Tuesday, June 5, 2012

7 Lucky Symbols

Here's my audio show on 7 lucky symbols, there meanings, and history.

Bloody Mary

    Some of my friends and I cramped ourselves into a small bathroom in my friend's House when we were young. We ended up saying Bloody Mary (more like chanting it)waiting for anything to appear. Most of us got to scared and were screaming and before anything could appear we knocked each other down trying to get out of the bathroom and then I flipped on the light. And everything was better. Many people have the same experience my friends and I had while growing up.

    Bloody Mary is the children's game of summoning an evil and vengeful witch of the same name. This is done by standing in a bathroom, with one candle lit and calling the name "Bloody Mary" into the mirror three times in a row.
It is only the bravest of children who would attempt to participate in this game.
  • eyes being ripped out by the witch.
  • found with claw marks all over body.
  • disappear mysteriously from the bathroom and end up in the mirror with the witch for eternity.
  • view the horrifying image of the witch appear in the mirror.
  • driven insane or dropping dead on the spot at the appearance of the witch in the mirror.
  • suffer terrible claw marks all over face.
  • Calling out "I stole your baby Bloody Mary" into the mirror.
  • Calling out "I killed your baby Mary Worth" into the mirror.
  • Calling out "I believe in Mary Worth" into the mirror.
  • Turning around between one to one hundred times in front of the mirror.
  • Blowing the candle out and calling out to summon the witch in the dark.
  • Mary Worth
  • Mary Whales
  • Hell Mary (for the appearance of Satan)
  • Bloody Mary Worth
  • Mary Worthington
  • These names are not so commonly used. The main name used is Bloody Mary.

    The most common story told is that Mary Worth was a witch that lived over 100 years ago who dabbled in the black arts. She was found out and executed. However this does not tie in with a child or baby which is often mentioned in the ritual of summoning her.

    The most common story told is that Mary Worth was a witch that lived over 100 years ago who dabbled in the black arts. She was found out and executed. However this does not tie in with a child or baby which is often mentioned in the ritual of summoning her.

It is believed that by taking part in this game, and summoning the witch, it would have 

one of the following terrible consequences:

Some variations of the game are:

There are also variations on the name Bloody Mary:
    The history of the children's game Bloody Mary is a difficult one to extract from the large amount of mixed up legends and history that over the years has become the main basis for the story surrounding the game.
The other story accompanying the ritual is a local woman was involved in a fatal car accident nearby, her face horribly mutilated. She reappears in the mirror when summoned with that same horrific face.

    It is largely believed that the origins of the names "Mary Worth" and "Bloody Mary" came from a slight mix up of characters from history. There is a lot of speculation as to the names being taken from Mary I, Queen of England who reigned during the Tudor period. Mary Tudor was also commonly known as "Bloody Mary".
Her nickname of "Bloody Mary" became attached to her when she violently executed and burnt people at the stake for heresy throughout her reign of a little over 5 years.
She also was unable to bear children and suffered two phantom pregnancies, this is where it is speculated that the Bloody Mary game involving chanting "I stole your baby" or "I killed your baby" became tangled up with the now known Bloody Mary game.

    One thing we do know for sure is that the ritual of spinning and chanting has evolved from quite a long time ago, when young girls participated regularly in rituals such as this to find who they would marry and when they would marry. There is also the addition of mirrors which were known as being portals to another world, especially during Victorian times. 

Wishful Thinking

    The wishbone is the third member of the great Euro-American lucky charm triumvirate, the other two being the horseshoe and the four-leaf clover. Sometimes called the "merrythought" in the British Isles, the wishbone is a bone overlying the breastbone of fowl, but most especially the chicken and the turkey. It is the custom to save this bone intact when carving the bird at dinner and to dry it over the stove or by the fire or air dry until it is brittle.

    Once the wishbone is dry, it is given to two people, who pull it apart until it cracks and breaks, each one making a wish while doing so. The person who gets the bigger half of the wishbone will have his or her wish come true. If the wishbone breaks evenly, both parties get their wishes. In some families it is said that the wish will only come true if it is not revealed to anyone.

    In its intact form, the wishbone itself does not confer good luck, but it holds the promise of luck to the one who gets the bigger half. Because of its association with conviviality and festive dinners, the wishbone has a long history of use in holiday cards. The wishbone is found on numerous good luck postcards of the 1906-1918 era.

    In the 1930s, the wishbone was a common image on North American good luck coins and one could even buy little gold or silver wishbone charms; but by the 1990s it, like that other "dead animal part," the rabbit foot, had fallen out of favor with the makers of lucky amulets.

