How Superstition has Evolved Since the 19th Century

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Have you ever pondered why people conceive black cats as being unlucky or knocking on wood as good luck? Have you also been barraged by people saying “bless you” when you sneeze? These things are called superstition. Superstition is myths that have passed on for centuries. Superstition can also die off by being proven incorrect. Superstition has been around since the Ancient Egyptian times. We still use some superstitions that are from that time. One superstition is that it is bad luck to walk under a leaning ladder.

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The original reason that this superstition was used is because the triangle was said to be a sacred thing. The triangle was sacred because it was a representation of the trinity of the gods and when you walked through a triangle, you were disrespecting the trinity of the gods. When you made the ladder lean against the wall, it made a right triangle so they thought it would bring you misfortune if you walk under it. Superstitious behavior has even been around since Mesopotamian times. The superstitions back then were very tedious. One superstition from back then was that if you spilled any salt, you needed to throw a pinch over your left shoulder or else you will have terrible luck for the rest of your lifetime. The reason for this was because people cherished salt. This superstition eventually died off. While some superstitious behaviors have died off, some superstition has evolved in America since the 19th century because of technological advances, better education, and more research.

Technology has been a very important part in the evolution of superstition. It helps us do certain things we could not do when there was no such thing as a computer. Today technology advancements help us see things we could not even think about seeing when there was no technology. In the 1900s the first computer was invented. This computer was called ENIAC or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer. This computer was only used to speed ballistic calculations in the U.S. Army in the year 1943. The ENIAC was a stellar progression in technology and made superstition look like a thing from the past because this advancement was the start of all working computers today. One more thing that made superstition look like it was a thing from the past was the microscope. With the microscope you could see if a superstition was truthful. For instance the microscope disproved the superstition in where you could have cured a wart with a dead cat. They could see if the wart was going down when they put the superstition into effect. They saw that nothing happened, so they got rid of the superstition you can remedy warts with a dead cat.

Even though superstition is inherited from ancestors, education has destroyed most of the superstitions that were on the line of ludicrous and cretinous. The education that is still becoming more sophisticated will most likely be able to eliminate superstition. The cause that superstition is still a component of our lives is because we could not confute the common superstitions. The number 13, black cats being ill-fated, breaking a mirror, wandering under ladders being jinxed, or even saying “Bless You” when somebody sneezes are all examples of superstition that everybody will use in their regular life. When people had a lack of education, unlike today, they would use superstitions as atrocious as thinking you will die if you hear a dog howling. People back in the 19th century even thought you could use a bean to heal warts. Education has eliminated these superstitions.

There has been extensive research that has gone into superstition. Scientists have researched why we come up with superstition, why we believe in superstition, and how superstition was made. Few people think they are superstitious, but everybody is superstitious. Every day, we say “bless you” because it is a habit. We say this because when the bubonic plague was still around in ancient Rome, Pope Gregory I said that if you said “God bless you” after a sneeze would protect the person from death. This is an example of a superstition that “Non-Superstitious” people use almost every day. Researchers explained that we believe in superstition because it is said to reduce anxiety and provide a sense of control. The reason we use superstition is that we think it will help us predict what will happen in our environment.

Superstition has been evolving and will evolve for the next couple of hundreds of years. In the next 50 years most superstition will disappear. The cause for this is because of our more sophisticated education, technological advances, and research on the superstitions. Superstition will most likely never be eliminated. People will most likely never forget about all the superstitions we have used in the past.

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How Superstition Has Evolved Since the 19th Century. (2019, Dec 20). Retrieved from