Am I supersititious? Are you?

Oct 3, 1998
Would you buy a knife with a "past"?

In today's Los Angeles Times, I happened to see an "advice to the superstitious" column where their Feng Shui maven said that one should not buy a really nice house from an estate sale, when the estate sale was occasioned by the gruesome murder-suicide of the couple who had owned the place, because no amount of ceremonial cleansing would remove the negative energy from the place.

First I found the column annoying, thinking that it is irresponsible to publicly encourage superstition and irrational fear, thus hurting the innocent next of kin who need to sell that house to somebody or take an big economic loss.

Then I thought:

What if I was at an estate sale, and there was a nice set of Wustoff-Trident kitchen knives, or a nice traditional "wee pen knife," for a very attractive price, but the seller said that one of the knives had been the weapon in the act of domestic violence that led to the estate sale?

I had to admit that I might hesitate to buy and use a knife that I knew had a violent history.

On the other hand, if it was a (in)famous act of violence, the provenance might give the object more value. If you dug up a Roman dagger and some brittle old documents that showed that you had the very dagger that Brutus had used to stab Caesar, it would be worth a fortune.

Any thoughts?

Me: no and yes.

Yes first....I do have the ethereal question inb the back of my mind..."can I jinx something by opening my yap".

As for the house, knives, or whatever....nope, if I like it, want it, can afford it, its mine....a bit of history, positive or negative is fun and something to talk, think, and muse about. The more out there, the better
This is a Christian answer:

The Bible does not recount a specific case of an object being possessed by a demon. It does, however, indicate it. For example, the Asherah polls.

So, this raises an interresting question: Did the demon get into the knife because of its use in a violent crime, or was the violent crime the result of the demon in the knife?

Again, the Bible doesn't address this directly. But, from other authorities I have read, mostly Rev. Mark Bubeck, the demon got into the knife because of some specific occult activity involving the knife. A ritualistic human sacrifice using the knife would be an example.

Someone grabbing a knife in a moment of violence would not result in any possession of that knife.

Can the demon be removed from the knife? The Feng Shui guy is wrong. Of course it can. Satan and his army are already defeated. They can have no victory, no matter how small, even an object as small as a single knife can not be their dominion.

Sorry for what may strike some as a very strange post, but this is a very strange and very serious topic.


House purchase with a violent past? Probably not by me. When I was a kid, one of the biggest mistakjes I ever made was reading "The Amityville Horror". Thinking about that still freaks me's the freakin' scariest book EVER. That said, my fiancee is a big believer in ghosts, as she thinks she saw one once in her house when she was growing up. Regardless, going into a living space with a violent past on your mind, there's no telling what manner of paranoid things you will come up with, and you'd always be freaking yourself out. As far as an object goes, such as a knife or gun, I think it adds mystique and notoriety to a collection, but it is best reserved for the morbid of mind.
I don't believe in holding objects responsible for human actions, whatever our political representatives may think on the matter, so I see no logical reason to avoid a knife just because it may have a tainted past. Similarly, I read extensively on ghosts, possessions, and similar phenomena when I was younger, and even went to school with someone who got their degree in paranormal studies - and I think it's bunk. So I also see no logical reason to avoid a house with a bloody past.

That said... no, I wouldn't buy either. My "human" side still jumps at shadows and checks dark closets. Thanks for delivering this punch in the gut to my rationality, Mr. Mattis. Very good ;-)


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)
I once bought a car that someone had committed suicide in, because
it was a really good deal and I'm not superstitious.
I thought about the guy every so often and just felt sorry for him.
I made a point however of never telling my family why the car was so cheap.
Now that I think about it, for a house with that kind of past,
I would want to sleep in it for a couple of nights.
I'm not superstitious, but I do believe in ghosts.
A knife "with a past" I don't want.
O.K., admit it. How many of you guy's that say they wouldn't buy a something with a "Past", would jump at the chance to buy the knife that O.J. killed his ex-wife with? If not for the "Freak Factor" then at least for the collector's value.
Or how about the rifle that Kennedy was shot with or the gun that Lincoln was shot with? There are collector's that would pay big bucks for "unusual" items.
I myself would have no qualms about buying anything like this or even a nice house at a real good price.
Maybe it's just because I am morbid, but I have seen so much weird S**t that these types of things don't bother me.
Then again people at work told me I'm nuts for standing over a doctor's shoulder and watching him as he stitched up a convict that had been sliced open or wanting to go into the operating room for other cases.
So in the end my answer would be .....No Problem Whatsoever.

C.O.'s-"It takes balls to work behind the walls "
I'll start off by saying that while I don't really identify with any particular tradition of the supernatural, I am highly superstitious. I think that this is because I am wired more primitively than most. Hence my intrest in simpler weapons, heightened predatory urges(hunting, I'm not a psycho), protectiveness of my loved ones, a strong sense of "tribal" bonding, and stuff like that.

No way I'd knowingly buy a house that had a murder/suicide/somesuch in it. That's creepy on sooo many levels... No way I'd own a weapon that had killed in a way not in line with my personal values.

That is, if I knew the history at all. If I dug up a random battle-scarred but perfectly battle-worthy broadsword, it's MINE! Likewise, if I encountered a weapon with nefarious history available free/low price that would have high resale value, I'd take it and turn it around as quickly as possible. I may be primitive, but I'm not stupid... Drive to attain wealth(=security+status) is stronger than the superstitious urges.
"The OJ Knife" or my hypothetical Brutus-Caesar dagger would be valuable as artifacts, and the latter would probably end up on public exhibit in some well-respected museum. I doubt if anybody would use The OJ Knife to make a fruit salad - both too valuable and too morbid.

The knife that came into play when the relationship between John and Jane Doe went very very bad, and there was a small article in the back pages of the paper about it? And it's a good $80 chef's knife and the court didn't have it destroyed?

Come to think of it, the fact that the authorities would routinely destroy serviceable objects - especially guns - that were used in a criminal act, shows a slightly superstitious attitude. It's as if the criminal connection makes the object unclean, so it it would be unthinkable to put it back into the market.

There are a lot of ways folks believe that an object can be somehow associated with evil. Gollnick wrote of demons inhabiting an object - spirits that are intelligent and unfriendly. Other traditions speak of such things. Still others, such as Feng Shui, speak of negative energy or an evil aura, rather than a hostile intelligence. Blades by the great Japanese smith, Muramasa, are said to reflect the the personality flaws of their maker. A blade by Muramasa will, it is said, cut leaves floating down a stream, while a Masamune blade will allow the leaves to float to the left and right of it.

The rationalist here says, "Stuff and nonsense!" and suggests that problems will arise only if the owner knows the history of the thing and lets his or her mind dwell on it too much.


I asked The Wife whether, if the Tower of London had a fire sale, she would bid on that chopping block where an ancestor of hers, an ignoble Scottish nobleman, lost his head, along with the anonymous axe that's on display with it.


And she wouldn't let the cats scratch it!

Yeah, I'd buy the murder-weapon Wustoff, if the price was right. But I'd run it through the dishwasher before using it.

David Rock
I do have a superstitious bent, but not towards objects. People and actions, yes, but not an inanimate object. I believe that a knife, house, gun, what have you, only has the energy that you invest in it. If you allow your thought and actions to be effected by an objects past, it is purely a psychological effect.

This can be both positive and negative. I have many cherished possessions whose only real value is my emotional and psychological attachment to them, the connection that they give me to the people and places in my past.


About 8 years ago, when I was still in Indonesia, I purchased a Borneo machete-like sword (mandau). I was hired to document the Borneo orangutans, and one of the guides had this mandau with him and being a knife nut I was soon interested in acquiring the said sword. No fancy steel there, I was only interested because it would fill my collection. He finally agreed to sell it to me for about $20 but not without warning me that the sword had been in the family for a long time, and that there was supposedly a 'warrior spirit' in the blade. I dismissed the notion as soon as I heard it, as I'm not a superstitious man.

The blade was dipped in some kind of a strong poison, as that is the habbit of the Dayaks (Borneo natives), the same thing they use for their darts. No, not to kill animals, to kill their enemies (yuck!). There was some dark sticky substance along the blade. Having a concern for my own health, I bathed the sword in water to get rid of that sticky stuff. Under it I could see that the blade was all rust. This made me regret that I bought it in the first place. Every now and then I had to coat it with oil, just to prevent rust from completely eating the remaining steel. Once every 2 months I coated it with fresh oil.

One Sunday morning I was home alone and checking my knives, sharpening, oiling, etc. I suddenly remembered the mandau and thought that I should coat it with oil some more. So there I was, coating it with oil and cussing myself for buying the sword. I don't know how but suddenly I had a vision (or day-dreaming I don't know what to call it). In that dream I saw a very horrible thing happened: there was a war and there were people figthing with mandaus. The worst part was that the fallen enemies were decapitated right there and then. This yanked me back to the real world and I realized that I dropped the knife and it almost strike my feet. I assume this happened in a really short time. My thought was this is what it is: day-dream, and pooh-poohed it as a fancy fantasy.

