Superstition is as much a part of life as eating cereal for breakfast, whether we want to admit it or not. Instead of throwing people in ponds to see if they’re witches or crossing ourselves as we pass by graveyards at night, we confront our superstitions more subtly. Most everyone I know has had a “lucky” object at some point in their life, and many people still “knock on wood” to cancel out words of bad luck. I suppose I’ve always been a little more superstitious than my peers, the first to throw spilled salt over my shoulder and the last to look in a mirror in the dark. I know that saying “rabbits rabbits rabbits” as soon as I wake up on the first of the month is supposed to bring me money, accidentally killing a bird is a bad omen, and saying the name of the Scottish play while in production will bring woe to the theatre. Well, I suppose I don’t really know if adhering to superstition will do anything at all. That seems to be the grey area for all of us; we don’t want to risk the seven years of bad luck from breaking a mirror, and if a four-leaf-clover can really help us, then there’s no harm in carrying one around.
A story in Artful Dodge 42/43, “Los Gatos Bus,” explores another kind of superstition: the sight, or a sixth sense. In this story by Kathryne Kulpa, a husband and wife sitting at a bus stop have an interesting conversation with a batty old woman who seems to have intuitions about them. When the wife goes to make a phone call, the old woman confides in the husband that his wife has “the black” on her and does not have long to live. This leads the husband and the reader to wonder if the woman is making things up or if her words have some sense. Can there be sense in superstition? Overall, the story provides a subtle but engaging commentary on the superstitions and beliefs we all hold, whether we’d like to admit them or not, and how we face them silently, always questioning the possibility that anything is possible.
—Holly Engel, Assistant Editor