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World's Weirdest Superstitions

World's Weirdest Superstitions: turning thumb at Hagia Sophia

LOOK Die Bildagentur der Fotografen GmbH / Alamy

Thumb Turning at the Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Inside this Byzantine church turned mosque turned museum stands a bronze-plated column with a smooth, thumb-deep hole at about eye level. After rumors circulated that Emperor Justinian cured a troublesome headache after touching the column, it developed a reputation for healing powers. Folks wait for a chance to rotate their thumbs clockwise in a full circle in hopes of having their wishes granted. You might spy someone wearing a charm with concentric blue and white circles resembling an eye. The symbol is common throughout Turkey, Greece, and Bulgaria; people hang them in homes and businesses or wear them as protection against the evil eye.


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