Folklore & Superstition

Folklore and Superstition covers the topics of good luck, bad luck and uncommon wisdom. Discover more about topics like conspiracy theories, urban legends or voodoo.


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The Legend of the Mysterious Night Marchers of Hawaii

They're ghostly warriors who stride through jungles and towns in brilliant costumes, holding torches. Flee now or risk their wrath.

10 People With Incredibly Bad Luck

Some people were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Others were in the right place, but left at the wrong time. And a few just had bad luck thrust upon them.

Conspiracy Theories and Creationism Depend on the Same Backward Logic

It's oddly comforting and intuitive to think things happen for a reason. And it's something that both creationists and conspiracy theory enthusiasts do.

Predictive Programming, or When Movies 'Predict' Real Events

Have you ever felt like a movie or TV show eerily predicted an actual event? There's a name for that.

Alex Jones and InfoWars: Fact or Tinfoil Fiction?

InfoWars publisher Alex Jones has millions of followers. He regularly espouses conspiratorial stories. Are they fact or fiction?

Humanity's Eclipse Superstitions Are Weird and Fascinating

Humans have sought to explain solar eclipses since before the advent of modern science. What curious explanations have we invented?

The Georgia Guidestones: A Monumental Mystery

Much mystery surrounds the Georgia Guidestones, including the true identity of the man who commissioned them to be built.

Not Enough Calories in Human Body to Fully Explain Cannibalism, Study Finds

Did ancient humans eat neighbors for nutrition? One archaeologist calculated just how much energy different human body parts contain.

How Slender Man Works

This creepy Internet sensation might be just a 21st-century version of folklore, but did he really drive kids to kill?

10 Folk Cures You Should Never Try

Comedian Chris Rock once joked that his father's prescription for any ailment was Robitussin. And his dad wasn't alone: Plenty of families swear by various folk remedies handed down through the generations. Problem is, they simply don't work.

5 Superstitions With Oddly Rational Origins

The words "superstition" and "rationality" don't often make for very good bedfellows. But as these things go, every belief has to start somewhere, and sometimes a superstition's origins are shockingly sensible — albeit a little outdated.

How Accurate Is Punxsutawney Phil?

Every year a bunch of guys in top hats pull a wriggling rodent out of a hole and allow him to predict the weather. And we all take this seriously. Is Phil the groundhog really accurate or is he secretly giggling at us?

What are witch windows?

Driving through Vermont's scenic countryside, you might see an anomaly in the architecture odd enough to make you do a double take. What's the story behind those strangely angled windows?

Why are horseshoes considered to be lucky?

Four-leaf clovers, rabbit's feet, heads-up pennies — all lucky charms for many people. Another common lucky charm? The horseshoe.

Why are wishbones supposed to be lucky?

It's an iconic holiday ritual: two kids fighting over a wishbone. Each struggles to crack the bone and get the bigger piece, ensuring good luck. What's behind this rather odd piece of folklore?

Where did the legend of Bloody Mary come from?

The "Bloody Mary" ritual, long popular on the sleepover circuit, supposedly causes a ghastly apparition to materialize in a darkened room. Where did this legend come from? Was there a real Bloody Mary?

Are any superstitions universal across cultures?

Knocking on wood, crossing your fingers, fear of black cats ... are some superstitions common around the world, or are they specific to certain cultures?

Is it true that drowned women always float face-up?

One piece of American folklore usually passed around as fact is that drowned women always float face-up. Is this true? It might depend on who you ask.

Why are people so superstitious about cats?

Does your stomach flutter a bit when you cross paths with a black cat? Perhaps no other animal is so surrounded by myth and superstition than the common housecat.

What's really behind the 'ring test' for telling an unborn baby's sex?

With dozens and dozens of old wives' tales passed down through the generations, there's no shortage of ways to try to guess the sex of your baby. Here's a closer look at one of the more popular: the ring test.

Why is it bad luck to change the name of a ship?

Sailors are known for superstitions about good and bad luck while sailing, including one about the name of the ship itself.

Why do people throw salt over their shoulders?

We often see people toss salt over their left shoulders while cooking, but where did this tradition come from?

Why is it bad luck to kill an albatross?

You may know the albatross as simply a bird, but it's also a symbol of bad luck. Find out why sailors believe that the death of an albatross spells doom.

Why is it bad luck to wear opals if you weren't born in October?

Opals are unusual and mysterious gems, which may be why there are stories about their supposed luck dating back to ancient times.

Why is it bad luck to say certain words while fishing at sea?

Sailors are a superstitious lot, and that extends to words. Find out what not to say on your next voyage.