You’ve all met at least one person in your lifetime that has an odd belief or superstition. It could be the more well known: the practice of voodoo, ghost hunting, or astrology; Then there are the more bizarre mindsets or beliefs. The kinds that make you tilt your head to one side like a dog, and it takes every fiber of your being not to laugh in the other person’s face or call them obscenities and throw insults.
As a Christian myself, I’ve heard a few far-fetched religious interpretations that would leave you puzzled and perplexed:
- A restaurant has demonic lighting (when in fact, a person simply doesn’t like to eat there anymore, so they makes up an excuse)
- A customer comes into a store and asks the cashier to punch in the bar-codes on their each and every item instead of swiping and scanning them into the computer; Believing that not doing so would violate their God-given right to privacy, as they believe was revealed in the Bible. Supporting this theory, they pay only in cash and refuse to use any kind of card (bank, credit or membership) [Having taken computer programming in high school I can tell you: it doesn’t matter whether the bar-code number is typed into the keypad or scanned with the red lights, the data is still entered into the computer. The product name, the size or weight, price and a check off on the digital inventory computes with every entry. Now if they wore a disguise to hide themselves from the camera and either kept their receipts in a secure underground bunker or destroyed them after income taxes, then they wouldn’t have to worry about people knowing what they purchased! Furthermore, the Bible never said any such thing and my mother confirmed this, having read the entire thing from cover to cover!]
- “Close your curtain at night, or the Devil will get you!” a teacher told me as a child.
- Wearing all black to a christening, making the sign of the cross, kneeling before statues of Jesus, the Mother Mary, Joseph, and other saints, etc.
Superstitions over unlucky or lucky numbers, often to the point that everything they do evolves around those sets of numbers in their daily lives. The list continues: not stepping under ladders, breaking a mirror, throwing salt over your shoulder, making a wish on a shooting star, etc.
I’m sure there are numerous more to be heard, and it’s those very beliefs, superstitions and mindsets that you should use in your writing. Think about it – if it’s going to get that effect out of you, arguing with the other person(s) and getting you upset over it for hours, then that will happen to your reader(s). The worst you can do is write a stupidity that even the reader cannot understand, but if done correctly you’ll get him to react. That’s the key – when you have one of your characters whose mindset is so demanding of the reader’s need to correct them, they’ll be sucked into the story and want to see if one of your other characters will do it for them . . . all the way until the end of your book.