This blog post originally appeared 6/6/2008.
The Reference Department just received a book that I personally believe to be one of the best ever written. The Encyclopedia of Superstitions references traditions and customs common in popular culture (like saying "bless you" to someone who has sneezed) while also giving a nod to some more, shall we say, farfetched beliefs.
•As long as at least one acorn lies on one of your home's windowsills, the house will not be struck by lightning.
•To avoid bad luck, do not wash blankets in months whose names do not contain the letter "r" (May, June, July, and August.)
•Do not pick dandelions! This will cause you to wet your bed!
•You will have bad luck for two years if a strange cat kills your pet canary.
•The best days to cut your fingernails are Monday (brings wealth) and Tuesday (brings health).
•You are about to receive a letter if you sneeze on a Wednesday.
•To get rid of a wart, rub it on a man who has fathered a child out of wedlock without letting him know what you are doing.
•It is lucky to meet a left-handed person, except on Tuesday. This is very unlucky.
Oh! My left foot is itching! Instead of scratching it, I'll just knock on wood.
Webster, Richard. The Encyclopedia of Superstitions. Llewellyn Publications, 2008.