Are you thinking of spending time on the water this Halloween?
Superstitions and spooky stories can send chills down even a non-believer's spine. There are many stories from the sea, from the Loch Ness Monster to the Kraken, Cetus and Poseidon. But are these tales superstitions or sincere?
Luckily we've got Deckee to help and safely traverse you through the mystery-filled waters for this spirit-filled day.
Cats Are a Captain's Companion
Halloween, black cats and witches go hand in hand. Our furry friends are said to be great omens on a boat. The ship's cat has historically provided protection from pesky vermin that would happily gnaw through the ship's ropes and spread deadly diseases such as the plague, murine typhus, salmonellosis, trichinosis, leptospirosis, and rat-bite fever (not to mention they'll eat the crew's provisions). Ship cats are also known to have provided a cuddle or two to homesick sailors.
Women Bring Bad Luck
Whilst many theories suggest women aboard a boat are bad luck due to the potential for distractions, which would anger the sea gods and cause lousy weather, another theory suggests that an all male-crew would suffer from jealousy and cause hostility and the inevitable fights between them. Thankfully times have changed, and female captains can navigate their way effortlessly around the waters and the Deckee app.
For centuries, sailors have believed that renaming your boat would enrage Poseidon, the God of the Sea. According to legend, he recorded the name of every vessel launched in the Ledger of the Deep, so to rename it, you'll need to purge the name from the ledger and Poseidon's memory, appease the four wind gods, have your own de-naming and then the re-christening ceremony, toast the boat, and finally sail away without any negative hoodoo. Phew!
Quite often, you'll see signs on the docks clearly stating no bananas. There are several reasons behind this; the first dates back to the 1700s in the Caribbean. Bananas spoil very quickly, so banana-laden boats would have to move at speed, leaving sailors no time for fishing. Bananas also give off ethylene gas, which can cause other fruits to ripen and spoil more quickly than they would otherwise. The Halloween-related part of the myth is that tarantulas would hide amongst the bananas and eventually get into the captain's cabin.
No Whistling or Clapping
Sailors commonly believed that whistling would challenge the wind to increase and encourage a storm. If stuck on windless water, some brave souls would whistle in the hope that a breeze would pick up to propel them forward. Some seafarers also believed that throwing stones into the ocean would cause ocean swells, and clapping would result in terrifying thunder. Sailors would often nail a horseshoe to the ship's mast to protect them against perilous conditions. This Halloween, you can just check the weather conditions on your trusty Deckee app.
Redheads have traditionally not been welcome aboard ships and intentionally avoided by sailors before embarking on a voyage. If, by mischance, a sailor met a redhead before boarding his ship, he would have to speak to them first to mitigate any bad luck.
Watch What You Say
Ye olde sailors were notorious for foul language, but even these cursing seafarers would avoid certain words believed to bring bad luck. Uttering the word 'drown' would allegedly summon the event. 'Good luck' and 'goodbye' were also forbidden; it was unlucky for sailors' wives to call after them once they had left for a sea journey. It was also deemed unlucky to mention anything that referred to life on land, such as pigs, foxes, rabbits and the like.
Left Foot Last
Always step on board with your right foot, because apparently setting foot onboard a boat with your left foot is thought to be a bad omen for the journey. In fact, the word sinister is derived from the Latin saying 'ad sinistram', which means 'to the left.'
Superstition runs rife with stories of bad luck days to set sail. It's thought that Friday is not a good day to start a voyage because it's the day Jesus was crucified. Thursday is thought to be unlucky, too, because it is the day of Thor, the God of Thunder and Storms. The first Monday in April is the day that Cain killed Abel. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed on the second Monday in August, and Judas Iscariot committed suicide on 31 December. Check your Deckee app to make sure it's safe to set sail; it will give you accurate information if there are thunder and storms ahead. If that's not enough, then knock on wood for good measure.
Sailors would often have the ragged appearance of sea-worn pirates. It's thought that practicing grooming would offend Neptune. He considered nail clippings and beard trimmings to be an offering to Proserpine, the Goddess of the Underworld and an insult to the Gods.
Whatever your Halloween concerns or worries, download the free Deckee app to keep the cats close and the gruesome monsters and mythical Gods at bay.