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Articles on Superstitions

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Though illegal, fortune telling was only sporadically prosecuted. Here, two women set up tents at the 1913 Adelaide Children’s Hospital fete. State Library of SA

Did they see it coming? How fortune-telling took hold in Australia - with women as clients and criminals

In the early 1900s, fortune-telling provided entertainment, social connection and a job for some Australians. Its legal status made criminals of women, yet allowed others entry to the police force.
Knocking on wood may be a holdover from the pagan days of Europe, when tree spirits were believed to bring luck. saiful bahri 46/Shutterstock.com

Why we knock on wood for luck

The curious history of a ritual meant to ward off bad luck.
A Halloween ghost. Werner Reischel/Flickr.com

Why believing in ghosts can make you a better person

Ghost stories are often about the departed seeking justice for an earthly wrong. Their sightings are a reminder that ethics and morality transcend our lives.
What can concealed objects and engraved symbols tell us about our convict past? Ian Evans

These walls can talk: Australian history preserved by folk magic

The discovery of battered old boots, tattered garments, trinkets and dead cats concealed in the walls of historic buildings sheds new light on the lives of Australia's early white settlers.
Serbian villagers fear vampires, but we have our own superstitions in the Anglosphere. Drurydrama (Len Radin)

Vampires and wind farms: mass hysteria can be a pain in the neck

If the latest spate of news stories coming out of Serbia are anything to go by, the tiny and otherwise unassuming village of Zarožje has something of a vampire problem. Local legend tells of Sava Savanovi…

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