Superstitions are beliefs and practices that are not based on rational thought. In most cases these beliefs involve causal relationships. For example, a hockey player might believe that his victories hinge on wearing a particular shirt or pair of socks at every game. Other common superstitions involve ways bad luck can be avoided or brought on. For example, someone who spills salt is told to throw some of it over his or her shoulder to avoid bad luck, while others are told not to walk under a ladder or break a mirror lest these actions bring bad luck. Skeptics not only dismiss such beliefs, but they argue that superstitions are responsible for people’s belief in magic, witchcraft, and other paranormal phenomena whereby practitioners think that they can affect the physical world simply by performing certain rituals or saying certain words.


  • magic and spells;
  • witchcraft


The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning

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