Despite the amount of times you’ve probably said, “No, I’m not superstitious at all!” you still go out of your way not to step on a crack or get unreasonably nervous on Friday the 13th. Superstitions, by default, are not reasonable nor logical, but everyone believes in some of them. Almost everyone (I’m looking at you, Ms. Swift and your “13 is my lucky number” logic) follows the same common superstitions. So we, here at GenTwenty, thought we’d take the most common superstitions and tell you how they started.

  1. “It’s bad luck to open umbrellas indoors.”

I’m that girl who is always breaking this superstition, mostly because I don’t like closing umbrellas outside and partly because I never understood it. But this belief goes as far back as Victorian England. In his book, Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things, Charles Panati says “In eighteenth century England, a rigidly spoked umbrella, opening suddenly in a small room, could seriously injure an adult or a child, or shatter a frangible object,” which could create some tension between the homeowner and the umbrella opener.

  1. “A broken mirror gives you seven years of bad luck.”

All right, I can go on record here and say I’ve never broken a mirror because this superstition actually scares me. Many cultures, including the Greeks, Chinese, Africans, and Indians, held the belief that a mirror had the ability to take away part of someone’s soul. If that doesn’t scare you into being very, very careful with mirrors, or at least intrigue you, then I don’t know what will.

  1. “When you spill salt, throw it over your left shoulder to avoid bad luck.”

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This one I do naturally because I used to see my grandmother to do it all the time, so I never really thought anything of it until I got to college and no one else did it. This ritual, though, started with the Sumerians in 3500 B.C.E. then spread to the Egyptians and the Greeks, but the reasoning behind the action is still unclear other than the high praise for salt as a seasoning. Don’t waste your salt!

  1. “Bloody Mary”

I couldn’t let this article go without a spooky legend and Bloody Mary is the most well known by children and adults alike. There are three different urban legends surrounding Bloody Mary, all involving standing in front of a mirror saying the words “Bloody Mary” a number of times. Mary Tudor, the daughter of King Henry VIII and who is known for her brutal beheadings, has been associated with the legend along with a witch by the name of Mary Worth. While the origin is unclear, you will never catch me saying this phrase in front of a mirror.

Obviously there are hundreds of more superstitions and legends to be looked into but we wouldn’t want to spook you too badly (especially with today being Friday the 13th). What are some superstitions you believe strongly in? Are there any legends that give you the heebee-jeebees?

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