Most people will not admit to being superstitious. Maybe that’s because the definition of a “superstition” is an unreasonable belief based on ignorance or fear, or both. Nobody wants to appear ignorant or fearful. Yet you will find well-educated, very successful people who will not walk under a ladder or who will bury the pieces of a broken mirror or who throw salt over their shoulders if salt is spilled. You’ll find people who, if a black cat crosses their path, turn around and go home or take another route to their destination.
Black cats are somehow associated with evil, with witches, and even with illness. Black cats have been blamed for everything from a run of bad luck to the plague and all of the wrongs of the world.
Actually, superstitious beliefs vary from country to country and even from region to region. Having a black cat cross your path in England or Japan is said to bring “good” luck, but having a black cat cross your path in America and some other European countries is believed to bring “bad” luck.
Having a black cat cross your path is not the only superstition that is based on black cats:
* In Scotland, it is believed that a strange black cat on your porch brings prosperity.
* Italians believe that when a black cat sneezes, all who hear it will have good luck.
* Egyptians believe that the life-giving rays of the sun are kept in the eyes of a cat at night.
* In Ireland, killing a cat brings 17 years of bad luck.
* In America, it’s “bad” luck to see a white cat at night, but “good” luck to dream about a white cat.
Ancient Egyptians worshiped cats, and anyone who killed a cat was executed. During the Middle Ages, when witches became a concern, the black cat was linked to witches and to Satan. Some believed that a witch has the power to transform herself into the form of a black cat, so the notion that a black cat that crossed your path was actually a disguised witch was born.
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