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Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, April 10, 2009 8:19:41 PM

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I don't know if this is true any more but, when I was growing up in Pittsburgh, PA none of the buildings in town had a thirteenth floor. If you got in the elevator of a 20 story building there was no button for "13". Anyone know of other superstitions that have become that much of a convention?
genome
Posted: Saturday, April 11, 2009 1:47:52 AM
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I believe the superstition is quite prevalent. Another example often quoted about the superstition is that if there are thirteen guests at a dinner, the butler is asked to sit so that the number becomes 14 and number 13 is thus avoided.
Toadfoot
Posted: Sunday, April 12, 2009 12:00:02 AM
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In Korea and China none of the buildings have fourth floors.
TB
Posted: Sunday, April 12, 2009 12:29:41 AM
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Epiphileon wrote:
...Anyone know of other superstitions that have become that much of a convention?


There is no aisle, row or seat # 13 in any American built airliner. Most manufacturers from other countries avoid using "13
" also.
Drew
Posted: Sunday, April 12, 2009 10:17:26 AM
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Epiphileon wrote:
I don't know if this is true any more but, when I was growing up in Pittsburgh, PA none of the buildings in town had a thirteenth floor. If you got in the elevator of a 20 story building there was no button for "13". Anyone know of other superstitions that have become that much of a convention?


I've actually been to a number of hotels in various places in the US that don't have a 13th floor.
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, April 12, 2009 10:35:29 AM

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TB wrote:

There is no aisle, row or seat # 13 in any American built airliner. Most manufacturers from other countries avoid using "13
" also.

Thanks, I was not aware of that one, do you suppose cruise ships do not have decks, or cabins, numbered 13?
TB
Posted: Sunday, April 12, 2009 7:40:19 PM
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Epiphileon wrote:
"...do you suppose cruise ships do not have decks, or cabins, numbered 13?


I'm only guessing that the answer to your question is 'no'. It's really a marketing thing. Superstition makes it hard to sell anything that drives, flys or floats if it is numbered 13.
Joseph Glantz
Posted: Monday, April 13, 2009 8:56:19 AM
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How about this childhood one - step on a crack, break your mother's back.
Drew
Posted: Monday, April 13, 2009 9:36:57 AM
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I've heard of an Irish superstition that it is bad luck to exit a building through a different door than the one through which you entered. I'm not sure if this is really a widespread superstition or not, but I have found myself thinking twice about how I exit buildings since I found out about it.
kaliedel
Posted: Monday, April 13, 2009 3:20:35 PM
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In regards to regional superstitions, I'm sure all of the Philly-area posters have heard of the Jersey Devil legend (and not the hockey team Dancing .) It was even pop culture-ized on an episode of the "The X-Files" back in the mid-90's. For those unaware, it is basically a take on the whole forest-dwelling, half-human beast legend that gets spotted from time to time by campers and travelers.
krmiller
Posted: Monday, April 13, 2009 10:20:49 PM
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Did anyone else read the Wayside School books as a kid? That school had no 19th story.

Apparently the superstition about black cats being bad luck is so widespread that black cats are actually less likely to be adopted. I find that very sad--one of my cats is black and she's the sweetest ever!
aharmer
Posted: Monday, April 13, 2009 10:31:37 PM
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i have heard a lot of these superstitions, but I have a question about the black cat one. If a black cat crosses your path it is x years bad luck. what if the same black cat crosses your path in the same spot at the same time a few nights later? Is it x many more years bad luck or is it counteracted??

I need to know coz it happened to my boyfriend and he is very superstitious
Betsy D.
Posted: Monday, April 13, 2009 10:43:33 PM
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aharmer wrote:
i have heard a lot of these superstitions, but I have a question about the black cat one. If a black cat crosses your path it is x years bad luck. what if the same black cat crosses your path in the same spot at the same time a few nights later? Is it x many more years bad luck or is it counteracted??

I need to know coz it happened to my boyfriend and he is very superstitious


I've had black cats for years; I've always considered them lucky. Heck, they've been crossing my path for the past 30 years, and I'm still live and kickin'! Tell your boyfriend he'll be just fine Drool
Betsy D.
Posted: Monday, April 13, 2009 10:44:57 PM
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I had an aunt who would always exit from the same door she entered...she'd never leave by a different door. Don't know where thaton superstition originated, though.
aharmer
Posted: Monday, April 13, 2009 11:08:35 PM
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I've had black cats for years; I've always considered them lucky. Heck, they've been crossing my path for the past 30 years, and I'm still live and kickin'! Tell your boyfriend he'll be just fine Drool [/quote]

lol. I was just curious about that particular superstition. I have told him he will be fine, but he was taught this superstition by his Irish and Italian grandmothers- both extremely superstitious.

TB
Posted: Monday, April 13, 2009 11:36:12 PM
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Angel RE:
aharmer wrote:
...If a black cat crosses your path it is x years bad luck...


Black cat crossing your path = bad luck (no time frame)
Broken mirror = seven years bad luck

PS. Get a new boyfriend.Angel
risadr
Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 2:12:41 PM
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How about the superstition of never walking under a ladder? (For my own purposes, I've extended this to include scaffolding, since I'm terrified that it will collapse on top of me.)

Does anyone know about talismans that are supposed to ward off bad luck (i.e. rabbit's foot, horseshoe, etc.)? I have a rice seed set in blue glass that I wear to ward of the "evil eye." (It's a Jewish superstition...)
fred
Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 2:18:03 PM
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risadr wrote:
How about the superstition of never walking under a ladder? (For my own purposes, I've extended this to include scaffolding, since I'm terrified that it will collapse on top of me.)

