If you think about it, all superstitions are weird. I mean, “step on a crack, break your mother’s back?” What’s that all about? Still, there’s weird and then there’s really weird. Like being worried about a fan killing you in your sleep or yoyos bleeding a city dry. So here are ten of the strangest superstitions from around the world. They’re at least as goofy as horseshoes, four-leaf clovers and fuckin’ lucky rabbit’s feet.
Fan Death: In Korea it’s believed that if you leave a fan on in a room with closed windows and doors, it will suck all the air out of the room and the inhabitants will die. The origin is unclear, but it’s been present since electric fans were introduced to Korea in the 1930s. South Korea’s Consumer Protection Board has even issued warnings.
The Number 39: Every culture has its own unlucky numbers. Ours is 13. In China it’s 4. In Afghanistan? Numero 39, which is associated with prostitution. If you have a car with a license plate featuring the number 39 or are trying to rent apartment 39 in a building in Kabul, good luck. Everyone’s going to think you’re a pimp.
White Lighters: If you ever smoked weed in the ’90s, you know that white Bic lighters are considered unlucky. Supposedly Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain all had white lighters on them when they died. Except they didn’t. In fact, the first three were dead before Bic even manufactured white lighters.
Dog Bites: Tens of thousands of people in rural India have reported become pregnant with puppies after being bitten by dogs. It’s supposedly extra risky to be bitten by a sexually excited dog. Victims can “hear” the dogs inside them and “see” them when looking into water. Men will supposedly die during delivery, as the dogs come out through the you know where. Fortunately, witch doctors are on hand with a cure.
Koro: What’s worse? Delivering puppies through your wang or having it retract into your body? The latter is a description of koro. It doesn’t matter how many times a guy measures it, he becomes convinced it’s slinking up inside his body, eventually to disappear. The cures involve killing endangered animals for a single body part. Hooray.
Ravens of the Tower of London: Six ravens have been kept inside the Tower of London since King Charles II… maybe. No one is really sure if that’s true or not. Equally unclear is if Britain will fall if all six ravens die, as legend states. Churchill was concerned enough that he made restocking their numbers during the Blitz a top priority.
Chewing Gum at Night: In Turkey it’s believed that if you chew gum at night, the gum turns into the flesh of the dead. Don’t go in for that kiss in Ankara if your breath reeks of the undead.
Tucking Thumbs: In Japan, it’s customary to tuck your thumbs in when you cross a graveyard. The belief is that this protects parents from death. It has something to do with the Japanese name for the thumb: “parent finger.”
Bird Shit: In Russia, bird shit is considered good luck. On your car, on your house, on your head, it doesn’t matter. The more of it there is, the better the luck is, according to those wacky Slavs. If your car is completely covered in avian crap, fame and fortune are on their way to you.
Yoyos: The city of Damascus is a bit of a miracle. It’s an oasis in the middle of a desert. And boy are the Syrians paranoid about it drying up. As many Syrians believe yoyos are associated with droughts, the government went ahead and banned them throughout the entire country to protect Damascus. It is the capital, after all.