6 Insane Superstitions That Are Still Shockingly Influential

#3. The Indian Government Declares Astrology to Be Legit


For the record: Astronomy is the science of studying planets and stars through massive telescopes; astrology is that thing that tells you how much ass you're going to get this week based on your birthday. One of them is a respected scientific discipline. We'll leave it to you to figure out which.

"It clearly shows right here that you have to sleep with me. These are facts."

If you live in India, however, the answer might not be the one you expected. As recently as 2011, the Bombay High Court ruled that astrology is a "trusted science" and not mere superstition. And who are you to argue? Not an astronomer, that's for sure, otherwise you would've seen this coming.

The (snicker) gravity of the situation is not lost on the astronomers of India: The former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation has gone on record stating that the country's belief in astrology is preventing them from gaining their due recognition in the field of science. But regardless of the academic opposition, the ruling still stands, which means that respected Indian universities are giving out degrees in astrology right now, alongside such subjects as chemistry and physics. That's right: They offer accreditation in magic. They're essentially one bulk pack of wands short of Hogwarts.

"If I wished to make the right amount of "fuck you" for this, from scratch, I'd first have to create two universes."

#2. The Hong Kong Government Spends Millions on Feng Shui


Feng shui is an ancient Chinese tradition that dictates how you organize your home to maximize life energy -- put a couch in the wrong place, and the "qi" might just bounce off the cushions and fly straight out the window. But feng shui was banned in China back in the 1960s, when Chairman Mao ruled that the only energy permitted to flow through your home was enthusiasm for Chairman Mao.

"But ... our qi!"
"Mao Zedon'tcare."

But the practice has enjoyed a major resurgence, to the point where the Chinese government had to pay out nearly $10 million in compensation to people for disturbing their feng shui.

Apparently, nearby construction projects can wreak substantial havoc on the qi flow, so victims of inconsiderate construction are entitled to compensation for the real damage done to their indefinable auras. Compensation typically comes in the form of "tun fu," a cleansing ritual that involves a feng shui master performing rites at the offending site. As feng shui is a subjective art (to put it mildly), the masters can charge absurd amounts for the services, and the government is all too happy to pay them off.

"I told you, forget about the lead poisoning. This is way more important."

Roads, tunnels, bridges and more have all required cleansing in recent years. One particular rail link between Hong Kong and Guangzhou resulted in at least 17 feng shui compensation payments. The chief executive of the Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation admitted to paying millions of pounds in cleansings, but it was aaaalll worth it, because now all of their trains run on 100 percent good feelings.

#1. You Can't Build on Fairy Land in Ireland and Iceland


Thick, sticky red tape makes construction a damn nightmare pretty much anywhere in the world, but in Ireland, road builders have another hurdle: They have to be sure not to lay roads down through fairy territory.

While most people in Ireland claim that they don't really believe in the wrath of the fairy folk, it's nevertheless fairly common practice to reroute roads and highways if fairy experts insist that a particular patch of land might be a meeting place for the little people. According to folklorist Eddie Lenihan, the consequences for building on fairy land might include brake failures and car crashes -- because even Fairyland has a mafia.

"Those are some nice Lost Boys. It'd be a shame if something ... happened to them."

A similar practice occurs in Iceland, where the majority of Icelanders (we know that's incorrect terminology, but we like it because it sounds like "Highlanders") believe in elves. And although you probably think of "elves" as either tree-bound cookie slaves or sexually ambiguous archers, in Iceland they are vengeful spirits whose houses you certainly don't want to be bulldozing.

That's why roads in Iceland are regularly rerouted to work around angry elf populations. In one case, a project was completely abandoned when equipment failures prevented the crew from removing a large rock. The workers assumed that the elves were trying to send them a message with all the breakdowns and packed up shop, rather than doing what more logical, reasonable construction crews do, which is to fire Gary, their shitty site mechanic.

HR isn't sensitive toward any type of fairy accusations.

Steve Hanley makes sure to never take anything seriously on his Twitter.

For more silly things people still believe, check out 5 Myths That People Don't Realize Are Admitted Hoaxes and 5 Reasons Humanity Desperately Wants Monsters to Be Real.

If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The 8 Weirdest Vehicles People Were Caught Driving Drunk.

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