Flying Superstition

Megan: Whenever anyone in my family gets on a plane, you have to step with your left foot and knock on the side of the plane with your right hand. I don’t know where this started from. I think my mom and my aunt definitely because they are extremely superstition. Anyway, everyone in my family has to do, and does do it. And when I fly with people I make them do it too. I am not even that scared of flying, but the thought of if something were to happen and I hadn’t knocked and stepped right, freaks me out. So I just do it. … My mom on the other hand, (LAUGH) I think she genuinely believes she is ensuring we have a safe flight.

Megan’s description of this superstition is a great example of the performance of superstitions in general. To begin, Megan doesn’t know where or why she learned the superstition but it has always been something she practiced. Additionally, her discussion of the anxiety she experiences from the thought of not performing the superstition proves her reasoning behind continuing it. Often, the opposition of a superstition is the driving force of its performance. Unlike her mother, Megan does not logically believe her practice is controlling the fate of the plane, yet this rationale is not enough to seize her from doing it. Here, the fine line between superstition and compulsion surfaces and the psychological reasoning behind this folklore practice is evident.