Why Were Early Sailors So Superstitious and What Rituals Were Followed For Good Luck?

Life-and-death situations always give rise to superstitions, so early sailors took no chances and followed many good-luck rituals beyond prayer.

One such ritual was to raise or “step” the main mast on a silver coin from the year a ship was built to keep the wind “happy.”

As a backup, horseshoes were nailed to the mast to keep storms at bay.

Sighting a dolphin brought good luck, but killing them could be disastrous.

Killing a gull was unforgivable, since it was believed that these birds carried the souls of sailors lost at sea.