• Thu. Mar 30th, 2023

Eight Bizarre Superstitions from Ancient History


Jan 2, 2023

Whether or not you toss salt over your shoulder or keep away from opening umbrellas indoors, we’ve all received our personal superstitions. Superstitious beliefs are nothing new – people have been abiding by these attention-grabbing beliefs for millennia. Nevertheless, some historic superstitions had been fairly weird in comparison with a few of the ones we’ve at this time. Under are eight of probably the most weird superstitions in human historical past. 

1.    Turkish Chewing Gum Turns to Flesh

Many people like chewing gum, however Turkey has some attention-grabbing ideas about it. Whereas chewing gum in the course of the day is totally acceptable, an outdated superstition in  Turkey claims that gum chewed after darkish turns into the flesh of useless individuals. Clearly, it is a nice superstition to comply with if you wish to break a  chewing gum  behavior. Ew.

May chewing gum remodel into rotting flesh after darkish? Some Turkish individuals have this superstition ( Thor / Adobe Inventory)

2.    Left-Handed? You Might Be Untrustworthy

Historical Romans had widespread beliefs about left-sided issues. This superstition prompt that something on the left-hand aspect was thought of evil, whereas something on the right-hand aspect was secure and good. In truth, the time period “sinister” comes from this superstition, because the Latin which means of the phrase means ‘on the left aspect.’ Even regular experiences, similar to birds flying, abruptly grew to become an evil  omen or dangerous luck if it was carried out to the left. This additionally meant the Romans checked out  left-handed individuals warily, as they had been believed to be untrustworthy or able to evil issues. 

There are documented left-handed hominids back to the Pleistocene era. About 10% of the population seems to have been, and remains, left-handed – but that trait has no impact on trustworthiness. (Juan Palacios / Public Domain)

There are documented left-handed hominids again to the Pleistocene period. About 10% of the inhabitants appears to have been, and stays, left-handed – however that trait has no affect on trustworthiness. (Juan Palacios /  Public Domain )

3.    Goat Meat Makes Ladies Furry

For ladies in Rwanda, consuming scrumptious goat meat comes at the price of having undesirable facial hair. In accordance with this outdated superstition, girls who eat  goat meat will begin to develop hair on their faces and develop a cussed angle. Apparently sufficient, this superstition doesn’t apply to native males, since they have already got facial hair, and are apparently stubborn-natured. Some individuals consider that this superstition originated with some hungry males who merely didn’t need to share their goat meat. 

A Rwandan superstition discouraged women from eating goat meat, lest they grow hairy. It was likely a ploy for the men to keep more for themselves (Public Domain)

A Rwandan superstition discouraged girls from consuming goat meat, lest they develop furry. It was doubtless a ploy for the boys to maintain extra for themselves ( Public Domain )

4.    New Yr’s Grapes Convey Good Luck

In Spain, there’s a widespread perception that grapes are the key to good luck within the new yr. When the clock strikes midnight on  New Year’s Eve , Spaniards will rapidly eat a grape at every clock strike, for a complete of 12 grapes. Every grape is supposed to symbolize a month of the yr, so it’s believed that doing this may convey you prosperity within the upcoming yr. In some areas, in addition they consider that this observe wards off  evil spirits  which will need to hurt you within the new yr. Though this superstition and custom is over 100 years outdated, it’s truly nonetheless practiced at this time!

In Spain and a number of other different nations, there’s a New Yr’s superstition to eat twelve grapes at midnight for good luck (Chris Oakley /  CC BY 2.0 )

5.    Line As much as Twist Your Thumb in a Gap

In case you ever end up in Turkey, you’ll be able to supposedly get some good luck from the  Hagia Sophia  in Istanbul. This big church continuously has guests resulting from its well-known bronze column nicknamed the Wishing Column. These lined up behind the column wait for his or her flip to stay their thumb inside a tiny gap within the column and rotate it clockwise. As prompt by the column’s title, twisting your thumb in there’ll make all of your needs come true. We are able to’t think about it’s notably hygienic, although.  

