The Top 5 Most Absurd Superstitions

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It never hurts to have Lady Luck on your side. While you already know certain measures to take in order to keep luck on your side—avoid breaking mirrors, run away from black cats and never walk under a ladder—other superstitions aren’t as well known. These are some of the most absurd ones out there.

5 Patting Buddha’s Belly

If you ever get to Hangzhou’s Lingyin Temple in China, make a special point to see the big Buddha. While you’re there, pat him on the belly to “make him laugh”—that’s a figure of speech, since he’s carved out of stone. Locals believe that the laughing Buddha is supposed to bring good fortune and luck. But don’t worry if you can’t make it overseas. You can get a pint-size Buddha and tickle him all you want in the comfort of your own home. Pat him until you get all the good fortune you need.

4 Sticking With Dirty Laundry

Refusing to wash that one article of clothing to keep your winning streak going is a common—though absurd—superstition. Tennis champ Serena Williams goes through an entire tournament run while wearing the same pair of socks. Former major league pitcher Steve Kline would go an entire baseball season without ever washing his hat. Maybe it’s just the big stink that keeps opposing players away though, not the power of the superstition. Couldn’t hurt to try.

3 The Umbrella Theory

Why open an umbrella outside, after you’re already dripping wet? That’s the proper way to do it if you’re highly superstitious. Opening the umbrella behind closed doors is a big no-no, since it can bring you misfortune. Legend has it that a woman in ancient Rome pried open her umbrella indoors and then her entire house collapsed almost immediately afterwards. Another tale explains how a British prince died within months of accepting a couple umbrellas—inside—from a visiting king. Just to be on the safe side, you might want to wait out the rain or open up your umbrella far away from the building.

2 Kissing the Blarney Stone

The luck of the Irish is a well-known trait. But you too can have your own Irish luck, even if you have zero Irish in your bloodlines. Just make a trip to Ireland, get to the peak of the Blarney Castle and kiss that stone. There’s a trick to it though: You have to kiss it while leaning over backwards, so your head is upside down. Rumor has it if you can master this acrobatic act, you’ll never again be at a loss for words—you’ll have the gift of gab. Maybe that kiss will help you out when it comes time to interview for that new job.

1 Avoiding the Opposite Direction

Retired major league left fielder Kevin Rhomberg was notorious for doing this. Whenever he was in the diamond, he never turned right. Reportedly, his belief was that when you’re running bases, you’re going left. So by only going left during play, he’d be more likely to get to bases—in his mind anyway. Don’t rely too heavily on this superstition; it only helped Rhomberg play in the majors for three seasons.

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