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Gingersnap
09-24-2010, 11:40 AM
Don't Kiss a Mustachioed Man: The Origins of 13 Weird Superstitions

Monica Garske
AOL News

(Sept. 23) -- We're surrounded by superstitions every day -- don't walk under a ladder, don't step on a crack, avoid black cats -- but where do these beliefs come from and why do we follow them?

More importantly, are superstitions the real deal or just real silly?

British author Harry Oliver has just released in the U.S. "Black Cats & Four-Leaf Clovers" (Perigee), a book that explores the origins of superstitions and old wives' tales from around the world.

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Black cats: Are they really unlucky?

Today, AOL News delves into 13 of Oliver's weirdest and wackiest superstitions and how they came to be ...

1. Don't Walk Under a Ladder: After researching this superstition for a year at the British Library in London, Oliver says the belief's most-cited origin points to "a ladder forming a triangle with the wall and the ground, suggesting the Holy Trinity." Apparently, walking through that triangle would show disrespect to the Trinity and therefore bring bad luck. Another possible (and much simpler) origin: Where there's a ladder, there's usually someone working on top and walking underneath could lead to all sorts of cartoonish accidents, like a hammer falling on someone's head.

2. Black Cats Bring Bad Luck: Oliver says black cats are notoriously linked to witchcraft, which is why some people think they're unlucky. However, there are two sides to this one. Allegedly, if a cat crosses your path it's considered unlucky, but if a cat walks toward you, it's a good omen. Should the first scenario happen, though, Oliver says the "only way to avert the back luck is to spit."

3. Never Light Three Cigarettes With the Same Match: This superstition originated in military circles and dates back to those long nights in the trenches during World War I. "If three soldiers smoked at once, enemy snipers would easily detect them," says Oliver. "If they used the same match to light all three cigarettes, snipers would notice the match burning after the first one and would have enough time to load guns, aim and fire at the unlucky third smoker."

Spook month is right around the corner - brush up on your superstitions today!

AOL News (http://www.aolnews.com/weird-news/article/dont-kiss-a-mustachioed-man-the-origins-of-13-weird-superstitions/19619609)