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Is This Your Unlucky Day?

Find out how Friday the 13th got its reputation — and the stories behind other popular superstitions

Salt shaker

Cast your lot with salt. — Photo by Guy Cali/Stock Connection/Aurora

Throw salt over your shoulder for good luck

Well, it may not necessarily bring good luck, but it certainly will ward off the bad. That's because of the pagan belief that a devil lurked in back of you to the left. You could diminish his diabolic powers by throwing salt in his eyes. Another superstition holds that merely spilling salt is a bad omen — possibly stemming from the fact that this was once a rare commodity, too precious to be wasted.

Next: Break a mirror and have seven years of bad luck. »

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