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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Why is it good luck to spit on a new baseball bat?

Baseball players have many superstitions to help them win, and some of them aren't exactly what you'd call hygienic — like spitting on their bats.

Will Sleeping With a Fan on Kill You?

Every culture has its own unique superstitions, most of which probably seem a little odd to outsiders. In Korea, for example, there’s the fear of death by fan.

Will pulling out a gray hair cause 10 more to grow in its place?

You might be tempted to pluck your gray hairs, but you shouldn't -- and not for the reason that you might think.

Will a watermelon left out at night turn into a vampire?

Leaving fresh fruit out overnight could definitely have some rotten consequences, but turning into a vampire isn't likely.

Why is walking under a ladder supposed to be unlucky?

There are numerous superstitions that we unthinkingly adhere to, such as walking under a ladder. But why is it supposed to be so unlucky?

10 Wacky Birthday Superstitions

Ah, birthdays: a chance to celebrate with friends and family and ring in years of good fortune ahead. But if you're a little on the superstitious side, here are some things to avoid so that the coming year doesn't bring any unpleasant surprises.

13 Superstitions About Numbers

What's your lucky number? Would it jinx you if you told us? It's a funny thing, but whether for cultural, regional or religious reasons, we humans tend to put a lot of hope — and a little fear — into numbers.

Is eye of newt a real thing?

While that witches brew seemingly comprised of bizarre animal body parts sounds scary and gross, odds are you've actually put "eye of newt" on a hot dog at some point. Learn why witches used frightening terms for common herbs, flowers, and plants.

If 13 people eat at the same table, will one die before the year is over?

Triskaidekaphobia, or, fear of the number 13, comes in many forms, but in restaurants, it means that a "table for 13" will result in a death of one of the diners. Learn about the origins of this superstition, and skeptics' amusing counterarguments.

If three people are photographed together, will the middle one die first?

Superstitions involving cameras have been around for centuries. From bad luck to the loss of your soul, myths abound about photography. Why do some cultures believe in deadly consequences for the middle person in a photo taken of three people?

10 Area 51 Conspiracies

The mysteries surrounding the U.S. government's Area 51 have been revealed to be mostly mundane, but that hasn't prevented a bevy of believers from coming up with outlandish theories about the secret desert base.

What is groaning cheese?

While it might be strange today to show up at a baby shower with a giant wheel of cheese, this wasn't always the case. Find out how "groaning cheese" came to be a symbol of good luck when celebrating a newborn's arrival into the world.

10 Superstitions That Are Actually Spot-on

Superstitions come in all shapes and sizes. On the credibility scale, it's unlikely that stepping on a crack will break your mother's back or that your soul will escape when you sneeze, but some superstitions might actually have a basis in reality.

What's a birth caul, and why are people superstitious about it?

Superstitions come in all forms, but what about the fortunes some expect when a baby is born with a piece of the amniotic sac still attached to its head or face? What are some ways numerous cultures consider birth cauls to be good luck?

Do murderers disproportionately have 13 letters in their names?

Jeffrey Dahmer, Albert DeSalvo, Aileen Wuornos: all serial killers, and three of many with 13 letters in their name. Some conspiracy theorists see a direct correlation. Is there a link, or is it just another myth surrounding the maligned number 13?

Does being a bridesmaid three times mean you'll never get married?

Through a mix of the superstitions of the past and the sexism of today, some believe that being a bridesmaid three times leads to becoming "an old maid." How did this matrimonial myth develop, and why does it persist?

Does lighting a cigarette with a candle cause a sailor to die?

If you're a smoker traveling through Europe, you might get dirty looks when trying to light a cigarette with a candle. What are the origins of this seafaring superstition, and how is it rooted in the off-season work sailors did to make ends meet?

Did we evolve to be superstitious?

From athletes growing beards during the playoffs to pedestrians not stepping on the cracks of sidewalks, some scientists believe our superstitions are the product of evolution. How are we hardwired to believe in luck in situations beyond our control?

What's the 27 Club?

Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse are just a small sample of the dozens of famous musicians who passed on to "the great gig in the sky" at the age of 27. Is 27 a "cursed age," or is it part of a larger trend for many who play music?

Why is it bad luck to toast with an empty glass?

The toast is a player in so many parties. But raising an empty glass to wish someone good health and good cheer? Don't even bother.

Why is 'Macbeth' believed to be cursed?

In the play "Macbeth," almost everyone dies. It's not exactly a comedy. But the curse hovering over The Bard's work isn't about the plot — although murder does play a part.

Why is a rabbit’s foot considered lucky?

Carrying around an animal's body part is pretty creepy. But many people don't bat an eyelash at the idea that a rabbit's foot brings good fortune —for humans, anyway.

Why is it bad luck to break a mirror?

You're not supposed to cry over spilled milk. But a broken mirror? That's another matter. Will breaking a mirror really heap misfortune upon your head?

Why is it considered unlucky to leave a hat on the bed?

If you're one of the clueless citizens who's laid a hat on a bed, welcome to the club. Apparently, we've all doomed ourselves to evil spirits as guests. According to this superstition, anyway.

Why is it bad luck to give a woman an even number of flowers?

Giving flowers is a thoughtful and appreciated gesture in all cultures. But if you're looking to brighten someone's day, you might want to avoid giving an even number of flowers.