Throughout the centuries, the early superstitions that brought solace to the fear-stricken primitive mind have spawned thousands upon thousands of magic practices and beliefs—all with the goal of warding off danger, of placating angry deities, or of summoning good fortune. Since humankind's earliest awareness of the final destiny of the grave that awaits all individuals, people have feared death and they have imagined omens, or warnings, in the simplest things, such as the appearance of a black cat, the spilling of salt, the number 13.
In 2001, bits of stone etched with intricate patterns were found in the Blombos Cave east of Cape Town on the southern African shores of the Indian Ocean. Scientists were surprised when the chunks of stone were dated at 77,000 years old, indicating that ancient humans were capable of complex behavior and abstract thought thousands of years earlier than previously expected.
Some stories of alleged supernatural occurrences cannot really be classified as either urban legends or hoaxes, but as accounts that have been told so often that the truth of the original report has become obscured over the years. Perhaps a classic story of this type would be the curse of King Tut.
Urban legends are unverifiable stories about outlandish, humorous, frightening, or supernatural events that have achieved wide circulation. In some instances, the stories are based on actual occurrences that have in their telling and retelling been exaggerated or distorted.
Every Filipino family knows someone who has been killed by the "bangungot." In Filipino folklore, bangungot is personified as a fat man who creeps into the bedroom of sleeping men and sits on their faces to suffocate them.