Here are some more links that show pictures of wishbones and tell the story of how valuable they were in the early years:

Heads Up!

      "Find a penny, pick it up. All day long, you'll have good luck." This common rhyme refers to an old superstition, and like many superstitions, it has many variations and the reasoning behind those variations are also numerous. Reasons why finding pennies brings good luck range from early beliefs about where metal came from to the notion that money symbolizes power.
Bad things can happen to good people when they least expect it. As a result, people tend to fall back on ancient rituals that seem to ward off disaster. That is, they believe in superstitions. Many superstitions seem to revolve around the struggle between good and evil, and these rituals were designed to swing the balance onto the side of good. Finding a penny and picking it up is a relatively new spin on an old superstition. Many years ago, people believed that metal was a gift from the gods, given to man for protection against evil. That developed into the notion that metal brings good luck. In fact, this idea is partially represented in the practice of hanging horseshoes over their doorways, wearing charm bracelets, and carrying good luck coins. The old wives’ tale of putting a penny in the shoe of a woman on her wedding day comes from a Victorian rhyme: "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in your shoe." These superstitions were all requests for good luck for the bride. Perhaps because finding a penny was easier than finding a silver sixpence, people made a substitution. Now the saying concludes, "and a lucky penny in the shoe." The penny was intended to be worn in the shoe of the bride to ensure that the newly married couple would always have wealth. The tying of metal cans behind a newlywed couple’s car is another version of the superstition that metal protects and brings wealth.
The saying, "Put a penny wrapped in paper, keep it to avoid your debtors," is another way that metal was thought to bring wealth. Finding a penny is still considered good luck, but some variations of the old wives' tale includes the position of the penny. If the penny is found heads up, it brings good luck. If it is found heads down, it brings bad luck. If the finder gives it to a friend, while it is face down he passes the luck on to someone else and
doesnt recieve the bad luck!

A Touch of Luck

    There are a number of curious gestures and sayings in our modern society that leave us scratching our heads. We have old England to thank for the peculiar practice of crossing our fingers for luck.

    Witches, ghosts, and other supernatural ghouls were very real to people living in the 16th century. Illnesses and bad luck were blamed on these evil forces. Faith in the power of the Christian cross, therefore, was strong. A cough, a sneeze, or even a mention of a cold (thought to be a sign of the plague) was reason enough to cross yourself. The proper way to make the sign of the cross involves four steps -- touch the forehead, heart, left shoulder, then right shoulder with you right hand.
When a suspected witch crossed your path, you could make a cross shortcut by crossing your index and second finger or the index fingers of both hands. This would provide protection and ward off the evil influence. Just like in Dracula movies, it was believed the power of the cross or any religious talisman would combat the forces of darkness. People also wore crosses or carried their Bibles in case they happened upon a nefarious being. A clove of garlic worn around the neck was ammunition against werewolves and bad spirits, and both peasants and nobles attached bells known as "bezants" to their garments, hoping the sound would scare away evil spirits.

     Though many of these beliefs have slowly died, the gestures they inspired have lived on. Let's face it, in today's scary world, we need all the luck we can get. If crossing your fingers, carrying a rabbit's foot, hanging a horseshoe, or rubbing a lucky penny helps you through the day, more power to you!

Here is a link to a website that explains how different cultures view crossing the fingers and also what crossing the arm, and legs also means: http://www.seiyaku.com/customs/fingers-crossed.html.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Step on a Crack........

Did you finish the title in your head? Well, here’s one that everyone knew to chant while walking down the sidewalk:

Step on a crack, you’ll break your mother’s back.

This has been recorded in print since at least the late 19th century, often with a few additions:

Step on a line, break your mother’s spine.
Step on a hole, break your mother’s sugar bowl.
Step on a nail, you’ll put your dad in jail.

So the thing to step on here is probably a bowl. Everything else will kill people or, at least, uproot your life considerably. One can survive the loss of a sugar bowl. Health nuts will even say that you’ll benefit from it.

Stepping on cracks has long been subject to superstition. In addition to the danger of breaking your mother’s back, a 1905 book, Superstition and Education, lists several other grim superstitions: that if you step on a crack, you will have bad luck, or that you will not get a surprise at home that you otherwise would. These are all, in any case, some of those superstitions that no one really believes. While the good luck brought from a penny can be debatable, most kids figure out right away that people who step on cracks in the sidewalk don’t come home to dead mothers and don’t get chased by bears!

Here's a Yale journal that was done on the superstition on breaking your mothers back, Read it for an interesting racial side to the old rhyme: