Don't let Black Friday put a spell on you
IF YOU are spooked by Black Friday then gird your loins, cross your fingers and knock on wood - there will be three of them this year, starting today.
For most of us Black Friday is just a bit of fun; a day to wear black and throw a spooky party, tempt fate by deliberately walking under a ladder or spill salt and not throw a single pinch of it over your left shoulder.
But for some folk, it's no laughing matter.
Bad luck abounds.
Bad things happen.
Wikipedia says 17-21 million people in the United States are so crippled by fear of Friday the 13th they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed.
Black cats and broken mirrors give them a cold sweat.
Many superstitions stem from the same human trait that causes us to believe in monsters and ghosts: when our brains can't explain something, we make stuff up.
So if you want to play it safe today, and on March 13 and November 13 this year, here are 13 common superstitions to keep in mind:
13. Beginner's luck.
12. Find a penny, pick it up... And all day long you will have good luck.
11. Don't walk under that ladder!
10. Black cats crossing your path. Perhaps because cats are associated with witches.
9. A rabbit's foot will bring you luck - talismans and amulets are a time-honoured way of fending off evil.
8. Bad luck comes in threes.
7. Careful with that mirror - according to folklore, breaking a mirror is a sure-fire way to doom yourself to seven years of bad luck.
6. 666 - Three sixes in a row give some people the chills. It's a superstition that harks back to the Bible. In the Book of Revelation, 666 is given as the number of the "beast," and is often interpreted as the mark of Satan and a sign of the end times.
5. Knock on wood.
4. Make a wish on a wishbone.
3. Cross your fingers.
2. No umbrellas inside... And not just because you'll poke someone's eye out. Opening an umbrella indoors is supposed to bring bad luck.
1. Friday the 13th. If you're not scared of Friday the 13th, you should be scared of the word used to describe those who are - friggatriskaidekaphobics.