Friday the 13th always makes people think of bad luck, superstition, and stuff like that. Of course, all superstitions have some sort of background as to why they came about. The origins of “walking under a ladder will bring you bad luck” came about from medieval times when a ladder symbolized the gallows. So when someone walked under a ladder, it was believed he would face his own death by hanging. Black cats were thought to be witches in disguise (and further back, during the medieval times [everything seems to stem from medieval times], an animal with dark feathers or fur, including crows and ravens, signaled death).
Hotels have to deal with their guests’ various superstitions in their own ways, or some guests just rely on their daily superstitions while they’re staying in hotels…
Book your room in advance; don’t get the last available room
It’s said that if you get the last room available in the hotel, it’s the one where all the spirits are, and/or is haunted.
Flush the toilet before the first time you use it
The Chinese believe this removes all the unpurified air and energy that were left behind in the room. It also tells the spirits that someone is in the room.
Don’t hang up your clothes
Closets are sometimes musty and therefore considered either “bad energy” or “not clean.” When a place is musty, it’s more likely to attract spirits to gather.
Don’t sleep facing the doorway or mirrors
If you sleep with your feet facing the door, all your good luck will flow outside. Meanwhile, mirrors attract the negatives; if you sleep with your feet facing the mirror, your good luck will be reflected away.
Knock three times before entering
Chinese travelers believe you should warn the spirits of your presence or arrival. You don’t want to barge in on them, so you knock in the door three times to respectfully know that you’re there.
Don’t touch the Bible if you find it open when you check-in. Ask for a different room instead
An open Bible in your room could mean that the spirits are in your room and reading it. Better to let it be and ask for a different room.
Ever wonder why hotel rooms have Bibles in them and why that’s changing? Click here to find out.
Don’t pick up strange objects
Some believe that magicians and sorcerers have cursed items by putting an evil spirit in them. If you pick it up, the spirit will follow you home (*cough* Peter Brady *cough*)
Make noise at the end of the hall
Ghosts are said to congregate in quiet, dark places where people don’t go very often…like the end of a hallway. If you make noise when you’re at the end of the hall, it will let the spirits know you’re there, so they’ll go away.
Pat the pillow before going to sleep
Patting the pillow (and blanket!) before going to sleep tells the spirit that you’re going to use it. The thinking is that if you just lie on the bed as soon as you enter, you might lie down on one of the spirits, and they might get angry. By patting the pillow, you announce your presence and pat away the bad spirits and energy.
Point your shoes in different directions
Ghosts and spirits apparently use the direction of your shoes to figure out where you are. If you point your shoes in different directions, it will confuse them so they can’t find you.
If you’re traveling by yourself, put your belongings on both beds
If you place your suitcase, clothes, etc. on your “other” bed, it will stop spirits from wanting to make themselves comfortable on it.
The number 4 or 13
In the U.S., we’re well versed in the number 13 being unlucky. Here’s some more info about that. However, in some Asian cultures, the REALLY bad lucky number is 4. In China, some buildings avoid floors that end in the number 4 (i.e., 4th, 14th, 24th, etc.) because the word “four” in Mandarin sounds similar to the word “death.”
When you enter the room, turn on all the light, open the curtains and windows
This is said to allow the positive energy to come into the room.
*** Feature photo (cropped): Michael Kappel/Flickr
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary