Friday, October 13, 2006

31 Days of Halloween - Day 13

This being Friday the 13th, I thought it appropriate to post about the symbol of Halloween most associated with bad luck -- the black cat.

Cats have always been believed to possess magical powers. Most cultures have cats associated with magic and the supernatural in some form. The Druids feared cats believing them to be humans transformed by supernatural forces. They were considered evil spirits and were sacrificed on fires during Samhain to ward off bad luck in the coming year.

In Europe it was believed that witches had familiars which took the form of small animals such as toads, hares, bats, and cats. These familiars would assist the witch in practicing her magic. There's nothing that says that a witch's cat has to be black. There are several documented incidents of alleged witches with cats of other colors, but black has always been associated with evil things.

It's arched back, yellow eyes, hair standing on end, and often screeching face, the black cat is one of the primary symbols of Halloween.

Here are some superstitions associated with cats...

Cats suck out the breath of babies.

To become invisible, make a charm of dried cat bones.

If a cat rubs against you, you can expect good luck.

A ship with a cat on board will never be wrecked.

Never let a cat into a room with a corpse. It may be a demon and turn the dead soul into a vampire.

Fear of cats is called ailurophobia

Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween (fear of festival of the dead)

Phasmophobia - fear of ghosts

Hematophobia - fear of blood

Sciophobia - fear of shadows

Paphophobia - fear of graves

Necrophobia - fear of the dead

Nyktosophobia - fear of the night

Triskaidekaphobia - fear of the number 13

Paraskevidekatriaphobia - fear of Friday the 13th

Some other Halloween superstitions...

Wearing a blindfold, pick a cabbage from the cabbage patch. If it's frostbitten, then watch for bad luck. A clean, healthy cabbage indicates good luck.

Put corn meal by the side of your bed and the ghosts will write your future in it.

Walk into room backwards at midnight on Halloween while looking over your left shoulder, and you will see your future mate.

On Halloween, run around the town square with your mouth full of pins and needles. Come home, look in the mirror, and if you are to be married, you will see your future husband.

Wear a mask on Halloween and you will have good luck all year.


Stephen said...

My black cat has the power to barf up hairballs and wake the kids up. This is for real, no superstitious hocus-pocus.

Steven Altis said...

"Paraskevidekatriaphobia" would be a good title for a movie. It could be all about people who are afraid of going to summer camp because they've seen the 'Friday the 13th' movies too many times.

I said it would make a good title, didn't say it would make for a good movie! : )

Rozum said...

I'd love to see that title on a marquee. Even better would be to hover by the ticket booth and to listen to people trying to pronounce it!