Scoffing at Superstition

Posted on Fri, February 13, 2015
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Friday the Thirteenth always puts me in the mood to listen to Stevie Wonder's hit, “Superstition.” Although I’m not particularly superstitious, I’m probably not going to take chances like a group of aviation cadets did at the Air Corps Training Detachment, Hawthorne School of Aeronautics, Orangeburg, South Carolina, in February of 1942.

 

<p>Aviation Cadets at the Air Corps Training Detachment, Hawthorne School of Aeronautics, Orangeburg, scoff at superstitions on Friday the Thirteenth, February 1942.<em>NASM 00187027</em></p>

 

According to the Air Corps publicity photo, these cadets cast superstition to the winds, preparing to fly Stearman trainer number “13” on Friday the Thirteenth. To thumb their nose even more, one of the cadets intended to break a mirror. Another stood under a ladder. They even obtained a black cat, but it wisely ran away from the shenanigans! History does not record what happened to these particular cadets. We can only assume they survived their standoff with bad luck. But if you are superstitious, look out! 2015 has THREE Friday the Thirteenths. Be careful today, and again in March and November! Elizabeth Borja is an archivist in the National Air and Space Museum Archives and thinks she may know what happened to the black cat!

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