Losing Its Famous Magic


By Dana Reynolds Staff Writer

Every Centre student has heard the rumors surrounding the Centre Seal, but are they really true? If you step on the Seal, will you really fail your next test, or is it simply a superstition that Centre students are too scared to test out?

Junior Kristen Gallo does not believe the myth. However, she does not want to test her belief.

“I do not think it is true,” Gallo said. “I am still superstitious, though, because I have not graduated yet. I think I will wait until Graduation Day to step on it.”

For many students, stepping on the Seal is not worth the risk of possibly failing their next exam. It is a tricky business that many students simply choose to ignore. Junior Courtney McKernan claimed that stepping on the official college Seal does not affect the outcome on an upcoming exam.

“I stepped on the Seal once and I did not fail my next exam,” McKernan said. “I do not step on it anymore, though, just in case.”

Junior Katherine Mackin also agreed that the Seal will not determine a failing grade just by making contact with it.

“I do not believe that the seal has any effects, but I still do not want to jinx it,” she said.

If students do not believe in the consequences of stepping on the Seal, then why do they still choose to avoid landing on it?

The rumor of making contact with the seal and failing one’s next exam still repels some students

The rumor of making contact with the seal and failing one’s next exam still repels some students

Even though many Centre students know that there is no evidence behind the consequence of stepping on the Seal, they choose to follow the superstition anyways. A superstition is a belief that cannot be proven by science. They are usually aimed at bringing good luck.

How many people make a wish at 11:11 p.m. each night, even if they do not believe in it? My guess is that a vast majority will answer that they do. According to Connecticut psychologist Stuart Vyse, most people are superstitious, and over half of Americans have some sort of superstition in which they believe. A CBS News poll from “Sunday Morning” found that 51 percent of Americans knock on wood to avoid bad luck, 16 percent will not open umbrellas indoors, 13 percent carry a good luck charm, and 10 percent avoid black cats.

The idea of superstition in itself is enough of a reason for first-year Patrick Wells to distance himself from the famous Seal .

“I like to stay away from any kind of voodoo, black magic, or superstition as a principle regardless of if I believe in them or not,” first-year Patrick Wells said. “I do not plan on stepping on the Seal.”

Cornell University Professor Tom Gilovich stated that, like any good advertisement, superstitions have the power to overcome the human brain. People are wired to believe the nonsense — to find cause and effect where there is none.

The Seal may not have any “real” powers behind it, but it is a fun tradition that Centre students wish to maintain. Superstitions can be fun to have, and this one in particular provides a tradition at Centre College. Graduation Day would not be the same if Centre graduates did not step on the Seal before walking the line to get their diploma.

In a way, the myth gives Centre students something to do.

“I think it’s just another way for us to symbolically show that we completed our time here and have succeeded to the next step,” senior Maddie Mescher said. “I think [the Seal] would lose some significance if it did not have the superstition because [stepping on it] would be something we couldn’t do for four years.”


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