Today is Friday the 13th! And it should come as no surprise that many of us believe in some pretty freaky superstitions.
Many superstitions come from the same human trait that causes us to believe in monsters and ghosts. Basically, if our brains don't understand something, we make stuff up.
A 2010 study found that superstitions can sometimes work because believing in something can improve our performance on a task.
In the spirit of the day, here are 13 of the most common superstitions!
13 - Beginner's Luck
Typically a phrase said by an expert who just lost a game to a novice. Beginners might come out ahead in some cases because they are less stressed out about winning. Too much anxiety can tamper with an individual's performance.
12 - Find A Penny, Pick It Up
"And all day long you'll have good luck!" This little rhyme may have started because finding money is lucky in and of itself. However, most people don't experience good luck after finding a penny in the Publix parking lot. Now finding a $100 bill, that's a horse of a different color!
11 - Don't Walk Under That Ladder
Some believe this superstition started from the Christian belief in the Holy Trinity. Since a ladder leaning against a wall forms a triangle, "breaking" the triangle was blasphemous. On the other hand, another popular theory of walking under a ladder has to do with the resemblance to a medieval gallow. Then again, safety-first could be the correct explanation!
10 - Crossing Paths With A Black Cat
This superstition most likely comes from the old beliefs in witches and their animal familiars, which often take the form of domestic animals like cats.
9 - A Rabbit's Foot Will Bring Good Luck
An old superstition that blends Native American, European, and African tradition. Similar to garlic keeping away vampires away.
8 - Bad Luck Comes In Threes
When a couple of things go wrong in one's life, they may start to look for the next bit of bad luck. For example, losing a shoe could be seen as the 3rd in a series of bad luck events.
7 - Breaking A Mirror
Break a mirror and you're doomed to seven years bad luck, right? A superstition that comes from the belief that mirrors don't just reflect your image... they also hold bits of your soul. Some people would even cover mirrors in the house when someone died because they didn't want their soul trapped inside the glass.
6 - 666
In the Book of Revelation, three sixes in a row is the number of the "beast" and often was interpreted as the mark of Satan. It was also a sign of the end of time.
5 - Knock On Wood
A phrase designed to ward off the back luck after tempting fate. "Breaking that mirror didn't bring me any bad luck, knock on wood." Why wood? The fixation may have come from old myths about good spirits in the trees.
4 - Make A Wish On A Wishbone
This tradition of turkey tug-of-war goes way back! According to legends, first-century Romans would fight over dried wishbones because they believed they were good luck. During the struggle, the bone would accidentally break, which started the idea that whoever had the largest bit of bone gets their wish granted.
3 - Cross Your Fingers
A gesture that dates back to early Christianity. The story goes that two people used to cross index fingers when making a wish. A symbol to show support from a friend. Nowadays, people can just cross their fingers on their own and say "fingers crossed" and that's enough to get their message across.
2- No Umbrellas Inside The House
The origins of this superstition are a little murky. A story says an ancient Roman woman opened an umbrella in her house moments before the house collapsed. Another tales is of a British prince who accepted two umbrellas from a visiting king and died within months.
1 - Friday the 13th
This superstition is fairly new, dating back to late 1800s. According to Christian belief, Friday has long been an unlucky day since Jesus died on a Friday. The number 13 also has a long history of being an unlucky number.