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Black Cats and Evil Eyes: A Book of Old-Fashioned Superstitions
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Black Cats and Evil Eyes: A Book of Old-Fashioned Superstitions

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  583 ratings  ·  81 reviews
An amusing and scholarly look at the fascinating stories behind old-fashioned legends and superstition

This collection investigates the origins of history's most intriguing old-fashioned superstitions, many of which people still find themselves abiding by today. Hundreds of the beliefs passed down through the generations have their foundations in ancestry's efforts to ward
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published September 6th 2012 by Michael O'Mara (first published September 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.46  · 
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Amalia Gkavea
‘’No matter how certainly we know that the spirits of the damned aren’t lurking under ladders hoping that we might sneeze at just the right moment for them to take possession of our bodies, something makes us change our path and look around for someone to say ‘’Bless you’’.

*Ignore the horrible syntax and punctuation of the quote above. This is the least of the problems of this book…*

I’ve always found the superstitions around the world such a fascinating subject. Learning about customs and tr
May 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
As so many reviewers has mentioned before me, this little book is beautifully executed. Its front cover is gorgeous and the illustrations within are quirky and eye-catching. The book is organized very logically and it is easy to find the myths that you're interested in.

However, that is about the only positive thing I have to say about this volume. Due to the many, many myths Rhodes has chosen, there isn't time to explore each myth fully. It all becomes very superficial and the book doesn't alway
Marie Tankersley
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very interesting!
Black cats and evil eyes is a collection of random superstitions. The book explains the superstition origins, how they were incorporated in our day to day lives. Some of these are well-known while the others have faded over the years. It was amazing to see so many similarities despite the difference in religions and traditions. Each superstition has a short description attached to it, relating to their original explanations and sometimes a few lines of historical importance.

Chloe Rhodes's writin
Julie Kusma
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Fun Read

If you’ve ever wondered where superstitions began, read this book. Plenty of information as to the origins of many, plus it’s entertaining.
Bookshire Cat
Poorly written, repetitive. Some interesting information hidden here for sure but the jumpy style makes it hard to get to the matter. The author tries hard to be witty and more often than not she is sneering at the superstitions. I can make up my own mind, thank you very much 🙄

Did this book even see an editor?

Beautiful illustrations and cover though.
Samantha Henthorn
Jun 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Great little book. I'm very superstitious and reading this actually reassured me. Also, I especially liked the bit about magpies in Manchester. ...more
Yvonne Olson
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I grabbed this book out of mere curiosity (pun intended...) because the cover was just so. dang. gorgeous.
As I read the first two parts, I got excited to just learn about the history of superstitions.
While I loved learning them, some of them weren't really answered in a way more than just "this is what's believed" and not "why". Some of them were also superstitions I'd never heard of before, which both intrigued but also just seemed really over the top. But, most of history is over the top, isn'
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
This was just okay. But that cover is to die for, so I’m keeping it.
Apr 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nice, very quick overview of superstitions, 3-5 paragraphs dedicated to each one. Many I'd never heard of. ...more
Ghoul Von Horror
Was okay. I mean it's a book written off of so many other books. I really loved the cover though. ...more
Sab Cornelius
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing <--- I do book blogging on the side, so posted my full review here. [Site is currently A WIP] ...more
Katarina Blažić
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a great book for anyone who wants to find out more about the origins of some of the most widely-believed superstitions in history, some of which are even present today. Although chances are that most readers will be familiar with most of the stories, it's still an enjoyable read.

What I disliked about the book is that there was too much repetition. Like some of the previous reviewers have already said, Rhodes should have focused on fewer stories and explored them in depth instead of list
Evelina Asp
Mar 31, 2015 rated it liked it
Funny to read, but the Historian in me want sources, not something one person has read and then re-told. And it shows with some of the historical mistakes she makes, which also shows that the author only read one or two books about the subject. These mistakes wouldn't be there if the author had read a little bit more.
But putting that aside it is an interesting book.
Dec 06, 2018 rated it did not like it
The cover made this book look so interesting but it was SO boring. I forgot pretty much everything I read. The author also seemed to have a negative view on anything that came from Christianity or religion. Actually it seems like the author isn't superstitious at all, I'm not sure why she wanted to write this. Thank you next. ...more
Kayla Anderson
May 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this. I found the stories and background behind the myths or superstitions interesting. Some were a little repetitive and I think it could have been organized a little better, but I liked it overall!
Dec 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Good fun but gets a little bit samey towards the end, well worth it though and thoroughly chomp-able.
Dec 22, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
rather thin and disappointing in its superficiality.
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
I was drawn to the cover of this book, and the book itself is quite nice, plus I was interested to learn more about ridiculous superstitions that people have believed or still believe.

