(WYTV)- Let’s look at the origin of some superstitions.

Black cats are bad omens.

In the 13th century, Pope Gregory IX waged a culture war on pagan symbols and he said cats were the servants of Satan, especially black cats. People all over Europe started killing cats, with no enemies, rats began began to flourish and then carry the bubonic plague, in other words, cats had their revenge.

Don’t walk under a ladder: a ladder leaning against a wall forms a triangle…some ancient Christians believed that any triangle represented the Holy Trinity, and disrupting one could summon the Evil One.

Holding your breath when passing graveyards: children in North America and Europe held their breath for fear they’d breathe in the souls of the recently departed. A common British and French belief held that the keeper of the graveyard held the soul of the last person buried in it…whether he liked it or not, that soul wasn’t freed until the next person was buried.

Break a mirror and see seven years of bad luck…many ancient cultures agreed: your reflection holds a piece of your soul. Why seven years? The ancient Romans held that the human body and soul fully regenerate every seven years, fracture your soul and suffer until your soul is renewed again.

And say “God bless you” after a sneeze. We look to another pope for this one.

During a plague in the sixth century, severe sneezing often meant sudden death was close.
A desperate Pope Gregory I asked Christians to say “God bless you” every time someone sneezed, to protect their souls.