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GALLERY: Rabbit's Foot Lucky

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In any case, the rabbit's foot is dried out and preserved, and carried around by gamblers and other people who believe it will bring them luck. Rabbit's feet, either authentic or imitation, are frequently sold by curio shops and vending machines. Often, these rabbit's feet have been dyed various colors, and they are often turned into keychains. Few of these rabbit's feet carry any warranty concerning their provenance, or any evidence that the preparers have made any effort to comply with the rituals required by the original tradition. Some may be confected from fake fur and latex "bones" . President Theodore Roosevelt wrote in his autobiography that he had been given a gold-mounted rabbit's foot by John L. Sullivan, as well as a penholder made by Bob Fitzsimmons out of a horseshoe. A 1905 anecdote also tells that Booker T. Washington and Baron Ladislaus Hengelmuller, the ambassador from Austria, got their overcoats confused when they were both in the White House to speak with President Roosevelt; the ambassador noticed that the coat he had taken was not his when he went to the pockets searching for his gloves, and instead found "the left hind foot of a graveyard rabbit, killed in the dark of the moon. " Other newspaper stories reported the incident, but omitted the detail about the rabbit's foot.

In some cultures, the foot of a rabbit is carried as an amulet believed to bring good luck . This belief is held by individuals in a great number of places around the world, including Europe, China, Africa, and North and South America. This belief likely has existed in Europe since 600 BC [1] among Celtic people . In variations of this superstition , the donor rabbit must possess certain attributes, have been killed in a particular place, killed by a particular method, or by a person possessing particular attributes (e.g., by a cross-eyed man).

In Europe, the tradition of carrying the foot of a rabbit probably stems from ancient totemic beliefs that humans descended from animals, and particular tribes had their origins in specific species. A tribe worshiped its animal ancestor, and carried parts of that animal as protective totems.

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