You’ve probably heard your fair share of superstitions growing up; which could be the reason why you still fear stepping on cracks, shattering mirrors, black cats, Friday the 13th, or crossing under ladders. But what if I told you that there are beliefs much macabre than any ol’ superstition that bring a fate worse than bad luck—say, impending death?
Yep, you read that right. These so-called harbingers of misfortune are called bad omens, and although there is no rational evidence to support their genuineness, quite a lot of people still regard them as true, be it for tradition, or entertainment.
There are good omens, though; just like there are good superstitions, ones that bring prosperity. (e.g. four-leafed clover, horseshoes, etc.) But you’re not going to find sunshine and rainbows in this particular list. Nope. Here, we list down 6 Menacing Bad Omens in no particular order.
6) Black Butterfly
It may be odd for something as seemingly innocent and pure such as the cheery butterfly to be considered a bad omen, but in the world of superstitions, it is.
If you come by a black butterfly–especially if it lands in an enclosed room–it is said to be a message that one of your relatives has recently passed away, or may even be the spirit of said deceased relative wanting to bid his/her final farewell. In other versions, it is a giant moth instead.
5) Falling To Sleep
Ah, sleep. One of the most awaited pastimes of most individuals. I mean, who wouldn’t want to snuggle up in their warm, cozy beds and snooze off to dreamland after a hard day’s work? But you better watch what you dream, though.
For if you dream of falling–as in literally falling in your sleep, it could be a sign of death. The most common scenes include falling off a tall tower, a cliff , and even plunging in to the sea.
There is, however, a method of countering this, and that is by taking a piece of wood and gently biting it three times. Do ensure that said piece of wood is tidy and free of anything that may injure you.
In Philippine folklore, three mysterious hooded beings “Kumakatok” are said to roam local neighborhoods, knocking on the doors of unsuspecting people whose housemates are nearing death.
One of the figures seems to be a fair, young lady, while the remaining two resemble elderly men. Other sources claim that they look nothing like humans and only use the hoods to cover their grotesque, unworldly features.
The knocking happens more often after an epidemic due to the massive amounts of ill inhabitants.
The term “Doppelgänger” is of German roots, and was first used in Jean Paul’s novel Siebenkäs. Doppelgängers are paranormal doubles of an individual. Basically, dopplegängers look and sound like you, or may even share the same attitude as you do.
But depending on the place of origin, Doppelgängers can hold devious intentions. Other sources say that coming face-to-face with your doppleganger signifies upcoming doom, or that they seek to replace you.
Here’s another myth from the Philippines. The Santelmo, or Santilmo comes from the Tagalog word “Apoy ni San Elmo” (St. Elmo’s Fire), and is believed to be the spirit of an unfortunate fellow trapped inside a ball of fire.
Its tale varies from place to place, but one seems to be the most common: if a man were to ever drown, his/her spirit would become a Santelmo. Some also believe that unbaptized people will turn into one. If you were to ever encounter one, be wary, for it may bring you devastating luck.
Quite contradictory compared to the interpretation of the weather phenomenon (St. Elmo’s Fire) from which it got its name, as it was usually perceived to be good luck by sailors, although some argue that it is actually bad luck and spawns storms.
1) Headless Shadow
This particular myth used to scare me as a kid. Imagine walking down a dimly lit street, you see your shadow obediently tailing after you as always. Nothing out of the ordinary there, right? A little while later, you dropped your keys.
Of course, you bend down to pick it up, but as you slowly rise up, you’ve come to find that your shadow’s lost its head! In folklore, it’s believed that if your shadow happens to be missing its head, or isn’t casting a shadow at all, death is probably waiting around the nearest corner.
This enigmatic missing head phenomenon also applies to photographs and mirrors. But there is a way of preventing death from happening, and that is to burn the clothes you wore when you witnessed the missing head.
So, this marks the end of our 6 Menacing Bad Omens in no particular order. Whether or not we choose to rely on the supernatural for reasoning, it’s best to remember that you are the sole overseer of your future.