Superstitions seem pretty stupid if you don’t believe them. The 13th day of the month falls on a Friday at least once a year and statistically, it isn’t any more dangerous than any other day. But when one of them worms their way into your psyche, you have to abide by it—just in case, even if only out of force of habit.
In my case, I lift my feet up off the floor of the car whenever I drive over a railroad track. I don’t hold my breath in tunnels, tap the car ceiling in front of a yellow light, or care about any other automobile superstitions. I know why it started: There was a railroad track just outside the stable where I used to horseback ride and we told each other that if you didn’t lift up your feet, you’d fall off during that ride. This was, of course, patently false. It was proven false over and over again but there was such a specific outcome to be concerned with that I still didn’t want to risk it. Also I am incredibly anxious all the time that if someone makes any overarching positive statements (“It’s going to be a great day!”) that something terrible is going to happen just to spite me for letting my pessimistic guard down.
As far as the rest of Deadspin, here’s what some of them were willing to own up to:
Being silent when passing a cemetery: There are several very particular things that you should never do when you’re passing by a cemetery. You should not joke about death when near a cemetery. You should not talk at all, if you can help it. Most importantly, you should never, ever say the name of someone you love, and most definitely not in anger, because the ghosts who are spiteful and mean will go find that person and terrorize them. This is what someone told me once when I was a kid, and was probably meant to be a lesson on Anger in general, but swiftly became an abided-by superstition as a child, and is now an instinctive habit. The kind that is vaguely embarrassing.
My grandmother once also told me never to walk under a banyan tree with my hair let down, because restless spirits live in banyan trees, and are especially prone to possess women with long hair. This is one of those mythical, regional Indian beliefs rooted in religion—i.e. banyan trees are representative of the Hindu trimurti and, naturally, spirits tend to float their way. Luckily, it is rare that I walk under any kind of tree in New York City, and so I don’t think about this much. —Puja Patel
Repeating the word “bunny” while passing a graveyard: When I was a kid and we passed a graveyard we would hold our breath by saying BUNNY BUNNY BUNNY BUNNY BUNNY BUNNY BUNNY and then RABBIT once we finally got to the end. I don’t say it out loud anymore, but anytime we pass a graveyard, it takes over my brain. BUNNY BUNNY BUNNY BUNNY BUNNY BUNNY BUNNY... RABBIT! FUCKING MADE IT! —Drew Magary, who is also superstitious about knocking on wood and opening umbrellas inside.
The evil eye on airplanes / wedding traditions: Whenever I get on airplane, I make sure to wear something red to protect me from the evil eye. Why I am worried about the evil eye on an airplane and not every other aspect of my life is something I can’t explain. Maybe it’s the fact that being on a flight is a bit like being locked in a room with giant collection of strangers and for goodness sakes I can’t even change my seat. Or maybe it’s my way of feeling ever so slightly more in control, even though I know flying is the safest mode of travel. I have no proof this works, but none of my plans have crashed.
I’m getting married this year, which means at some point my future husband and I will break a glass during there ceremony. Why? What I love about this Jewish “tradition”—(which is totally a superstition but doesn’t it sound cooler when I call it tradition?)—is that like all Jewish traditions there’s no one answer. There’s more like a million. You can Google it, but you’ll go down a rabbithole of answers that all sound kinda right. Like all traditions, really we do it because the people before us did it and it’s a way of connecting back to all the generations before. But if we don’t break the glass we all know it’s bad luck and I’m freaking out just thinking about it to write this. Lord, I hope we pull it off. —Diana Moskovitz
Mirrors: I fear breaking a mirror. There are like three mirrors in our garage, which is full of guitar detritus, and I’m on eggshells when I’m moving around these massive speaker cabinets, cause I don’t wanna find out about that years-long curse. I know I’m gonna smash one and then get hit by a bus. —Anonymous staff writer, who is also superstitious about revealing his fears on the Internet.
Everyone else claimed to not have any superstitions. But we know that’s not true, right? So what’ve you got?