Is everyone here? I hope you all survived Friday the 13th. Yesterday was our third Friday the 13th of the year, which is the greatest number of times it can happen in one year. The next year with three Friday the 13ths is 2012, a year which now has yet another reason for people to fear it.
On Friday, February 13th, 2009, I wrote about why Friday the 13th is considered bad luck. There were many possible reasons, none of which sounded very convincing. But it shows that people can be afraid of something without having any idea why.
Now it’s time to talk about another superstition: that breaking a mirror gives you seven years of bad luck. I’m sure there are hundreds of millions of people who believe this. What’s interesting about this one is that not only is the superstition baseless, but what we’ve heard isn’t even the right superstition.
I had always heard that if you break a mirror, you get seven years of bad luck, simple as that. But I later learned that this wasn’t the original superstition. I’ve heard different variations, but I’ll tell you the one that sounds right to me.
The idea is that your reflection contains part of your soul. If you break a mirror while your reflection is in it, that part of your soul dies. But you get a new soul every seven years. So until the end of your current soul’s seven year lifetime, whether that happens in one year or five or whatever, you’ll be walking around with a damaged soul, and you’ll have bad luck.
This means that even if you believe the superstition, breaking a mirror is completely harmless if your reflection isn’t in it at the time. Granted, it usually will be, but it’s good news if you were holding the mirror away from you when you dropped it.
More importantly, you won’t get seven years of bad luck. It’s only until your age reaches the next multiple of seven, when you get a new soul. That’s three and a half years of bad luck on average.
There’s some bad news though. If a mirror breaks while your reflection is in it, you’ll get bad luck even if you weren’t the one who broke it.
Nobody believes in the original version of this superstition, though. At the age of 34 (one year before a new soul), someone will drop a mirror with a sheet draped over it (no reflection), and convince themselves that they’re getting seven years of bad luck.
But also, they’ll be standing in front of a mirror while someone else breaks it, and have no concern at all for themselves, not being aware that it doesn’t matter who breaks the mirror. If they don’t believe in that part, then they don’t have to believe in the other part.
How many people create a self-fulfilling prophecy of bad luck for themselves, because they believe in a superstition that never was?