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Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Myth of the White Lighter

Disposable lighters come in all colors, but the white ones are bad luck. It's supposedly even more unlucky than lighting three cigarettes with one match. At least that one made sense, because you could burn your fingers if you held a match long enough. The white lighter taboo seems to be entirely magical thinking.
Even in 2017, it’s not uncommon to encounter smokers who not only won’t purchase white lighters, but won’t use them to light things even if they belong to someone else. Some people don’t even like being in the room when one is being used. But how did this legend get started in the first place?
The most common origin story behind this myth is actually tied up with another popular urban legend. The so-called “27 Club” includes young artists and musicians—Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix—who all died at the age of 27. A number of superstitions revolve around the 27 Club, one of which being that those musicians, as well as a later addition to the club, Kurt Cobain, had white lighters on them when they died. They didn’t.
There are a couple of other possibilities for the origin of this superstition, one that even makes sense, that you can read about at Atlas Obscura. The article is part of their series on luck running all this week.

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