church Grim. They're from English and Scandinavian lore, and they protect cemeteries and churchyards. https://enacademic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/1233957 From the website: The ...
2 votes

Why is it lucky to touch or knock on wood?

My anthropology professor linked it back to the belief that there were spirits, of whatever kind, living in trees and wood, and in order to keep them from hearing what you were saying and spoiling ...
1 vote

Is there any superstitious associations between the number eleven and evil?

The only one I can think of is in the Babylonian Enuma Elish. The goddess Tiamat creates eleven monsters to battle the other gods.
  • 5,286
1 vote

Was a sneeze seen as an omen in ancient Greece?

I first became interested in this topic when pondering Job 41:18 (KJV) - "By his neesings [sneezings] a light doth shine,...." When searching for 'nose quotes' there were some intriguing ...
  • 709
1 vote

Identifying a mythical creature

The creature could be a s spriggan or sprɪdʒən. But as for the cat I do not know, it may be a familiar or similar kind of spirit but to be travelling with a sprɪdʒən would be strange and their are ...
  • 11
1 vote

Identifying a mythical creature

Might be the green man? Not sure how much mythological basis there is, but he shows up on a lot of cathedrals among the grotesques.
  • 183
1 vote

Was the killing of an albatross being bad luck fabricated or real nautical mythology?

It could have a valid basis in actual early oceanic navigation. The albatros is the bird that can venture the farthest into the open ocean so it stands to reason they would be the first birds ...
  • 5,286
1 vote

If the ox tiger is an unlucky direction, why build an entrance to it?

The article on Wikipedia gives as examples of temples with Kimon facing north-east: Enryaku-ji Kan'ei-ji These temples are deliberately constructed for the Kimon to face the nearby (Capitol) city, ...
  • 5,286
1 vote

How old is the belief that spilling salt is unlucky and should be followed by throwing a pinch of salt over the shoulder?

There are many who believe that the spilling of salt is a sign of bad luck and has its' origin in Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper! The Last Supper has given us two common ...
  • 2,814
1 vote

Why is it so bad to be born in the Year of the Fire Horse?

There is some science backing this. In 1966 Japan began testing birth control and abortion which led to the decline of births. However they did this even more with women because there is an old omen ...
  • 2,299

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible