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13 superstitions and their origins

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Black cats

Black cats have long been seen in Western cultures as an omen of bad luck — they have long been associated with witches, and many cultures believe that a black cat crossing your path means you will suffer disaster or even death. Gamblers are especially fearful of the black cat curse — many of them believe that if they see a black cat while going to a casino, they should abandon their plans to gamble there. However, it's not all bad news for the black cats; in some cultures, including in Japan, Great Britain and Ireland, the opposite is true, and black cats are seen as bringers of good luck.
© Daniel Buxton/Rex Features
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