Rotating one’s thumb in a column of the Hagia Sophia to make a wish is a Turkish superstition (JoJan / CC BY SA 3.0)

Rotating one’s thumb in a column of the Hagia Sophia to make a want is a Turkish superstition (JoJan /  CC BY SA 3.0 )

6.    Use Animal Organs to Predict the Future

Folks have tried to foretell the long run for hundreds of years, however the historic Romans received a bit gross with it. Moderately than trying into crystal balls, they determined to make use of animal entrails to attempt to see the long run. This course of was referred to as  haruspicy and is believed to have originated with the  Etruscans. Animals like oxen, sheep, and chickens can be sacrificed to the gods to create a reference to the heavens. This made the entrails a medium for messages from the gods. 

The tradition of reading entrails may have been developed by the Etruscans. A reproduction of the so-called "Liver of Piacenza", a 3rd century bronze animal liver engraved with the Etruscan names of the deities connected to each part of the organ. (Lokilech / CC BY SA 3.0)

The custom of studying entrails could have been developed by the Etruscans. A replica of the so-called “Liver of Piacenza”, a third century bronze animal liver engraved with the Etruscan names of the deities linked to every a part of the organ. (Lokilech /  CC BY SA 3.0 )

Though many various organs of the animal had been used, historic Romans believed that the liver was crucial a part of the divination course of because it was believed to include the animal’s soul. Every organ was analyzed based mostly on look (easy, tough, shriveled, and many others.), which decided the end result of the divination. 

Whereas solely a  haruspex (a haruspicy skilled) might totally  interpret the which means behind the entrails, there have been some particulars that anybody might search for, similar to a bump on the liver to foretell a positive final result. Each portion of an animal’s entrails was believed to have a deeper which means, so it took somebody with intensive expertise to make full predictions.

Haruspicy was a job based in the superstition of reading entrails. Haruspices interpreting a dream of Julius Caesar, circa 1473 (Public Domain)

Haruspicy was a job based mostly within the superstition of studying entrails. Haruspices deciphering a dream of Julius Caesar, circa 1473 ( Public Domain )

7.    “Rabbit Rabbit” Brings Good Luck

One outdated superstition entails saying the time period “ rabbit” not less than two instances on the primary day of the month. “Rabbit Rabbit” should be stated within the morning of the primary day of the month, in any other case you’ll not get the  good luck  that it brings. In case you neglect within the morning, it’s also possible to say it backward (“Tibbar Tibbar”) at evening to undo any dangerous luck that might come your manner for forgetting. Though some individuals consider this superstition goes again a number of centuries, the earliest printed documentation was present in a 1909 version of the journal  Notes and Queries .

8.    Cross the Child by means of the Cheese Ring

There are many issues individuals do to arrange for a  new baby , however what about making cheese? An outdated medieval superstition required households to mature an enormous cheese wheel for 9 months whereas a lady was pregnant. As soon as the newborn was born, the household would eat the cheese to have a good time, forsaking the cheese rind. The household would then go the new child by means of the cheese rind throughout christening, so it could be gifted prosperity and lengthy life.


Clearly, many people not comply with these unusual superstitions. It’s attention-grabbing to think about the potential origins of those outdated superstitions and marvel what the world would appear to be if a few of these had been nonetheless frequently practiced. May you think about having to go your new child child by means of a cheese ring? 

In case you want some luck this upcoming yr, don’t neglect to stuff your mouth with twelve grapes at midnight on New Yr’s Eve! You by no means know, maybe the Spaniards are onto one thing.

High picture: Cultures around the globe have developed superstitions in an try to convey luck or keep away from ache. Many of those handled peculiar actions and objects, together with goats, grapes and gum!          Supply:  Justinas / Adobe Inventory

By Lex Leigh

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