To many walking under a ladder is bad luck

To many walking under a ladder is bad luck, while to others it is simply unsafe. Some will go so far to say that walking under a ladder is akin to blaspheme, and in the old days being a blasphemer wasn’t very conducive to good health and long life, so accidentally walking under a ladder in a Christian land could be considered very bad luck, indeed. But is there anything to the superstition, and where did the idea that it would bring bad luck come from?

There are a couple of theories about where the “Walking Under a Ladder is Bad Luck” superstition came from. The one mentioned above- that walking under a ladder was akin to blaspheming- comes from the early days of Christianity. Many Christians are believers in the Trinity—that God is made up of three parts, the Holy Father, the Holy Son, and the Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit). Thus, the number three was somewhat sacred, and the triangle was by association also sacred with its three sides. A ladder leaning up against a building was seen as a triangle (the ladder itself making one side, the building wall making up a second side, and the ground connecting the two making the third side.)

Others believe that a ladder against a wall resembles a gallows. Ladders used to be propped up to allow the person being hanged to climb high enough to get to the rope. Definitely not very lucky. Yet a third theory involves the Egyptian belief that if you walk under a ladder, you might accidentally see a god climbing up or down. You could promote the risk of walking under ladders until you are blue in the face, but no one will care. But, add a story, a fable, some emotional connection and people often respond in a different way. No one wants a lifetime of bad luck – that’s a curse!

To walk through this triangle (by walking under the ladder) was seen as breaking the Trinity. The bible talks about the one unforgivable sin being blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, so someone who breaks the Trinity is seen to be in league with the Devil; and once again, being labeled such in the old days of Christianity was a quick way to invite the hangman and witch trials.

Consequently, when you walk through it, you effectively insult the Trinity and attract the devil. Others looked at it as someone climbing the ladder and hanging there self. If the dead wished, they could use the ladder and ascend upward. Ancient Egyptians believed that both good and evil spirits were present in the space that formed in the area between the ladder and the wall that it leaned against. When you take a ladder and lean it against a wall it forms a triangle. Students of esoteric knowledge are aware of that the triangle, as a geometric shape has been regarded sacred since ancient times. Spirits resting in the area between the ladder and wall should not be disturbed. This was the reason why ancient Egyptians avoided walking under ladders. This old belief, which soon became a superstition spread to other parts of the world. “Was there a way to protect oneself from the evil spirits, if one happened to walk under a ladder?” people asked. By placing a thumb between the index and middle finger, people thought they could ward off bad luck. It is still a popular custom today.

In Christian Europe, in the Middle Ages, people who walked under a ladder crossed their fingers on both hands. They looked up to the sky and called upon the sign of the cross to protect them from all evil beings hiding between the wall and ladder. Sometimes, superstitious people would employ the method of spitting to banish the evil spirits. By spitting three times, one for Blessed Virgin, one for the Holy Son, and one for the Holy Ghost, people believed they were be protected from the evil entities that could otherwise take possession of a person’s body and mind. Sometime, during the Middle Ages, a new type of superstition emerged. A leaning ladder was suddenly thought to resemble the gallows. People started saying that if you walked under a ladder, you were playing out your own execution.
In time, the superstition of ladders was altered. People tried to be more optimistic. It was now said that if a person, due to unusual circumstances was forced to walk under a ladder against his or her will, he or she might receive anything wished for. As a symbol, a ladder was considered to represent a person’s spiritual quest as it moves from a lower to a higher level of consciousness. In dreams, a ladder was believed to symbolize that an individual was about to achieve a transition to get a higher state of awareness. Today, the superstition of ladders is still associated with bad luck. According to tradition, if you walk under a ladder you can avoid bad luck through the ladder’s rungs, or cross your fingers until you see a dog. You can also spit on your shoe and keep walking but you must not look down on your shoe until the spittle has dried, or you can walk backwards, out from the ladder, the same way you came in. On your way back you should make a wish. If you are superstitious and fear walking under ladders, now at least you know the story behind this old belief.