Reading this, however, it was very hard for me as it wasn't nearly as interesting as I was expecting. While there were a few interesting facts and I did learn quite a few things, I found myself growing tired as I read through it. While it's nice to learn the origins of some widely spread superstitions, some of whic
Ginger Vampyre
Jan 26, 2021 rated it did not like it
Not impressed by this book at all. The focus is mainly on American and Western European superstitions from Middle-Ages to Modern Era. And while mention of other countries and time periods happens there is no focus or any in depth look at it culturally. To be fair, there is no real in-depth or cultural look at anything. The "explanation" of these superstitions is from a Christian-centric learning with only the barest mention of how other religions or cultures have seen things. It is 90% fear of t ...more
Shane Henderson
Apr 04, 2021 rated it liked it
A short reference book with some interesting history behind superstitions, folk tales, good luck charms and bad luck signs that we take for granted today. There were a lot in here that I’d never heard of before. However I wish the author had gone into a little more depth in a few of the entries. The artwork in between sections was nice, but the breaks between entries was random. Sometimes they’d end like a chapter in a novel, other times the next entry would begin on the same page - but I put th ...more
Justine Cucchi
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is a book I plan to keep around for its documentation of superstitions alone. I often need ideas when writing and thinking up superstitions for characters is something I struggle with.
My main issue with this book were its inaccuracies with ancient Greek and Roman customs. I studied a bit of magic in my classics undergrad, and a few of the things the author mentioned are overexaggerated or just plain wrong. I'm also a nitpicker when it comes to sources, and her bibliography didn't have a com
B. Zedan
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: real-book
This is a great little jumping-off point reference book with a nicely wide array of more Western-world-centric superstitions. For all that each entry is short, it's concise in conveying the superstition and possible origin(s) from a very solid selection of documentation. There's even a bibliography!

Though the superstitions themselves don't seem to be in any order, the index is thorough so topics can easily be found (which is part of what makes this a nice source of brief reference rather than ju
Feb 08, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this read! It's not a deep dive into folklore and belief so much as a quick survey. If you're reading straight through as I did, it feels pretty repetitive, but it's indexed, and I think pretty clearly meant to be a quick reference if you want to know where this or that superstition is said to have come from. No doubt there are many more such traditions, and different regions to focus on, and nuanced or disputed origins for many of those included, but what a great little appetizer of s ...more
Julia Black
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I found this randomly in BAM one day and didnt get it at the time and regretted it like crazy so I finally got it on here and I was so happy I did. This book it such a fun quick read or just to read randomly if you're really interested in superstitions. I didn't know about half of these that's in this book. I really adore this book. I feel like it's good companion if you like witchy stuff. I know it doesnt really have anything to do with witches. I think it's a pretty informative book. I wouldn' ...more
Venus Satanas
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
For my full review see: Black Cats and Evil Eyes...I enjoyed this book, I wish it could have been a bit longer. It's fun to read through the myths and superstitions in this book. There's so many of them, it really makes you think of how many times we use these superstitions in our lives without even realizing. This is a fun book to have and I'm glad that I picked it up. ...more
Claudia Loureiro
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: witchery
Easy and interesting source if you are not too demanding and if you take everyting "cum granus salis". It's an intriguing little book that explains many of the superstitions that abound in life. Why is it bad to walk under a ladder, where did the idea come from about picking up pennies, etc. This book answered many superstitions I'm familiar with, plus a few more. I also loved the cover of the book. Interesting and whimsical at the same time. A most informative read. ...more
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a fun book to read. I have used this book to pass the time soaking in a tub or when I have a few minutes to fill in my day. It is one of those books that you can easily pick up, read a page or two and put down for another day. I recognized several superstitions that my family/heritage has passed through generations and thoroughly enjoyed reading about the origins of each. And now I want a black cat.... lol!
Rebecca Brown
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was really interesting!! I’m a big history nerd, so it was a lot of fun to read through the different backgrounds of both the popular and obscure superstitions out there! I have so many little fun facts and tidbits of information now!! I think it was a well put together book and that the explanations were all easy to understand. I’ll definitely be flipping through this book in the future!
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fun book about the origins of superstitions. Does quote a lot of old literature, which is frequently latin or old english, which could pose a challenege to some readers. It was an easy read, with each superstition being only a page or two long. I read it while commuting using public transportation, easy to pick up and put down without loosing a sense of place with frequent interruptions while reading it.
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