I changed my mind after the same vision came to me the fourth time (yes, it took me 4 times to suspect there was something wrong). It was always when I handled the same sword. This really fired up my curiosity and soon found myself searching for my guide address. In a letter to him I asked the nature of the mandau, and asked him if he knew any history of his sword. I never mentioned about the decapitation and all, and he still don't know about it to this day. His reply was interesting: in the old time his great grandfather used it to kill his enemies and decapitated them. He said he was sorry not to mention it to me for fear that I wouldn't buy the knife.

Two years later, and I was studying paranormal (yeah Corduroy, I HAVE a degree in paranormal studies
), my professor explained that inanimate objects can and WILL absorb psychic vibrations. In short, human feelings and emotions are all psychic energy and they will bring influences to his surroundings, positive or negative. Strong feelings have strong impressions on animate AND inanimate objects.

Sensitive people will feel the vibrations easily and readily, from people and from objects. Some unfortunate sensitive people, especially those who don't know that they are sensitive, will be easily influenced by these vibrations (good or bad). And this is not good.

My message is: ghost or no ghost, if you're easily influenced or psyschically empathic, handling an object with strong emotional imprints is not good for you. Of course we don't know how to tell whether we are sensitive or not, or whether a certain object has negative vibrations or not. Acquiring a knife with a 'past' is entirely up to you.

Me? My collection now has 3 other mandaus in it, each with its own story. For me that adds the value of a piece, albeit in a really strange way. Note that I wasn't scared in any way, it was just a little horrifying (yea right) and I now consider it fascinating. I myself will buy a knife with a 'past' as such thing is usually sold below it's value.

Sorry for the long post, but I don't know how to tell it in a shorter way.


[This message has been edited by Frantium (edited 07 June 1999).]
This is an interesting question. I feel it is possible for an item such as a knife to absorb the energy of the owner, forming a sort of "connection" to it. I have been told this in Aikido; that the weapons I own absorb my Ki, and there is a familiarity that is formed between them and myself. This connection comes from repeated use or carry. Think of the knife used by Jack the Ripper, and ask yourself of you would feel comfortable carrying it. I recall seeing a TV program (Sightings I believe) where psychics were handed a blade reputed to be used for those killings. Most of them said they didn't want anything to do with it. Whether or not they were Sheeple is another story!
It also comes down to what we as individuals believe. Many times we form our own realities knowingly or not. If someone is superstitious, they have a hand in creating their luck.
Though I take all "paranormal" phenomena with a large grain of salt, there are stories I hear from people I consider honest and sober that I can't readily explain.

I have a private superstition, where I like to formally start the useful knife of a new knife with some relentlessly benign and peaceful cutting chore - especially if the knife looks more like a weapon than most.

It can't hurt.

As for professional psychics, I wonder if anyone has tried having them handle several objects, one of which has a traumatic past, to see if they can pick it out.

The Spear of Longinus, reputed to have pierced Christ's side on the cross, is believed to carry a strong occult power. Some say that Hitler annexed Austria largely to gain possession of it from the Vienna museum where it was kept. Previous owners met a quick demise when the Spear was lost and Hitler supposedly committed suicide 80 minutes after U.S. soldiers took the Spear.

Would I buy a kitchen knife used to commit murder? No. Would I buy a martial blade that had been used to take life in defense of Family, God or Country? Probably, but I'd still have to think about it.


James Randi (he used to be a stage magician -- "The Amazing Randi") has tested quite a number of psychics in just the way you mention. They all failed.

He has a standing offer ( ) for anyone who claims paranomal abilities to be tested. If they pass a mutually agreed upon test they win approx one million dollars.

Randi is somewhat arrogant and quite opinionated, but the tests he designs are sound, unbiased tests. His reporting of the tests is usually somewhat snide, but the tests themselves are, as far as I can tell, beyond reproach. If you poke around the site you'll find more info than you probably want on the subject of the paranormal.

As for myself, I'm more interested in what a knife's conditino and price is, than what it was used for in the past. Although a knife with a history is kinda cool.

[This message has been edited by Joel Stave (edited 07 June 1999).]
I wouldnt have any problem buying either house or Nice set of kitchen knives with a past. A house is a house.
If i got a good deal on some Trident kitchen knives, i wouldnt pass on that either. Make sure everything is clean is all thats required for me.