Home > Superstitions > Walking Under a Ladder

Walking Under a Ladder

By: Chris Welsh - Updated: 23 Apr 2016 | comments*Discuss
Walking Under A Ladder Trinity

Running late for an appointment is a young man dressed in a sharp suit and carrying an attaché. Weaving through the foot traffic the man checks his watch to make sure he will make his important meeting. His phone rings and he retrieves it from a pocket and says hello. Distracted, he walks right under a ladder leaning on a building; realizing what he did he freezes, wondering if what his grandmother always told him is true- that walking under ladders means bad luck.

The Walking Under a Ladder Superstition

To many walking under a ladder is bad luck, while to others it is simply unsafe. Some will go so far to say that walking under a ladder is akin to blaspheme, and in the old days being a blasphemer wasn’t very conducive to good health and long life, so accidentally walking under a ladder in a Christian land could be considered very bad luck, indeed. But is there anything to the superstition, and where did the idea that it would bring bad luck come from? And was there anything that could be done to break the bad luck before it settled to deeply on the offender?

The Origin of the Walking Under a Ladder Superstition

There are a couple of theories about where the “Walking Under a Ladder is Bad Luck” superstition came from. The one mentioned above- that walking under a ladder was akin to blaspheming- comes from the early days of Christianity. Many Christians are believers in the Trinity—that God is made up of three parts, the Holy Father, the Holy Son, and the Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit). Thus, the number three was somewhat sacred, and the triangle was by association also sacred with its three sides. A ladder leaning up against a building was seen as a triangle (the ladder itself making one side, the building wall making up a second side, and the ground connecting the two making the third side.) To walk through this triangle (by walking under the ladder) was seen as breaking the Trinity. The bible talks about the one unforgivable sin being blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, so someone who breaks the Trinity is seen to be in league with the Devil; and once again, being labeled such in the old days of Christianity was a quick way to invite the hangman and witch trials.

Another origin of the superstition was a bit less specific, and had to do withy the similarities between a ladder leaning against a wall and a gallows. Anything associated with a gallows was considered ill luck, so walking under one- or a ladder that looked like one- was not advisable. So what to do if you realize you’ve just walked under a ladder and want to ward off the bad luck? You spit. Either you spit three times through the rungs of the ladder, or you spit on your shoe. Make sure you don’t look at your shoe until the spit has dried, however. Failing these tactics, cross your fingers until you find a dog, or simply back out the way you came in and make a wish!

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
The old superstition of walking under a ladder is told to be bad luck but There again to others it is just dangerous. Some people will go so far that they will just stop because of the old superstition of walking under a ladder
Pocket rocket - 21-Feb-16 @ 6:29 PM
i dont think that the last one relates to my reserch
courtcourt111 - 30-Aug-12 @ 3:45 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Tami
    Re: Saluting Magpies
    It's = "It is" Its = possessive, as in "Its tail was crooked." There is no apostrophe in the possessive "its."
    25 August 2016
  • Krissi
    Re: Saluting Magpies
    I looked out in my yard and there was a congregation of magpies and was wondering what this meant? They stayed about five minutes in yard and on…
    23 August 2016
  • Lexi
    Re: A Black Cat Crossing Your Path
    Was driving with my sister when a black cat stopped in front of my car and turned its head and stared at us for a few seconds…
    22 August 2016
  • Lavi
    Re: A Black Cat Crossing Your Path
    I was just outside tonight after 9 and I seen a black cat walk past on the fence what does that mean pls
    18 August 2016
  • Ellie Han
    Re: A Black Cat Crossing Your Path
    09/08/2016 It is the Hungry Ghost Month for the Chinese. Late night at 11:45pm, I just arrived home from catching Pokemons. I…
    10 August 2016
  • Missy88
    Re: Do Birds Flying Into A Home Equate To Death?
    @Sega - you're right - it is a silly superstition that has no relevance whatsoever.
    9 August 2016
  • Sega
    Re: Do Birds Flying Into A Home Equate To Death?
    NOTHINGs gonna happen!!!!! Cause almost everyday pigeons enter our house through the door or the window!!!!!…
    8 August 2016
  • njfnkjf
    Re: Where Does the Name Nylon Originate?
    As to what i have studied, NYLON is the acronym to Now You Lost Out, Nippon, in which Nippon was the japanese name for…
    6 August 2016
  • Jay
    Re: Do Birds Flying Into A Home Equate To Death?
    Just yesterday i heard a bird in my house but couldnt find out were it came from. i Open da boiler and…
    4 August 2016
  • Mammy karen
    Re: Saluting Magpies
    About magpies I think there amazing and bring messages . when my mum was going for her first chemo that morning my husband heard a tap at the…
    2 August 2016
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the TimelessMyths website. Please read our Disclaimer.