Superstition and Old Wives Tales: Whiskers Means You No Harm

superstition black cat

  • IT’LL BE SUNNY tomorrow. Touch Wood. – Wow. The sun really gives a shit now and is most definitely going to make a concerted effort to burn away the cloud tomorrow.
  • Walking under ladders is bad luck. – That’s because there’s someone up there with a tool or pot of paint that might hit you on the head. Duh!
  • Look! A black cat! That’s bad luck! – Show me the empirical evidence that black cats are a) linked to fortune or b) the colour of them affects fortune either way. Good luck with the research funding.
  • Finding a four leaf clover. – I’ve found one before. Guess what? It was a waste of time.
  • Oh look! An eye lash fell out! Make a wish! – Millions of pounds please. Check bank balance. Nothing. Except I didn’t, because I’m not five years old.
  • You broke the mirror! aGGGH! That’s seven years bad luck! – Hmmm. Exactly seven years? Must be one hell of a mirror, a sentient one at that.

Superstitions and old wives tales are not ok. They might seem harmless, but for children they are particularly mind bending and although they appear as inert as Santa and all the other lies children are told, ultimately they teach people that totally unconnected actions are linked to the outcome of events. But people hate that generally. People want to feel like they have control over a situation, even when it is impossible. False beliefs and superstitions fill that void, allowing people to think on some level, that they have influence.

Being a rationalist and logical, I get annoyed when I hear hocum like the examples above. It points at a hugely flawed belief system. If you’re relying on touching wood to prevent something terrible happening, you might want to reevaluate your life.

I’m sure Whiskers the mascot above wishes you no ill will unless you’ve done something to deserve it? Have you? He’ll know if you did! Thoughts?


      1. Yes, for sure! In addition to those you mentioned, here are a couple. If you sneeze and someone doesn’t say bless you, the devil can reach you. Talk about instilling fear! If your palm is itchy, though I can’t be sure – I think it was the left, it is a sign of good fortune coming. If you spill salt it’s bad luck. Those are a few that came to mind. LOL

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