This first major new survey in over a generation, this fascinating exploration of the superstitions of the British Isles not only explains what people have believed over the centuries, and why, but when particular superstitions arose, which parts of the country adopted them, how they evolved, and what people believe today.
Drawing extensively on literary and oral accounts from Roman times to the present, it offers intriguing insights into beliefs and the bizarre rituals that often accompany them, debunks many popular myths, and provides in the process a fascinating sideways view of changing social customs and attitudes.
The most popular superstitions - still widely recognised - are investigated in detail. Is it lucky or unlucky to encounter a black cat? Why should one not walk under a ladder? What will happen if salt accidentally gets spilt?