Posted in Freedom Friday


Are you superstitious? Does a black cat crossing your path frighten you? What about stepping under a ladder, does that make your insides tremble? Have you ever broken a mirror and thought, “Great, that’s seven years of my life down the drain?”

Black Cat
Black Cat

Of all the Freedom Fridays that could cause someone to think twice about leaving the house, today being Friday the 13th doesn’t help. Do you know that in Italy, the number thirteen is actually good luck? If you were born on a thirteenth, you’re extremely lucky.

Seriously, though, where did all this belief in good and bad luck come from?

I have a theory. When don’t you have a theory, Jack? All right, all right. You’re right. I have much too many theories. Hear me out on this one. I think by the end of it you will agree I’m not far from being wrong. At least, that’s what I think.

Can you find all the superstitions? [Photo: Jeanne Carmen]
Can you find all the superstitions? [Photo: Jeanne Carmen]
Let’s start with the black cat. Now, I don’t know where the belief of a black cat crossing someone’s path being bad luck came from, and I’m too lazy to look it up. I’m sure it has to do with a coven of witches, a boiling cauldron, and too much time on someone’s hands. I don’t know. But you know what I think? I think some unfortunate soul way back in the later part of the last millennium was taking a walk at night—sorry, an evening constitutional—and met with a black cat. Without warning, a piano fell on him and he died on impact. A witness saw the whole thing and told two friends. It quickly spread throughout town that because of the black cat crossing the man’s path, he died from his injuries. Poor guy, eventually, as the story made its way through the ages, it changed to only include the black cat and bad luck.

Yes, I really believe that. Maybe.

Okay, Jack, what about stepping under a ladder? Good question. Again, many centuries ago, a witness saw a woman having her evening constitutional, blah, blah, blah, she walked under a ladder and as she stepped into the clear a piano fell on her. Coincidence? I think not. The witness told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on. Throughout the centuries, the story became leaner until someone decided it sounded better to simply say that walking under a ladder is bad luck.

Ha, and I’m sure you’re thinking about a broken mirror bringing bad luck for seven years as unexplainable. Well, I have an explanation for that, too. I believe there was a family in some turn-of-the-century town somewhere in the world that just was in the wrong place at the wrong time. One day, the father of six children broke a mirror in his bathroom. As soon as he stepped from his home, a piano fell on him and his wife, leaving the children orphaned. A cousin took note of the tragedy and spread the news about the broken mirror, the piano and the dead couple. Soon after, seven years in total, each of the children had pianos drop on their heads. Strangest thing. One of the victims was on a boat to America when the piano fell on him, sinking the boat and everyone else aboard. Another was sitting quietly in a park when out of nowhere a piano fell on his head. It was awful, just awful. The story eventually made the rounds but somehow all anyone could remember was not to break a mirror in order to avoid seven years of bad luck.

My theory? I think there’s a conspiracy to hide the origin of the celestial pianos. Honestly. That’s why we have so many superstitions. It’s a ploy for the populace to focus on the meaningless as a way to avoid looking up. After all, if we’re not looking up, we can’t see the pianos coming.

You don’t believe me? Walk under a ladder.

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What do you think? Do you believe in pianos falling from the heavens?


Jack Flacco is an author and the founder of Looking to God Ministries, an organization dedicated to spreading the Word of God through outreach programs, literature and preaching.

17 thoughts on “Superstitions

  1. The mirror thing was back when mirrors were so expensive it could easily take years before they would be able to afford another… although some say it’s some junk about souls and what not… and black cats were often considered witches familiars… while ladders are basically triangles which many take as the symbol of the Holy Trinity and by walking through it you’re breaking the triangle… which might actually be the weirdest of the superstitions… I mean really… you’re taking a ladder as the symbol for the Holy Trinity? my thing is it’s just unsafe… and I feel like this post was all in good humor but I couldn’t stop myself from telling you what was up with it all…

  2. I think what throws everyone off of the piano trail is that they (the piano droppers) keep changing piano types. Everything from uprights to baby grands to full orchestra grand. I believe one of your stories there was actually a harpsichord, as pianos weren’t invented, yet.

  3. Maybe it’s a conspiracy by the anti-piano league. They prefer that harps be the centerpiece of many living rooms.

    Looking at those three superstitions, I wonder if it’s simply a lie to get people to be more careful. Specifically, getting mauled by a wild animal (cats aren’t known for being as tame as dogs), knocking over a ladder and causing injuries, and not being rough with things made of glass. Though it’s strange that 13 and 7 are the numbers when both are also seen as lucky in some cultures.

    1. The Chinese believe that the number 4 is unlucky because it symbolizes death, so in many Chinese / East Asian communities across the world, buildings have no specified 4th floor.
      Egyptians WORSHIPED cats ( I don’t know about dogs ), & breaking a mirror COULD be construed as unlucky because a mirror reflected the soul of a person, possibly.

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