Walking under a ladder is considered really bad luck, which really makes sense. The ladder might fall and cause harm to the daring soul who wants to challenge this superstition. Is the superstition just practical or are there are other reasons? How did this superstition evolve and what are its meaning? Is it just to protect our precious head or is there more?
Walk Like an Egyptian
For millenia the triangle has been a sacred symbol representing the gods. For the Egyptian the triangle was so highly regarded that it was to be respected in all its forms. The deathbed of the veneered Pharaohs were the Pyramids, the highest ultimate representation of the triangle. A ladder leaning against a wall forms a triangle and for the Egyptians to pass under this triangle meant pure defiance of the gods.
The Ladder and Good Luck
It was not the ladder to bring bad luck, but the shape that the ladder made with the wall and the floor. In fact for the Egyptians, the ladder itself was as symbol of fortune. The ladder rescued Osiris from eternal imprisonment and it was symbol of depict the ascension of the gods.
The Romans carried forward the belief that walking under a ladder brought bad luck and they created some antidotes to this superstition. If forced to walk under a ladder, Romans would make the sign called the fico. That meant protruding the thumb between the index and middle finger. If you feel compelled in using this symbol beware of the fact that it was considered a phallic symbol most likely similar to the middle finger used today.
The Ladder turns Evil
Many centuries later the ladder became a symbol of evil. It was the ladder against the cross that crucified Jesus Christ that became a symbol of corruption and betrayal, and ultimately of death. The association with the ladder and death continued in the middle ages and beyond as prisoners condemned to death were force to walk under a ladder before going to gallows.
Consequently, anyone that inadvertently walked under a ladder was doomed to face death sooner rather than later. In addition, they also believed that all the spirits the spirits of those that were killed were trapped under the ladder, thus encountering this tormented souls would only bring you additional misfortune.