Baseball fans are celebrating the demise of a curse on the Chicago Cubs, who finally ended a World Series drought that began near the end of World War II.
The Cubs, according to legend, have been afflicted with a supposed "Billy Goat" curse that dates back to 1945 when a man named Bill "Billy Goat" Sianis had a pet goat that was refused entry to a Cubs game. Offended by the affront, according to legend he cursed the club with the words, "The Cubs ain't gonna win no more!"
The Cubs have of course won many games since then - including game 7 of the World Series, what some are calling the best World Series game ever played - but most versions of the legend suggest that the curse was about the World Series specifically.
Curses and spells seem like relics from the Middle Ages, though superstitions are all around us. The next time you're in a tall building, look to see if it lists a 13th floor. Superstitions are common in sports and gambling, where people seek a real or imaginary edge. And last year the British government adopted a novel, folkloric approach to its efforts to end sex trafficking in Africa, using the victims' belief in curses and witchcraft to their advantage by helping women break free of fears that kept them in servitude.