We all know the practical reasons of why walking under a ladder isn’t a good idea, after all, if there is a ladder, chances are there is someone on top of it. And knocking the ladder can have terrible circumstances for those perched on it, or for you underneath it if they drop whatever they’re holding.
But as far as walking under them being bad luck, we need to take a trip back to ancient Egypt, where the superstitious locals believed Gods and Goddesses lived in the sky, and walking under a ladder may mean you’ll find one of them travelling to or from their home, which may anger them.
The Christians didn’t believe in Gods using ladders, but they did believe in the power of three, which was classed as the holy number and used to represent the Holy Trinity – the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost. They thought that the two sides of a ladder formed a triangular space underneath, and to pass through the triangle which represented the Holy Trinity would break the Trinity, attracting the devil to the area. Later the ladder came to represent the gallows, as those condemned to death would have to climb a ladder to get high enough for the rope to be effective.
Don’t worry if you do walk under a ladder, though, there are supposedly ways to reverse your luck. These include making a wish as you walk through, passing back through the ladder (though this we feel is tempting fate if the person atop the ladder is holding a hefty hammer) or even spitting on your shoes and waiting till it dries before looking at them. We’re not sure we approve of this one on hygiene grounds, though.