Under the head of vain observances come all those beliefs and practices which, at least by implication, attribute supernatural or preternatural powers for good or for evil to causes evidently incapable of producing the expected effects.
The number and variety of superstitions appear from the following list of those most in vogue at different periods of history: The source of superstition is, in the first place, subjective.
The human mind, by a natural impulse, tends to worship something, and if it is convinced that Agnosticism is true and that God is unknowable, it will, sooner or later, devise other objects of worship.
It is also significant that just when many scientists supposed that a belief in a future life had been finally proved an illusion, Spiritism, with its doctrines and practices, should have gained such a strong hold not only on the ignorant, but also, and in a much more serious sense, on leading representatives of science itself.
But the tendency itself has not wholly disappeared.