Do black cats, bats and witches have you on the run not just at Halloween but year-round? Do you always avoid walking under ladders and stepping on sidewalk cracks?

These behaviors can all be linked to a strong belief that has been embedded in human history — superstitions, according to a Kansas State University professor.

Don Saucier, associate professor of psychology, said superstitions are behaviors that people perform in an attempt to affect or control their future. Superstitious behaviors are a way people think they can control their fate by performing certain tasks in a certain way to either help alleviate anxiety or to simply better their chances in a certain situation.
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What draws us to the darker side? What compels us to look whenever we pass a grisly accident on the highway and drives us to watch horror movies and television coverage of disasters? Eric G. Wilson, a literature professor and a lifelong student of the macabre, set out to discover the source of people’s attraction to the morbid, drawing on the perspectives of biologists, sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, philosophers, theologians and artists.
Wilson shares his findings in his latest book Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck. He is the Thomas H. Pritchard Professor of English at Wake Forest University.
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As the economic opportunities of this annual tradition are exploited more with every passing year, Halloween has become a time of feasting, fun-filled frights, and fancy-dressed festivities. According to the Indo-European Etymological Dictionaries, the origins of All Hallows’ Eve are commonly held to date back around two thousand years to a pre-Christian Celtic festival known as Samhain, or "Summer’s End," held to acknowledge the passing of the season of summer and the approach of the dark winter months. Samhain, pronounced sow-en or saw-win, was usually celebrated on 31st October or 1st November.

‘From the earliest records, Samhain is seen not simply as a day for the dead but when the dead might reach out to the living.’
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We all love a good monster movie, don’t we, even if it’s viewed with just one eye open from behind the safety of our sofas?

Year after year, Hollywood favourites such as Count Dracula and the Wolfman, and other classic fiendish figures continue to draw crowds of eager horror-movie-lovers. But when and where did our preoccupation with the "bogeyman" arise? Is there any basis in truth to the stories of mythical monsters?

Greg McDonald, director of forensic medicine at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, says that like many myths and scary stories, both Dracula and the Wolfman stemmed from a poor understanding of medical maladies.
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