7 Completely Absurd Superstitions of the Middle Ages

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By CraigAK

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Do you consider yourself a superstitious person? Well, superstitions of the middle ages were popular back then even though they have no scientific explanation. They were and still are created by the people themselves and are usually passed on from generation to generation. Most of the time they are created by the fact that we do not have a scientific explanation for a certain subject, and people try to create rational explanations, therefore, untruths.

These superstitions can disrupt a person’s life. A good example of this is Friday the 13th. There is no study that proves that this date brings any kind of bad luck, but many individuals believe so much in this that they end up leaving and not leaving home that day, harming their own lives. In the Middle Ages, it was no different. At the time it was a little worse due to the fact of so little knowledge. Today, we bring you 7 completely absurd superstitions of the Middle Ages.

7. The Witch’s Hammer

The Witch's Hammer - Superstitions of the Middle Ages
The Witch’s Hammer

The book Malleus Maleficarum (The Hammer of the Witches), is on the list of the most infamous books of history. It was published in 1486 and was written by two German friars, to unmask arguments that witchcraft did not exist. It was also created as a tutorial/manual for the detection, trial, and punishment of witches. The book was responsible for the wave of witch-hunts that covered Europe with the deaths of thousands of people. Most innocent women.

6. The Wild Man of Orford of the Middle Ages

The Wild Man of Orford of the Middle Ages - Superstitions of the Middle Ages
The Wild Man of Orford of the Middle Ages

According to some stories of Suffolk fishermen, one day they captured a naked wild man near the village of Orford. The so-called Newfoundland, as they named it, had a long shaggy beard and a hairy chest, but his head would be totally bald. The creature was taken to the Castle of Orford, where Bartholomew of Glanville was the governor. The strange being was thrown into the dungeon and tortured to make him speak. Without information, the residents could not decide whether the creature was a fish or a man, so comfortable was she on land as she was at sea. The villagers thought that the strange prisoner might be an evil spirit in the body of a drowned sailor.

5. Place for bad living

Place for bad living - Superstitions of the Middle Ages
Drangey Island

The island of Drangey lies on the North Atlantic, about an hour by boat from Iceland. It is marked by a huge cliff that rises to 168 meters above sea level. In the Middle Ages, the island was considered the home of trolls and other evil beings. Hunters who climbed the cliff to hunt birds and catch eggs often fell because their ropes were mysteriously cut off.

4. Spectral Hunters

Spectral Hunters - Superstitions of the Middle Ages
Spectral Packs

Throughout medieval Britain and in many places on the European continent, people reported an excessive fear of spectral packs that swept the forests in midwinter. A moment in which the world of the living and the dead collided. These mysterious dogs were accompanied by ghost hunters and warriors, riding on black steeds, led by Odin, god of the dead of the time. This is one of my favorite superstitions of the Middle Ages.

3. Healing Touch

Real Touch - Superstitions of the Middle Ages
Healing Touch

For a long time, people believed that monarchs, by virtue of their divine right to rule, would be blessed with the power to cure diseases with a single touch. Diseases, in particular, such as scrofula, a tuberculous inflammation of the lymph glands of the neck would heal quickly if the person were touched by a sovereign.

2. Magonia

Magonia - Superstitions of the Middle Ages

People fascinated by alien life would surely interpret this fireball seen by Charlemagne as a spaceship. Reports of mysterious objects in the sky are certainly not limited to the present day. Archbishop Agobardo, in one of his books, describes that the people of his day believed in a certain region called Magonia, “from which ships entered the clouds” to steal crops.

1. Sea in the sky

Sea in the sky - Superstitions of the Middle Ages
Sea in the Sky

This story was spread by the English chronicler Gervase of Tilbury. He wrote around 1212 for his patron, the Roman emperor Otto of Brunswick, declaring that he believed the sea was at a point above the Earth, “above our dwelling, in the air.” This belief was based on Genesis, which speaks of “waters above the firmament.” This was one of the most interesting superstitions of the Middle Ages.


Why do some people still believe in superstitions?

There are a few reasons why some people still believe in superstitions. First, they may have grown up in families or cultures where superstitions were common. Second, they may have had personal experiences that they believe can be explained by superstition. Third, they may find comfort in the idea that there is some order and predictability in the world, even if it is beyond our understanding.

What were some of the consequences of superstitions in the Middle Ages?

Superstitions had a number of consequences in the Middle Ages. First, they often led to people being accused of witchcraft or other crimes. Second, they could lead to people being ostracized or even killed. Third, they could prevent people from taking risks or trying new things. Fourth, they could lead to people making poor decisions.

What are some of the superstitions that are still around today?

Some of the superstitions that are still around today include:
Knocking on wood: This is done to ward off bad luck.
Crossing your fingers: This is done to bring good luck.
Walking under a ladder: This is believed to bring bad luck.
Spilling salt: This is believed to bring bad luck, but you can “fix” it by throwing a pinch of salt over your shoulder.
Seeing a black cat: This is believed to bring bad luck.
Friday the 13th: This is considered to be an unlucky day.


The Middle Ages were a time of great superstition. People believed in all sorts of things that we now know to be absurd, such as the evil eye, the power of black magic, and the existence of ghosts and demons. These superstitions often led to people being accused of witchcraft and other crimes, and even to their deaths. While it is easy to look at these superstitions of the middle ages with amusement, it is important to remember that they were a real part of people’s lives at the time. They shaped the way people thought about the world and their place in it, and they had a profound impact on the course of history.

Superstitions are still around today, of course, but they are not as widespread or as deeply held as they were in the Middle Ages. This is due in part to the rise of science and education, which has helped to dispel many of the myths and misconceptions that gave rise to superstitions in the first place. It is also due to the fact that we live in a more secular age, where people are less likely to believe in things that cannot be proven.

While it is good that we have come a long way in terms of superstition, it is important to remember that they are still a part of human nature. We all have our own fears and anxieties, and we all look for ways to make sense of the world around us. Superstitions can provide comfort and reassurance in times of uncertainty, and they can help us to feel like we have some control over our lives.

So while we may not believe in the evil eye or black magic, it is important to be understanding of those who do. Superstitions are a part of human history, and they are likely to be around for many years to come.

Thanks for reading 7 absurd superstitions of the middle ages. Check out all our other fun facts.

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