This exhibit space is dedicated to artifacts which showcase the variety of superstitions and "lucky charms" that humankind has believed in and relied upon throughout history. Superstitions, beliefs based on magical rather than rational thinking, are persistent. Most promise either good or bad luck (as from finding a four-leaf clover or a heads-up penny) or misfortune (such as by the breaking of a mirror), and thus they are a reflection of people's hopes and fears. Folk beliefs often vary, and one person's taboo may well be another's boon-- a selective process in either case. Actually, "luck" is randomly distributed and cannot be brought about by charms, rituals, or other non-causal processes. Many people are uncomfortable living in a world of randomness, and superstitions may help them cope.
digitized 2014 by Amanda Shepp, MLS