Superstitions/ Open Lines

Hosted byDave Schrader

Superstitions/ Open Lines

About the show

In the first half of the program, host Dave Schrader (email) welcomed well-known voice of occult and esoteric ideas, Mitch Horowitz, for a discussion on the history of superstitions including the popular fear of Friday the 13th. While superstitions are often derided as simply irrational fears, Horowitz argued that such beliefs can also be positive, because they induce a degree of humility in those who believe them. To that end, he observed that superstitions "keep us mindful of the fact that there are machinations in the world that we do not understand." Additionally, Horowitz noted that the bad luck which is usually attributed to superstitions can sometimes have an ultimately beneficial effect on those who experience it. "Bad luck is not necessarily something you want to run away from," he mused, "bad luck can be good medicine."

Regarding superstitions surrounding Friday the 13th, Horowitz marveled that these beliefs are particularly compelling because a fear of the number thirteen can be found in cultures throughout the globe as well as over the course of human history. He theorized that longstanding fears of the number thirteen became connected to Fridays after Jesus was famously crucified on Good Friday and then this association solidified when the Knights Templar were executed on a Friday the 13th. In modern times, the fear of thirteen can be seen in hotels that omit a 13th floor and planes that do not have a 13th row. During his appearance, Horowitz also shared insights into a myriad of other superstitions including strange beliefs surrounding weddings, funerals, and mirrors.


During Open Lines, Phyllis in Harrisburg, Virginia shared her troubling account of the unfortunate events which afflicted her after she used a Ouija Board with a family friend who happened to be a witch. After they used the device, she said, strange things began happening in her apartment such as black smoke creeping across her ceiling. Later, Phyllis would discover that the witch had conjured the spirit in order to torment her due to a family dispute. The grip of this spirit is so powerful, she claimed, that it keeps a constant watch over her family and reports their activities to the witch. "I have sought all kinds of people and they can't help me," she lamented, "and I don't know what to do."

Later in the program, David in Oregon recalled his UFO encounter from twenty years ago. While watching a Seahawks game on a Sunday afternoon, he was frantically called outside by his wife, who had spotted a UFO. David subsequently witnessed a huge, teacup-shaped craft which sported lights circling around it. After circling in the sky in a corkscrew motion, the UFO came to a stop, hovered in the air and then slowly floated away over the horizon. A mystified David ran to his various neighbors to see if they saw the craft, but no one was home to witness it. In the intervening years since the sighting, David said, he has debated whether he saw a genuine ET craft or some kind of secret technology unbeknownst to the general population.

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