Does anyone know about talismans that are supposed to ward off bad luck (i.e. rabbit's foot, horseshoe, etc.)? I have a rice seed set in blue glass that I wear to ward of the "evil eye." (It's a Jewish superstition...)

What about the Jewish use of a little metal box nailed to the upper inside of a door frame with a piece of paper inside with Hebrew text?

risadr
Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 2:21:08 PM
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fred wrote:
What about the Jewish use of a little metal box nailed to the upper inside of a door frame with a piece of paper inside with Hebrew text?


It's called a Mezuzzah, and the scroll that it contains is a blessing, anointing the home and consecrating it. It's part of the Jewish heritage that prayer and worship should not be relegated only to the Temple, but that faith should be a part of everything that one does.

There's supposed to be one on the jamb of every exterior door of one's home, and they should be tilted, so that the top of the scroll faces into the house.
fred
Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 2:41:56 PM
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risadr wrote:
fred wrote:
What about the Jewish use of a little metal box nailed to the upper inside of a door frame with a piece of paper inside with Hebrew text?


It's called a Mezuzzah, and the scroll that it contains is a blessing, anointing the home and consecrating it. It's part of the Jewish heritage that prayer and worship should not be relegated only to the Temple, but that faith should be a part of everything that one does.

There's supposed to be one on the jamb of every exterior door of one's home, and they should be tilted, so that the top of the scroll faces into the house.

Is this Ashkenazim, Sephardim, or Mizrahim heritage?
Luftmarque
Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 2:47:56 PM

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kaliedel wrote:
In regards to regional superstitions, I'm sure all of the Philly-area posters have heard of the Jersey Devil legend (and not the hockey team Dancing .) It was even pop culture-ized on an episode of the "The X-Files" back in the mid-90's. For those unaware, it is basically a take on the whole forest-dwelling, half-human beast legend that gets spotted from time to time by campers and travelers.

And the Jersey Devil seems to be the main monster in a made-for-TV movie coming up on the Sci-Fi channel "Carny."
fred
Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 3:49:50 PM
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Feng Shui?
kaliedel
Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 4:15:03 PM
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Let's not forget opening up an umbrella while indoors - is this one still alive and kicking?
fred
Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 4:24:08 PM
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kaliedel wrote:
Let's not forget opening up an umbrella while indoors - is this one still alive and kicking?


I think about it every time and wonder why and what was the origin?

Can you imagine having expensive antique furniture and paintings in the foyer and a guest opens up a wet umbrella and water droplets go everywhere. You wildly wipe the water off the furniture and paintings before they dry and mark. Then throw a boot at the idiot.
Rhondish
Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 4:31:37 PM
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Whistling in a restaurant kitchen will earn you the evil eye from the Chef. I learned this the hard way while tending bar through college. He could not tell me why, but I never did that againWhistle
Luftmarque
Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 4:35:00 PM

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kaliedel wrote:
Let's not forget opening up an umbrella while indoors - is this one still alive and kicking?

This makes me wonder about how some superstitions like this one evolve from just being good sense advice to the status of superstition? The standard explanation of superstitions is that they result from the shortcuts our brains make when connecting two simultaneous enough events. Any animal that sat around attempting to make a flight-or-flight decision grounded in formal logic would make a good meal. So we have a built-in bias to "size up" situations and quickly act on that basis. But then we end up with a ball player wearing a single pair of socks for the duration of the World Series because that's what he was wearing when his team won the playoffs, people avoiding stepping on cracks in the sidewalk, lack of the thirteenth floor, the religious beliefs of groups that I don't belong to, etc. etc.
Epiphileon
Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 6:24:03 PM

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Luftmarque wrote:

This makes me wonder about how some superstitions like this one evolve from just being good sense advice to the status of superstition?

Growing up we were always told it was bad luck to walk under a ladder. I think this one can be pretty safely said to come from exactly your point Luftmarque.
Cara
Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 9:44:46 PM
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Toadfoot wrote:
In Korea and China none of the buildings have fourth floors.
It's not exactly true. In China, most of us don't like the number "FOUR",but we do have fourth floor in most buildings.
Cara
Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 10:06:17 PM
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Nuumber "four" sounds like "dead" in Chinese, that is why we think it unluncky.
Joseph Glantz
Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 8:21:19 AM
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I was told, growing up, that if you spilled salt you were supposed to throw some salt over you left shoulder. Not sure why?
kaliedel
Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 3:01:51 PM
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Is it true the Japanese see white as the color of death? I've heard this one, but could never really confirm it.
arthbard
Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 10:36:42 PM
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Joseph Glantz wrote:
I was told, growing up, that if you spilled salt you were supposed to throw some salt over you left shoulder. Not sure why?


I've heard that throwing the salt is supposed to blind the evil spirit standing behind you. However, I know not where said spirit came from, why it likes salt so much, or why it doesn't have anything better to do than stand around looking over your shoulder.
Epiphileon
Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2009 5:23:33 AM

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Speaking of "evil spirits", aren't they blamed as well for the blessing of someone when they sneeze? I remember hearing that when one sneezes, one's soul jumps out of one's body, and if not blessed in that instant, evil spirits could take over their soul's habitat.
fred
Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2009 9:05:06 AM
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Epiphileon wrote:
Speaking of "evil spirits", aren't they blamed as well for the blessing of someone when they sneeze? I remember hearing that when one sneezes, one's soul jumps out of one's body, and if not blessed in that instant, evil spirits could take over their soul's habitat.


It would be interesting to find how wide spread this thought is.
Betsy D.
Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2009 9:33:29 AM
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In Philadelphia we have a couple of "squares" in the old city under which I have heard that revolutionary soldiers were buried (standing up, I'm presuming, based on the following). I've also heard that the enemy soldiers were buried head-down so that their souls wouldn't be able to rise.

Anyone else from the area heard this? I'll see if I can verify it.
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