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Article
August 29, 1908

HOW SUPERSTITIONS ARE REINFORCED.

JAMA. 1908;LI(9):761-762. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.02540090043005
Abstract

Every now and then a story appears in the newspapers that is apparently a striking confirmation of some one or other of the old superstitions that still cling to mankind. For the ordinary reader it is scarcely more than an out-of-the-way story. For those who have certain tendencies to believe superstitions and to be affected by them, such stories are often "confirmations strong as Holy Writ" of their peculiar notions. During the past few months a story regarding the number thirteen has been going the rounds with striking effect. It has been contradicted, categorically, but then contradictions never travel so fast or so far as the original story. The incident that forms the basis of the tale is taken from the biography of Sir John Millais, the English painter, and first appeared in the columns of M. A. P., Mr. T. P. O'Connor's London weekly, whose enigmatic title is translated

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