Myths and Superstitions of Pirates and
Sailors and Pirates were very superstitious and would throw salt
over their left shoulder. Throwing salt over your shoulder a way of keeping
the devil at bay. Early seaman believed that a sailor who died from violence
or being lost at sea was said to go to "Davy
Jones Locker". Sailors weren't the only ones that were superstitious
as people on the land would say if you "Watch a ship out of sight, and
you will never her again". If someone was sick they would mix with salt
and spittle, and apply the plaster to the ear of the sick person. And most bad
luck could be expelled by having the person responsible turn around to the right
three times, then spitting or farting.
17th century sailors who would knock on the wood hull
of their ships to listen for worm or rot, hearing a solid sound would imply
that the hull was in "ship shape" When in a conversation a reference
is made to 'Good luck' they would sometimes say 'Touch wood' and touch some
part of their wooden vessel. The 'good luck' they were implying also referring
to the luck they were having and hoping to have while their wooden hull held
true and fast during their voyage at sea.
1. A figurehead in the form of a naked woman, perched on the bow,
calms the sea and her open eyes will guide it to safety .A naked woman on board
was thought to be good luck. (guess they were hoping to get lucky)
This is the reason for naked figureheads. (on Bowsprit)
2. Swallows seen at sea are a good sign, as are dolphins swimming
with the ship.
3. Tattoos and piercing are said to ward off evil spirits
for sailors to wear gold hoop earrings was good luck
4. It's good luck to spit in the ocean before you sail.
5. Coins thrown into the sea as a boat leaves port is a small
toll to Neptune, the sea god, for a safe voyage,
6. Horseshoes on a ship’s mast will turn away a storm.
7. Cats brought luck. If a ship's cat came to a sailor, it meant
8.A child to be born on a ship was good luck (probably not for
* this is where the term "Son
Of A Gun" comes from
9. St. Elmo's fire is the discharge of static electricity from
points on a ship, such as masts and spars. According to some superstitious sea
stories, if one flame appears, it means bad weather is coming. If two flames
appear, it means the weather will be clear.
10. Pouring wine on the deck will bring good luck on a long voyage.
1. Women onboard a ship distract the crew and place it in peril.(probably
2. CUT NEITHER NAILS NOR HAIR AT SEA. Cuttings of nail and
hair were offerings to Prosperine, the Roman Goddess of the infernal regions,
and it would make Neptune angry to have offerings to somebody else made in his
domain. Doing so would bring bad luck.
3. It is unlucky to start a cruise on Friday.
This is the day Christ was crucified on.
*The reluctance of seamen to sail on a Friday
reached such epic proportions, that in the 1800s the British Government decided
to take strong measures to prove the fallacy of the superstition. They laid
the keel of a new vessel on Friday, selected her crew on a Friday, launched
her on a Friday and named her HMS Friday. They then placed her in command of
one Captain James Friday and sent her to sea for the first time on a Friday.
The scheme worked well, and had only one drawback ... neither ship nor crew
was ever heard from again. HMS Friday is an urban legend and
believed to be false
4. Never start a voyage on the first Monday in April.
This is the day that Cain slew Able.
5. Avoid people with red hair when going to the ship to begin a journey.
Red heads bring bad luck to a ship, which can be averted if you speak
to the red-head before they speak to you.
6. Whistling - One widespread and universal superstition forbids
whistling in the wheelhouse or anywhere onboard for that matter. Whistling
onboard will raise a gale, hence "whistling up a storm".
7. Scottish Fisherman, landing a left boot rather than a fish
is considered the ultimate in bad luck. Whenever a left boot showed up in the
catch inside a trawling net, fishermen would instantly spit on it before tossing
it back into the water. On the other hand, those same Scots considered the right
boot to be a sign of good fortune. Coming up with a right boot in the net was
looked upon as favorable and the boot would be fastened to the mast in the belief
that it would bring good fortune to the fishing expedition
8. It is bad luck to name a ship for an engaged woman
this will make the ship jealous.
9. Sailors believed that if a cat licked its fur against the grain
it meant a hailstorm was coming; if it sneezed, rain was on the way; and if
it was frisky, the wind would soon blow.
10. Killing a swallow, albatross, gull or dolphin will bring bad
Seabirds are thought to carry the souls of dead sailors
11. Priests are not lucky to have on a ship.
They dress in black and perform funeral services.
12. NAME CHANGE
It’s bad luck to change the name of a boat. but if you have to: write
the soon-to-be-exorcised name on a piece of paper, fold the paper, and place
it in a small cardboard or wooden box. Burn the box. Scoop up the ashes and
throw them into the sea on an outgoing tide. If you live on a lake, do it at
night and only during a new moon. River dwellers should send the ashes downstream.
13. Sailors believed cats could start storms with the magic stored
in their tails so they always kept them well fed and contented
14. A rabbit or salmon found on board the boat was one of the
stranger nautical superstitions, and would have prevented a fisherman from sailing
Atlantic seamen in the West Indies had a bizarre superstition related to swine.
Pigs themselves were held at great respect because they possessed cloven hooves
just like the devil and the pig was the signature animal for the Great Earth
Goddess who controlled the winds. As a result, these fishermen never spoke the
word "pig" out loud, instead referring to the animal by such safe
nicknames as Curly-Tail and Turf-Rooter. It was believed that mentioning the
word "pig" would result in strong winds. Actually killing a pig on
board the ship would result in a full scale storm.
16. When the clothes of a dead sailor are worn by another sailor
during the same voyage, misfortune will befall the entire ship
17. If the ships cat approached a sailor and then went away, it
was bad luck.
18. To see rats leaving a ship is bad luck
19. To name the boat with a word ending in "a" is bad
20. A black “sea bag” is bad luck for a seaman.
1. It is said that a ship’s bell that rings without human
aid is an omen of death.
2. Disaster will follow if you step onto a boat with your Left
3. A stone thrown from a vessel putting out to sea ensures she will never return.
4. If a cat was thrown overboard, a storm and very bad luck and
maybe death would follow.
5. The word "drown" can never be spoken at sea or it
may summon up the actual event
6. A shark following the ship is a sign of inevitable death
7. Manta rays, also known as devilfish or sea devils, were feared
as much as sharks, for sailors believed these sea creatures could attach themselves
to a ship’s anchor and drag her under the waves to Davy Jones’ Locker.
If a woman sees a robin flying overhead on Valentine's Day, it
means she will marry a sailor. If she sees a sparrow, she will marry a poor
man and be very happy. If she sees a goldfinch, she will marry a millionaire.