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A Variation on Macbeth Superstition

My informant grew up in Los Angelos. His father is from the Michigan and his mother is from Indonesia. He performed the following variation on the Macbeth theater superstition during a casual hangout with a friend group:

Informant: So the myth is amongst theater professionals that if you say the word Macbeth, it depends on how serious you are, sometimes people say on stage, in the theater, the most serious people won’t ever say the word, they’ll say ‘Mac B.’ or the ‘The Great Scottish Tragedy’ or whatever because it’s bad luck in the theater, because there’s all kinds of weird superstitions around the theater and I was taught this by my technical theater teacher who was also a guy who had been in it for years and years and years and he was running like an introductory group kids at school called Shakespeareans or Shakespeare Plays. And he to-told them about the rule about how you’re supposed to never say Macbeth and like some kid in the front row like was being a joke and during an entire performance, he kept saying Macbeth, Macbeth just trying to scare the actors and when the intermission came and the lights went down, a light crashed from the ceiling and landed right in front of this kid…and like, it would have killed him if it landed on him, like a huge light, that had never fallen before and never had any problems just like crashed right in front of him and that’s sort of the reason that I’ve been given to believe in the Macbeth rumors that some dark force will drop a light on you if you say it.”

The Macbeth superstition is common among theater groups. The rule remains the same: “Don’t say Macbeth”, but there are many variations on what happens to people when they say it or what one is supposed to do if they say it by accident. In my informant’s story, he attributes the reason for the light crashing to the “dark force” or curse behind the Macbeth superstition and furthermore, he changed from a non-believe of the superstition to a believer after “witnessing it in action”. My informant repeated emphasizes the safety of the light before the accident and after the accident to make his audience (a group of friends) believe that it was truly Macbeth that caused the accident. Ultimately, this is a good example of a personal account that adds to an already existent pool of knowledge that surrounds a superstition or belief, much like how UFO stories add to each other.

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