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Cassell Dictionary of Superstitions by David…
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Cassell Dictionary of Superstitions (1995)

by David Pickering

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468135,447 (3.82)1
People around the world and throughout history have always held arcane beliefs to try to gain understanding and control over a mysterious world. This entertaining and educational reference describes why actors shout "break a leg" to each other for good luck, and consider any word of encouragement before a performance to be a curse. The entry on baseball players explains why they never mention a no-hitter while it's in progress, and why they carefully place their gloves in the field for good luck. Other sections describe customs involving hundreds of animals and birds, rocks and plants, foods and occupations, sleeping and sexual activities, all believed to possess the power to bring doom or fortune. Besides the many entries about superstitions, taboos, and fears, there are sections on traditional rhymes and chants, as well as the uses of potions and rituals that are employed to avoid harm and master the future.… (more)

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Interesting stuff. I think it'd be more interesting if there were more dates, such as when certain superstitions were in their prime and that sort of thing. It often makes it sound like a lot of the superstitions are followed religiously by everyone in an entire country all the time, and I know for a fact that can't be true. There were also certain superstitions that could've been detailed a little more, I feel like.

But who knew so many things could be used to see a vision of your future lover. ( )
  BrynDahlquis | Feb 28, 2016 |
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Superstition continues to flourish around the globe even in the most technologically advanced societies.
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The Cassell Dictionary of Superstitions provides a fascinating overview of an astonishingly diverse range of popularly held fears and disbeliefs. Many are still familiar and widespread. Others now belong firmly to the past, but are intriguing nonetheless for the insights they offer into human preoccupations and taboos.

Entries are arranged alphabetically by subject and vary from brief accounts of the superstitions related to specific daily tasks, medical ailments, plants and animals, to expansive discussions of wider topics, such as the weather, aphrodisiacs, childbirth and death. The paraphernalia of superstitions are also discussed: the extraordinary array of amulets, talismans and charms that people have used intheir attempts to ward off bad luck or bring about good fortune. In addition, many traditional rhymes and chants are included, ranging from couplets to be chanted to avoid the dangers of being bewitched, to spells that may be tried in the hope of gleaning information about the future.

An entertaining read, as well as an invaluable reference source, the Cassell Dictionary of Superstitions will prove compelling to anyone interested in folklore and popular culture.

A fascinating and comprehensive A—Z guide to the world of superstitions, which reveals among other things:
*Why the oak tree is associated with supernatural powers
*How mirrors came to be used to detect witches
*Which days of the week are popularly regarded as lucky
*When cobwebs were utilised in folk medicine
*Who the Seven Whistlers were

Informative and entertaining, the Cassell Dictionary of Superstitions forms an indispensable guide to a vast range of popular taboos and beliefs, both ancient and modern.
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