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Millions of Brits are terrified of Friday the 13th, refuse to walk under ladders and avoid crossing the path of a black cat, a study has found.

Researchers found that half the population describe themselves as 'superstitious', with one in five dreading the arrival of the unluckiest date in the calendar.

A smashed mirror is said to bring seven years of bad luck

A smashed mirror is said to bring seven years of bad luck

One in six adults believe Friday the 13th poses the greatest risk of bad luck and consider it unluckier than black cats, broken mirrors and spilled salt.

It also emerged seven in ten wouldn’t risk walking under a ladder for fear of bringing bad luck and two thirds have even ‘touched wood’ to ward off any future mishaps.

Gregory Tatton-Brown from Casumo.com, which commissioned the research, said: "Even in modern times, with the power of science and technology at our backs, and less mystery in the world than ever before, it’s hard to shake the feeling that invisible forces hold some sway over our lives.

"Friday the 13th still holds an odd power among the superstitious thanks to pop culture and enduring superstition from the Middle Ages, though many Brits still choose to make their own luck."

The study also found four in five Brits believe they have fallen foul of a bad omen at one time or another in their lives with 42 per cent shattering a mirror and two in five having had a black cat cross their path.

Almost one third have brought bad luck upon themselves by opening an umbrella indoors and 39 per cent have risked walking under stroll a ladder.

Two in five clumsy diners have spilled the salt, though thankfully 42 per cent immediately threw a pinch over their left shoulder to negate the effects.

To ward off any hard luck, 57 per cent have knocked on wood and one in six have carried a lucky four-leaf clover with them.

One in eight Brits have a lucky item of clothing they wear when they need added defence from adversity, and 54 per cent believe picking up a penny will bring good luck throughout the rest of the day.

Forty six per cent attribute some mishap in their lives to bad luck, and 58 per cent suspect there might be some truth behind the phrase ‘Bad luck comes in threes’.

And as for the consequences of breaking a superstitious habit, one in four think they will suffer an injury, and 23 per cent think the resulting bad luck will lead to something they care about breaking.

Rather than gradually being disproved over time, our faith in superstitious beliefs is stronger than ever.

Two thirds of Brits aged 18 to 24 considered themselves superstitious, compared to 53 per cent of those aged 55 and over.

The study also revealed women are more prone to the paranoia of superstition.

Two thirds of the females surveyed by OnePoll.com admitted indulging their superstitious tendencies, compared to 45 per cent of men.

Women are also more concerned about Friday the 13th. Twenty six per cent are approaching the unlucky day with caution, compared to just 17 per cent of men.

They are also more likely to avoid stepping on three drains in a row, bless someone when they sneeze and keep their wish a secret after blowing out their birthday candles.

Gregory Tatton-Brown added: "Many of us believe in luck, good and bad, and the power it has to strike at any time.

"At Casumo.com we don’t put much stock in the mystical worlds of luck and superstition. We prefer to test our mathematical odds on the go and online."

THE UK’S TOP SUPERSTITIONS

1. Avoided walking under a ladder

2. Touched/knocked on wood

3. Blessed someone when they've sneezed

4. Crossed your fingers

5. Picked up a penny

6. Broken the wishbone and made a wish

7. Thrown salt over your shoulder because you spilled it

8. Avoided opening an umbrella inside

9. Avoided putting new shoes on the table

10. Avoided telling anyone your birthday wish when blowing out your candles

11. Saluted a magpie

12. Avoided passing someone on the stairs

13. Ensured you had 'something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, borrowed, something blue on yours or a friend's wedding day

14. Worried about Friday 13th approaching

15. Avoided the number 13

16. Avoided walking over three drains

17. Avoided the number 666

18. Avoided seeing the bride in their wedding dress before their wedding day

19. Avoided walking over a crack

20. Avoided eating cheese before bed

21. Avoided letting a black cat cross your path

22. Had your husband carry you over the threshold of your new home

23. Avoided stepping on a grate

24. Ensured the bride (yourself or a friend) has not worn her complete wedding clothes before the day

25. Avoided lighting three cigarettes with one match

26. Pushed a spoon through the bottom of an empty eggshell after finishing it

27. Carried a 'lucky rabbit's foot' around with you

28. Cut off both ends of the loaf of bread

29. Made sure you haven't left a white tablecloth on a table overnight

30. Never given gloves as a present