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- In the 1700's you could purchase insurance against going to hell, in London England.
- The Aztec Indians of Mexico believed turquoise would protect them from physical harm, and so warriors used these green and blue stones to decorate their battle shields.
- Black cats are considered lucky in England.
- Long ago, the people of Nicaragua believed that if they threw beautiful young women into a volcano it would stop erupting.
- In medieval times, thunderstorms were believed by some to be the work of demons. So when it stormed, bell ringers would go up into the bell towers to ring the consecrated bells in an effort to stop the storm. This practice didn't always work out well for the bell ringer.
- No one knows where the expression "to grin like a Cheshire cat" originated, but it wasn't with Carroll. The Cheshire cat is a well-known character in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but the expression, meaning a sneering smile that shows the gums, existed long before he wrote the book. There is no such breed of cat.
- Superstition says that the left side is the wrong side of the bed.
- Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love.
- The ace of spades in a playing card deck symbolizes death.
- The dove is considered the symbol of peace.
- Ra was the sun god of ancient Egypt.
- The mythical figure Father Time carries an hourglass and a scythe.
- It's a myth that owls don't hunt in the daytime because they can't see in daylight. It's just that rats and mice, the main items on owl menus, are most active after dark.
- Many sailors believe a cat on board a ship means a lucky trip.
- The mythical Scottish town of Brigadoon appears for one day every 100 years.
- January is named for the Roman god Janus.
- Influenza got its name from that fact that people believed the disease was because of the evil "influence" of stars.
- During the middle ages, it was widely believed that men had one less rib than woman. This is because of the story in the Bible that Eve had been created out of Adam's rib.
- The seven deadly sins (sins serious enough to kill one's soul) are currently anger, envy, pride, sloth, lust, gluttony, and covetousness. They haven't always been so, however. Originally, there were eight deadly sins (as proposed by Avagrius of Pontus). The eight (in order of increasing severity) were gluttony, lust, avarice, sadness, anger, apathy, vainglory, and pride. Gregory the Great later decided that vainglory and pride were too much alike to be counted separately and combined them. He added envy. Later still, the Roman Catholic Church decided sadness wasn't a sin, and added sloth. Somewhere along the way, apathy was dropped as well.
- Hindu men once believed it to be unluckily to marry a third time. They could avoid misfortune by marrying a tree first. The tree (his third wife) was then burnt, freeing him to marry again.
- When christening a ship, instead of using champagne, the Vikings would sacrifice a human being.
- The Vikings also thought the spirits of the murdered person would guide and guard the craft.