Many folks altered the superstition to state that if a person was, through unusual circumstances, forced to walk under a ladder against his or her will, he or she might receive anything wished for. This is much preferable to the superstition that to tread under a ladder is to foreshadow one’s being hanged. The ladder vision or dream for Christians and Jews is the one received by Jacob at Bethel when he perceived angels descending a ladder and giving assurance to him that he would be the chosen vessel to extend the Jewish people into a great nation ( Genesis 28:11-19). Since that seminal experience, dreams or visions of ladders have been associated with communication with a higher source or with the rites of passage. Ancient Egyptians believed that both good and evil spirits were present in the space that formed in the area between the ladder and the wall leaned against it. Some people of esoteric knowledge are aware of that the triangle, as a geometric shape has been regarded sacred since ancient times. They also believed spirits are resting in that area between the ladder and wall and that they should should not be disturbed. After a while, it was suddenly started to be thought to resemble the gallows. In time, the superstition of ladders was altered. People tried to be more optimistic. It was now said that if a person, due to unusual circumstances was forced to walk under a ladder against his or her will, he or she might receive anything wished for.
As a symbol, a ladder was considered to represent a person’s spiritual quest as it moves from a lower to a higher level of consciousness. In dreams, a ladder was believed to symbolize that an individual was about to achieve a transition to get a higher state of awareness.
Today, the superstition of ladders is still associated with bad luck. According to tradition, if you walk under a ladder you can avoid bad luck through the ladder’s rungs, or cross your fingers until you see a dog.
You can also spit on your shoe and keep walking but you must not look down on your shoe until the spittle has dried, or you can walk backwards, out from the ladder, the same way you came in. On your way back you should make a wish. Most were sentenced to death by hanging the from the topmost rung of the ladder. The space beneath the ladder came to be haunted by the spirits of the dead criminals. So unfortunately, it was considered bad luck to walk under a ladder as a triangle was like a house of spirits and ghost and best remained undisturbed. In medieval times, it was a common belief that walking under a ladder was like inviting your own death as the ladder resembled the gallows. Speaking it may be considered bad luck to walk under a ladder as you may be exposing yourself to the risk of something dangerous falling form above. It could be some objects, implements or any hazardous elements such as paints or acids. Some superstitions are generated to keep people away from committing mistakes. As such walking under a ladder , may not be bad luck after all but pure common sense to avoid being hurt in case the ladder fell on someone or sometimes something. Another reason could be that while walking under the ladder, the person may accidentally touch the ladder which may pose risk to person over the ladder. There’s also the belief that the ladder represented the Holy Trinity in Christian theology. According to legend, if one were to walk underneath a ladder in this version of the myth, it meant that the person has ultimately sinned against the Holy Spirit, and that said sin would never be forgiven. There are many versions as to how you can undo your bad luck if you ever happened to walk underneath a ladder. One version of the myth entails that you go back through the ladder, while other versions say you wait at the spot until a dog walks by. It may be bad luck to walk under a ladder for a variety of more practical concerns. First off, if a person is on the ladder, a walk under it might endanger either person; some ladders are not particularly safe. Second, a ladder up to a roof might suggest people are working on a roof. Walking under the ladder might endanger the person on the ground if things fall off the roof. Even walking near a site where people are working above is somewhat fraught with danger. People can and have been injured by things dropping from overhead.
Though Christianity claims the superstitious origins that to walk under a ladder is bad luck, truly good sense makes it a dangerous practice. It could be supposed by the most superstitious that those who perform this action are encouraging bad luck. Bad luck might come in the form of having things dropped on one’s head. However, no one has said much about the bad luck of being knocked off a ladder if a person jostles it while walking under it. This is one superstition that probably should be observed, not so much for its religious origins but for its good sense value. This superstition really does originate 5,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. People developed a belief that walking beneath a ladder could bring about their own death by hanging – or perhaps by being crushed to death by a cadaver.