The great playwright Tennessee Williams once wrote, “Luck is believing you’re lucky.” I think it’s easier to believe you’re lucky when you have a little lucky charm in your pocket or hanging around your neck. Good luck charms come in all shapes and sizes, from four-leaf clovers and pennies to rabbit’s feet and horseshoes. Today, we’re going to look at some of the most unique good luck charms that we could find.
If you’re like me and you do have a good luck charm, you are not alone. A recent survey of 1,000 Americans revealed that 72% believe luck contributes to their success, and 1 in 10 believe luck is the most important factor.
The Bent Iron Nail
The theater has always been cloaked in superstition. Whether it’s telling someone to “break a leg” because wishing good luck actually brings bad luck or avoiding saying the name of the Scottish play, thespians are always coming up with ways to manifest good fortune.
One such thespian was Luciano Pavarotti, perhaps the most famous tenor of all. Pavarotti was renowned for his operatic singing prowess, but he was known for something else too—his nails. No, not the ones on the hand. The bent iron nail, that’s right.
One night, Pavarotti was nervous about going on stage and was waiting in the wings, wishing he had some sort of little trinket or metal with him to bring him good luck. That’s when he spotted a bent nail on the floor. Like any good Italian, he scooped it up and slipped it into his costume pocket, and went, “That’ll do.” He then hit the stage and brought the house down. After that night, stagehands apparently would strategically place bent nails offstage just in case Luciano found himself without one.
Now, the next time you watch his performance of “Nessun dorma,” you’ll know that somewhere in that outfit is a little good luck charm.
Up next unique good luck charms, we have a talisman that’s a little less endearing. It’s a stone known as a “Bezoar.”
Its first mention comes from about 1000 A.D. from Middle Eastern physicians. It’s basically just a lump of indigestible matter that can sometimes build up in the stomachs of sheep, goats, llamas, and deer. It became a good luck charm in parts of Europe and Asia and would sometimes be mounted in gold or worn as an amulet.
Some people believed that the bezoar was a lump of residual venom from the snakes that their animals might have eaten. For this reason, some people would use bezoar as a poison antidote.
As the Black Death was ravaging Eurasia, some people would place bezoar on the bodies of those afflicted in an attempt to cure the disease. Alas, it was no match for the most lethal recorded pandemic in human history.
Next on the unique good luck charms list, we’re traveling to the other side of the world, to Peru, where the “tumi” has a long and rich history.
This ceremonial knife is typically made of gold, silver, copper, or bronze and has a unique semi-circular blade. They would typically also depict the god Naylamp, a mythic figure and founder of the ancient Sican culture on the north coast of what is now Peru. The knife went on to be used by the Inca Empire and was used in rituals like the Inti Raymi, a festival dedicated to the most venerated deity, Inti, to celebrate the winter solstice.
They also used tumis to perform careful surgeries on the skull to alleviate headaches or to treat mental disorders. A hole would be cut into the skull, and the disturbance would be allowed to drain out. The hole would then be patched with a gold plate.
Nowadays, in modern Peru, most folks just use regular old knives. The tumi can still be seen, though. They’re hung on the walls of homes and offices for good luck and to keep away evil spirits.
The Evil Eye
The last one the unique good luck charms list, we’re traveling back to the Middle East, where an amulet known as the Nazar is used to ward off evil, specifically the evil eye. The evil eye isn’t just a look; it can be jealousy disguised as a compliment.
In an effort to thwart the evil eye, many cultures in the Middle East have taken to wearing a nazar. It’s a glass bead made to look like a human eye, and it’s believed that because the nazar looks so much like a human eye, it distracts the evil eye from the wearer’s eye, protecting them from evil and misfortune. The most powerful nazar is colored blue to emulate the sky where the gods live.
Nowadays, you don’t have to be in Afghanistan, Albania, or Iran to get yourself a nazar, and the design has changed very little for thousands of years. They’re sold in many parts of the world.
After all, the evil eye is everywhere. Images of the Nazar have been put on the tail fins of airplanes used as part of the logo for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup. It’s even an item in the popular video game Terraria, where it grants the wearer immunity to the cursed debuff. And if you’ve ever been scrolling through your phone and wondered what this emoji was, well, now you know.
Conclusion On Unique Good Luck Charms
Unique good luck charms hold a special place in our lives, transcending cultural boundaries and bringing a sense of comfort and hope. Do you have a unique good luck charm? Are you wearing it right now?