e-mail newsletter
arts and expressions
about SNN
magazine archives


Black Cats and Broken Mirrors
By: Rachel G., St. Kevin's Elementary School, Goulds, NF

You're walking down the road and a black cat happens to cross your path. Do you take 12 steps backward feeling relieved that you've warded off all evil or do you just continue on and think of it as a cute little kitty?

Some people let superstitions like this one control their lives and others are entirely anti-superstitious. But to know what you are, first you need to know exactly what superstition is. According to, superstition is defined as "an irrational belief that an object, action or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome". Why irrational? Religions from other countries have what we refer to as heresy as part of their doctrine.

Some people believe in certain superstitions and not others. Here are a few:

One of the most common superstitions is that if a black cat crosses your path, it's considered bad luck. Although, if you discover a black and white cat on your journey, you will supposedly have good luck. You can ward off the adversity by reversing your trail by 12 steps.

An itchy body part can signify various events. An irritated ear could mean someone's talking about you and a tingling nose anticipates you kissing a fool. You'll meet someone new if you have to scratch your right palm.... although an itchy left palm may mean you will become a millionaire because a fortune is coming.

It's possible some people may be caught retracing their steps if they proceed under a ladder or step on a crack. It's capable of meaning bad luck or even breaking your own mother's back! Have you at any time, opened an umbrella inside your house or at a mall? Be prepared for the aftermath; it means bad luck. If you break a mirror, there's nothing you can do. During the following seven years, you'll have bad luck you can't manipulate.

Lastly, probably the most common superstition is the unlucky Friday the 13th. A number of people believe that if the thirteenth of the month falls on a Friday, you're doomed. This myth derives oddly enough, from the bible. Twelve is believed to be lucky (ex, 12 disciples) so the number after it, was cursed. Various people avoid anything in thirteen. Some architects steer clear of erecting buildings with 13 floors and mothers refrain from having 13 children. Scientifically, the fear of 13 is referred to as "Triskaidekaphobia".

Despite the many misfortunes that are associated with superstition, there are also many articles that are believed to bring good luck to the bearer. Carrying a rabbit's foot in your pocket all the time or picking up a penny off the ground will surely bring good fortune; if you pass it on. Four-leaf clovers and horseshoes are also considered of great value if you want good luck.

Scientists have proven that sometimes bad luck happens to people who see a black cat or believe in bad luck on Friday the 13th, but only because they focus on it. They concentrate only on bad things and actually make the misfortunes happen to them. It's really unfortunate that this happens but that's life.

Whether you throw salt over your shoulder after you spill it or purposely break a mirror to show your friends how stupid superstitions are; we all have to deal with each other's beliefs. I personally think it's a little ridiculous but some people I know are very superstitious and even though in some cases I feel the need to laugh, I respect their view.

So as you walk down the road beware of black cats, avoid Friday the 13th, watch out for cracks, and be sure to pick up those pennies!

Back to Front Page

Back to Workshop Articles