Looking into Medieval Superstitions
Interestingly, some of the things people are wary of today actually came out of medieval superstitions. During the Middle Ages, Medieval England was ruled by strong religious beliefs but also myths and superstitions. While some of these seem interesting, others are just weird but regardless, whether true or not they are a part of history to be appreciated and respected.
We wanted to provide you with a look into medieval superstitions that most people still talk about or conduct research on to find out more information.
- God Bless You – How many times have you heard someone say those words to another person upon sneezing or how many times have you said them? This common phrase is something we hear all the time whether the person is religious or not. When it comes to medieval superstitions, this one continues to be seen in today's world. Believed that when a person was in a vulnerable state such as sneezing an opening was made for the devil to enter the body, it was believed that saying those words provided protection.
- Black Cats – Of course, everyone knows about the medieval superstitions specific to black cats but in truth, there are several. These were born from the connection between black cats and witchcraft from the Middle Ages, a time when witch hunts were common. One of the superstitions was that injuries sustained by cats could be passed onto the witch owner, seen as a limp or loss of limb. Because of this, people thought that witches and black cats were one in the same, which led for the call of all black cats to be killed, as well as people suspected of practicing witchcraft. What makes this so fascinating of all medieval superstitions is that even today, a number of animals shelters around the country will not let black cats be adopted out near Halloween.
- Tower of London – Another one of the better known medieval superstitions is that ravens from the Tower of London were ever to leave, the Monarchy, Kingdom, and the White Tower (the original London of Tower) would all fall to destruction. Therefore, Charles II mandated that a minimum of six ravens would stay in the tower at all times, something still done today.
- Salt Splitting – Have you ever seen someone toss salt over the shoulder for good luck? In truth, this is another of the medieval superstitions that has withstood time although it has changed slightly. Originally, salt during the Middle Ages was very expensive although commonly used in a number of medicines. Salt was also considered pure with an important place in Christianity. Therefore, by “splitting salt”, the substance was made impure so it could be used to create different medicines. To accomplish this, the salt had to be tossed over the left shoulder where it would go directly into the eye of evil spirits causing the disease for which the medicine would be made.
With so many additional medieval superstitions, legends and beliefs were adopted all over the world that still exists. Many of these superstitions involved some form of religious reference, perhaps associated with incantations, medical spells, potions, and more. Since religion was at the heart of peoples’ lives at this time, this would be expected. However, with the level of knowledge that people have today, it is quite interesting that so many still believe the exact superstitions from long ago, or variations or those superstitions.