Sunday, 24 February 2008
Many of today's superstitions derive from ancient concepts of the supernatural. Bad luck caused by a broken mirror derives from the idea that a man's reflection represented his soul. A black cat and a tooth that is salted and burned to save it from witches are relics of a belief in witchcraft. The rhyme 'step on a crack, break your mother's back', shows that to children, lines on a pavement may become magical symbols. The superstition that it is unlucky to walk under a ladder is based on an idea that a ladder symbolises the soul's ascent into heaven.