(Investigator 11, 1990
Walking under a
supposed to be
The photo [here
shows a courageous
skeptic free of the superstitious fear of going under a ladder. A year
after this picture was taken he was still alive and unable to point to
any bad consequences of his experience.
test would be
1. Get a large
(say 1,000) of volunteers.
2. Randomly divide the
volunteers into two
3. Get all the
individuals of one group
to walk, one at a time, under a ladder.
4.Get all persons of
the other group to
walk one at a time under something else – a bridge or a tree.
5.For both groups keep
a careful record
6.Use a statistical
test (for example the
Chi-square test) to calculate if the casualty rate of the two groups
7.In case the bad luck
influence of ladders
has a delayed effect the two groups should be reassessed for casualty
at regular (perhaps yearly) intervals.
As far as I know such
a scientific investigation
of unlucky influences of walking under ladders has not been done. There
is no reason to think that walking under a ladder is any more unlucky
walking under a bridge. So why waste time with a scientific test when
are reasonably sure of the result?