These silly, unfounded fears could be wreaking havoc in your home.
) Mirrors can steal your soul.
Most people have heard that a broken mirror brings seven years of bad luck, but intact reflectors are also ominous — just think of ill-fated characters like Snow White, Narcissus, and Dracula.
The legend goes that the glass can steal your soul. In fact, Victorians traditionally covered mirrors when someone died, in case the deceased’s spirit gets trapped inside.
2) Evil ghosts sit in your rocking chair.
New mothers and porch sitters take note: the Irish have long believed that rocking an empty chair invites dark forces to come sit in it. If the chair moves of its own accord, that’s even worse — the malicious spirit has already settled in it, and may bring death to the family.
3) Pick a door and stick with it — or else.
According to folklore from the Pacific Northwest, it’s bad luck for you and your family to leave the house through a different door than the one used to enter it.
4) You can wake up on the wrong side of the bed.
5) Open umbrellas insult your home’s guardian spirits.
Opening a parasol indoors might bring metaphorical rain. Eighteenth century lore states that an umbrella protects against the storms of life, so opening one inside insults a home’s metaphysical protectors. Of course, the practical side of this precaution is not poking anybody’s eye out.
6) Don’t sweep away good luck.
There’s enough broom traditions to fill the entire closet, but most concur that cleaning a new home with an old broom is bad news. Either buy a new one or sweep something into the new residence first to avoid brushing away good luck.
7) Ladders have a hidden religious significance.
Christianity could be behind the hesitation to walk under ladders. The idea is that a ladder leaning against a wall creates a triangle, similar to Holy Trinity. Breaking the triangle would be blasphemous – or dangerous, as anyone who’s stood on a high perch can attest.
8) Shoes on the table could lead to death.
Old mining traditions are likely behind this superstition. You see, when a miner died in a colliery accident, his shoes were placed on the table as a sign of respect. Therefore, doing so when you aren’t dead was seen as tempting fate.
9) Fix any broken clocks — before they signal doom.
The grimmest prediction of all is that if a broken clock suddenly chimes, there will be a death in the family. In fact, a 19th century American preacher recorded multiple instances of these predictive rings.
10) Keep your bedroom windows shut on Nov. 1.
In Spain, people always keep their bedroom windows shut on November 1, because it is believed that the souls of the dead roam free that day, and can enter your home through windows.
11) Bells scare away hardships.
Both wedding bells and jingle bells bring smiles to peoples’ faces, but an echoing gong can also prevent misfortune. Celtic culture believes that ringing a bell frightens evil spirits away.
12) Blue porches ward off ghosts.
Since Southern culture used to believe ghosts couldn’t cross water, plantation homes thought if they painted their porch blue, it would confuse these spirits so they wouldn’t enter their home.
13) Acorns will protect your home from lighting.
Norse superstition claims all you have to do is put one of these nuts on your windowsill to prevent your home from being struck by lighting. In fact, that’s where window blind pulls with acorns first originated.
14) Hang fennel over your door to avoid witches.
It is believe that if you hang fennel over your front door, or stuff it in your keyhole, you’ll keep witches away from your home.
15) And of course, knock on wood.
For those bold enough to check out their lipstick in the mirror or leave through the side door (namely, all of us), it’s easy to ward off any bad karma – just knock on wood. Cultures from across the world (from Ireland to India!) have long idolized trees, and people often lay hands on them to ask for favors or show gratitude.