50 Bizarre Superstitions From Around the World

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26Green Death

The superstition that green brings bad luck to actors originates from the color famous playwright Molière was wearing at the time of his death.


27. According to Hawaiian superstition, it's considered bad luck to whistle at night because it mimics the sound of Night marchers, the ghosts of ancient Hawaiian warriors. If someone comes across a procession of the night marchers, crouch low to the ground on your stomachs and avoid eye contact.


28. The Japanese have a superstition which states, “if you rest just after eating, you will become a cow.”


29. The reason February is the shortest month is due to the Roman superstition that even numbers are unlucky and it was decided that February would be the month to honor the dead.


30. A popular superstition behind the name butterfly is that witches took on the shape of the ‘butterfly’ and then stole milk and butter.


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31Phallus Paintings

In Bhutan, people paint large penises on their doors following an ancient superstition that it will drive evil away.


32. There is a superstition in the US Navy that toasting someone with water will doom them to a watery grave.


33. According to Russian superstition, if an unmarried girl sits at the corner seat of a table then she won't marry for at least 7 years.


34. In Taiwan, there is a superstition about "lucky" tampons and pads improving the chances of getting pregnant, which even materialized into a government-sanctioned donation program.


35. There is a superstition on Good Friday that if you wash your clothes the head of the household could die.


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36Bonhomme Sept-Heures

In Quebec, there is a superstition that if a child is out of bed after 7, a man named Bonhomme Sept-Heures will kidnap them. He is said to carry with him a bag with which he disposes the children.


37. Ancient superstition surrounding the Peony plant includes the danger of having one’s eyes pecked out by woodpeckers for picking its fruit.


38. There is a Chinese superstition against having mirrors in a couple's room since it adds another person to the relationship.


39. In some places, spiders of the family Linyphiidae are known as “money spiders.” Superstition apparently holds that a “money spider” crawling on you is sign of good fortune that will lead to wealth.


40. Burma's economy in the 60s-80s was shaped by a blend of Soviet-style central planning and Buddhist superstition. At 1 point new paper money was issued, all in amounts divisible by 9 (a lucky number), while canceling older bills, thus wiping out peoples' savings. This resulted in the 8888 Uprising.


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41Sneezing

The common sneeze responses such as "(God) bless you" or "gesundheit" originated from ancient superstitions. Some people believed that a sneeze caused the soul to escape the body through the nose. Saying "bless you" would stop the devil from claiming the person's freed soul.


42. There is a superstition called Curse of the Ninth (similar to Club 27) that every composer's ninth symphony will be their last, citing examples such as Roger Sessions and Peter Mennin.


43. For centuries old wives' tales claimed Molluscs stimulated the libido. Scientists found they were rich in rare amino acids that triggered higher levels of sex hormones when injected into mice.


44. The phrase 'Knock on Wood' derives from the pagan belief that malevolent spirits inhabited wood and that if you expressed a hope for the future you should touch, or knock on, wood to prevent the spirits from hearing and presumably preventing your hopes from coming true.


45. Kiyomizu-Dera is a Buddhist temple in eastern Kyoto in Japan. People used to jump off its 43 feet stage due to a belief that those who survived the fall would have their wish granted. Of the 234 jumps recorded during the Edo period, 85.4% survived.


46Mango Milk

Due to an urban legend, it's common belief among brazilians that you might die from poisoning if you eat mango fruit mixed with milk.


47. In Europe, the number 17 is considered unlucky because in Roman Numerals it's XVII, that can be rearranged to VIXI, meaning "I have lived", while in Japan the number 14 is considered unlucky because the words for 1 and for 4 are similar to the ones for "must" and for "die."


48. There was a form of Icelandic witchcraft involving "Necropants" where someone would flay the skin off the legs of a friend's corpse, steal a coin from a widow, and then wear the skin with the coin in the scrotum. The ritual was supposed to bring wealth.


49. In Sub-Saharan Africa, there is a belief that sex with a virgin will cure HIV/AIDs. This has lead to an increase in child molestation and infant rape.


50. In the middle ages, some kings had clothes made from "Salamander fur" which were completely fire-proof and bright white. The name likely comes from the common belief that Salamanders were "born from fire". The clothes were actually made out of asbestos.

1 COMMENT

  1. 46: It’s not an urban legend, it was spread during the slavery period (1550-1888) by the landlords so that the slaves would eat mangoes or drink milk, never both.

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