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Mirrors

Superstition Bash

csicop.org

January 13, 2004

Breaking a mirror can even make a skeptic shudder for a brief moment! The superstition is an old one and has managed to keep its strength over the years. In fact, many superstitions exist for mirrors but the particular beliefs centering around broken mirrors are the most common today.

Mirrors are thought to have two supernatural abilities:

  1. They bring bad luck
  2. The help tell the future

Before mirrors came along, any reflective surface was considered to be magical and credited with the ability to look into the future. In ancient mythology we can often find the gods and goddesses, as well as mere mortals, looking into the still water to catch a glimpse of their fate. The power of reflective surfaces to captivate and deceive are also featured strongly in such myths as Narcissus and Snow White. Reflective surfaces like shiny metals and mirrors were also used to receive messages from the gods.

Queen Elizabeth's court magician and well-known alchemist, John Dee, used a mirror for scrying. He has been credited with prophesying the plot to kill King James in 1605.

Because mirrors were thought to hold the key to the future, to break one was to shatter your own future. One of the techniques devised to reverse the bad luck was to bury all the pieces deep within the earth. Another superstition for breaking a mirror was that shortly thereafter a family member would die.

Other Mirror Superstitions: