“A Writer’s List of Superstitions” by Bryn Donovan is a great resource for anyone looking for character quirks. While I’m not superstitious, I found a few on the list to which I can relate.
#20 - Unexpected deaths and other bad things come in threes.
The saying that airplane accidents come in threes had always stuck with me because I married a pilot. Once I asked my husband if it was true. His face froze, and he said, “Yes, it’s true. Every pilot knows it, and no pilot wants to talk about it.” Regretting I’d asked, I let the subject drop.
The night his plane went down, the den of our home filled up with people. For whatever reason, I remarked, “That’s two--there’ll be one more.” A young man who worked at the airport at which my husband was based immediately replied, “No, Judy, that’s three.” It seems I’d missed one.
Do I really believe it? To this day, I can’t tell you, but for years afterwards, if I noted two crashes in the newspaper, I wouldn’t have flown on a bet.
#31 - Eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for luck.
Black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day was always a family tradition as I grew up. I usually crack open a can even if I’m eating alone, but it’s not for luck. It’s just the warm feeling that comes when one harkens back to childhood.
#35 - A black cat crossing your path is bad luck.
I’ve been in the car with my mother more than once when she stopped in the middle of the road and turned around rather than drive on where a black cat has just crossed. I don’t know if she really believed it or was just rattling my cage. Me, I’m going where I’m going--black cat or not.
#56 - Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.
I think all children have chanted this old line at one time or another. I remember doing it as I hopped over the spaces left for expansion between sections of a sidewalk. I also remember loving the sound of going over those “cracks” on skates!
Never tell an actor/actress “Good Luck”.
This one isn’t on the list, but I once had a young friend who acted in college productions--and who quickly set me straight: I could send flowers (and please do!), but the card should never, never, never say “Good Luck” but rather “Break a leg”!
Have you ever imbued your characters with a certain superstition?
Do you have any of your own?