Did you walk under a ladder today?

Walking under a ladder is supposed to bring bad luck. It’s, of course, a well-known superstition.

Many will think superstitions are pure rubbish.

But if you were walking along the pavement and came across a ladder leaning against the wall, what would you do?

I walked around it.

It took two extra steps. But those steps gave me peace of mind. Just in case …

I’m not sure where this particular taboo came from. Perhaps it’s just a practical thing. If someone was painting on top of that ladder then there’s a danger of some of it dripping on you. Or perhaps you might knock the ladder and send the whole thing crashing down.

But many superstitions have symbolic origins. Opening an umbrella indoors is inviting bad luck because there is no reason for it to rain indoors, unless something terrible occurs.

For many, superstitions are just something to laugh at.

But others take them quite seriously.

Sometimes too far.

Take the example of the lawyer who threw his house mate out for no other reason than because he thought his house mate brought him bad luck. Or the case of the mother killing her baby because she thought the baby was an evil spirit.

Here superstition and mental illness come together.

If having black dog means depression, then I’d venture that the black cat means mental illness.

Did a black cat cross your path today?