Superstitions are beliefs, often irrational, that have woven themselves into the fabric of cultures worldwide.
From skipping the number 13 to avoiding black cats, these practices, whether regarded with earnest belief or playful humor, persistently shape human behaviors. Dive into these seven astonishing tales from the world of superstitions:
1. Burma’s Banking Bust: Ne Win, the iron-fisted ruler of Burma during its Socialist era, held a potent belief in the power of the number nine. In a decision that confounded economists and citizens alike, he nixed any banknotes not divisible by this lucky digit in 1987. The result? An economy on its knees and countless savings vaporized overnight.
2. China’s Ghostly Silence: China, known for its rich tales of spirits and folklore, witnesses a peculiar modern scenario. Due to rigorous censorship against the supernatural and superstition, the demand for horror stories or movies is a mere 5% of the global average.
3. Christianity’s Ancient Label: The earliest non-Christian mention of the religion surfaced in a 112 AD letter. Written by Pliny the Younger to Emperor Trajan, it described Christianity as an emerging ‘extravagant superstition’ spreading its wings in Northern Turkey’s cities.
4. Haunting Warfare Tactics: The U.S. military once took a page out of ghost stories to unnerve their enemies. German forces were spooked with unsettling horoscopes, Philippine adversaries faced staged vampire onslaughts, and the Vietnamese were tormented with “ghost tapes” playing eerie sounds. Surprisingly, only the vampire ruse saw success!
5. The Superstition Defiers: In the late 19th century, America saw a peculiar trend: the formation of “13 Clubs.” Members would flout superstitions, dining in groups of 13, strolling under ladders, and deliberately spilling salt. Among these audacious participants? Future U.S. Presidents!
6. Ravens of the Tower: An age-old belief prompts the continuous presence of ravens at London’s Tower. These birds aren’t mere ornaments; they’re enlisted soldiers. Although wild ravens have a lifespan of 10-15 years, their Tower counterparts often thrive for over four decades. Some have even been dismissed for unsoldierly conduct!
7. Elevator Etiquette: If you’ve ever noticed the lack of a 13th floor button in an elevator, you’re not alone. The trepidation surrounding the unlucky number 13 endures. Astoundingly, 85% of buildings equipped with Otis elevators choose to bypass the ominous 13th floor.