Are You Superstitious?

Do you think you're not superstitious? Then test it using this simple little experiment devised by John Stilgoe:

Stilgoe's Law: to test if you are really NOT superstitious.

Bring a photograph of your romantic partner, or of a son or daughter to a meeting. Here is an ice pick. Will you poke out the eyes in the picture? Will you poke out the eyes for ten dollars? Most students will not do this, the image has the power of a voodoo doll.

-- suggested by Professor John Stilgoe, Harvard Magazine, (Jan.-Feb. 1996) pp. 36-42.

Personally, I would fail. (via Liquito)

Paranormal Psychology

Posted on Sat Sep 04, 2004


I don't have a romantic partner or kids,but would probably do this for money as I am cheap.I am superstitious,though!
Posted by Owen  on  Sat Sep 04, 2004  at  05:59 PM
I don't think you have to be superstitious to find it repugnant, or at least distasteful, to scratch out the eyes of a loved one's picture. Actually, someone (I don't know who) did do this to a photo of me that was on the bulletin board of my workplace, and I found it pretty insulting and perhaps vaguely threatening. That doesn't mean anything bad of a supernatural nature is more likely to happen because of it, though.

In any case, I wouldn't do the deed for a measly ten bucks. That's hardly even enough to replace the picture. For a million dollars, though, I certainly would. But I wouldn't stick an icepick in a real live person's eye for any amount of money.
Posted by Big Gary C  on  Sat Sep 04, 2004  at  06:20 PM
I would never do this on a normal basis, but for a superstition test... no problem. Besides, $10 is $10!
Posted by AqueousBoy  on  Sat Sep 04, 2004  at  06:54 PM
I don't think this is superstition. This is just showing respect to your loved one, and not wanting to deface his/her picture. Also, there could be some fear of retribution involved, too... imagine what they'll do to you when they find out that you poked the eyes out of their picture. It's a symbol of disrespect, and maybe even hatred.

Interesting results though.
Posted by PlantPerson  on  Sat Sep 04, 2004  at  07:55 PM
Geez, it's bad luck to be superstitious!
Posted by Captain DaFt  on  Sat Sep 04, 2004  at  09:39 PM
depends on whether or not I have another picture handy, and if the one I'm defacing costs less than a sawbuck.

Hey, if I'm going to make a profit and still have a pic of my sweetie then I'm in.

Email me and let me know where you want the eyeless picture to be sent. I'll take a money order. (No personal checks.)

Posted by James R. Rummel  on  Sat Sep 04, 2004  at  11:14 PM
I'd pretend to act reluctant as long as the price rises. Then - profit.
Posted by 771460  on  Sun Sep 05, 2004  at  05:43 AM
that's the craziest thing I've ever heard! A picture has no connection with the real person whatsoever.
Posted by john  on  Sun Sep 05, 2004  at  10:13 AM
I can't believe there's an "Association for Rational Thought". Some people really need to get their own lives.
Posted by Boxcar  on  Sun Sep 05, 2004  at  04:59 PM
There's a difference between being superstitious and not wanting to be disrespectful. Even if you don't expect a symbolic assault to cause real harm you might not be comfortable with the symbolism.
Posted by Matt  on  Tue Sep 07, 2004  at  09:26 AM
I don't own enough pictures to want to waste them by poking holes in them!
Posted by Maegan  on  Thu Sep 09, 2004  at  01:28 PM
...As long as I had a double of the pic, I'd poke out the eyes... Hello, $10 is $10!
Posted by Emilu  on  Sun Oct 31, 2004  at  02:07 PM
This isn't a very good test. I agree with those that the test doesn't account for the fact that such an act would be clash with our sense of respect.If your mate came home and saw his or her eyes poked out of a picture they would be upset and not because they were afraid they would go blind. Here's another test. Would you dig up a loved ones corpse and pick out it's eyes for $10,000. Why not the person is long gone? You know why not and it has nothing to do with superstition.
Posted by Shamus  on  Wed Nov 24, 2004  at  05:40 AM
I'm very supersticious. How I never let a black cat cross my path.... provided of course the black cat in question is a panther 😊
Posted by Kevin  on  Wed Aug 23, 2006  at  03:06 AM
OOh... no need to be scared of the cats poor creature they are ... Have a look at this article then u might come over the superstition.
Posted by Rahul  on  Tue May 04, 2010  at  11:14 PM
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