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My favourite Strange Superstitions and Beliefs

1. Ringing Bells - During the rein of Queen Elizabeth, it became popular to ring bells to ward away evil spirits, especially those at the foot of the bed as it was said to frighten them away. They were also rung during prayers to guide departed souls.

2. Curse of the Opal Stone - Some people believe opals are evil and unlucky. The superstition stemmed from the best selling novel ‘Anne of Geierstein’ by Sir Walter Scott in 1829 where Lady Hermione was falsely accused of being a demon as she dies shortly after a drop of holy water accidentally falls on her opal jewellery and changes its colour. This book had such an effect on the image of the Opal that shortly after its publication, the Opal market crashed and Opal prices dropped by 50%. Some say it is only bad luck to wear opals if you were not born in October.

3. Counting Crows - Apparently it was once thought that counting crows flying overhead could tell one’s fate. “One’s bad / Two’s luck / Three’s health / Four’s wealth / Five’s sickness / Six is death.”

4. Eye twitches - Though there is not much information about how this English superstition was idealised, it is said that in one of your eyes twitch, you are bewitched.

5. Gravestones -  If you align your gravesite (beforehand!) north-to-south you’re a witch.

6. Domovoi -   A common Russian superstition is that one must never shake hands, kiss, sleep or sit near a threshold such as a door. Thresholds are where brownie-like creatures known as domovoi dwell and kissing or shaking hands is regarded as an offensive invasion of their space.

7. Yellow - In Russia, superstition people believe yellow to be a sad and unlucky colour.

8. Candles - In a candle blows out by itself, especially during rituals, it is a sign that evil spirits are near.

9. Chills - If you get a sudden shiver or chill, it is a sign that someone is walking over your eventual grave.

10. Sparrows - are said to carry the souls of the dead and it is unlucky to kill one.

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The Capaldi Era (14/41)

The Magician’s Apprentice - written by Steven Moffat - directed by Hettie MacDonald