Four-Leaf Clovers Aren’t Such Good Luck After All

Four-leaf clover

Four-leaf clovers aren’t good luck charms? Grad student Sakshi Jacana has compiled enough evidence to put the positive legend to rest.

Dublin, Ireland – As it turns out, four-leaf clovers aren’t good luck after all.

It’s a long-standing tradition; finding a four-leaf clover – a 1 in 10,000 chance in a field of regular clovers – brings good fortune to the person who picks it. The myth is old, predating the arrival of the Romans on the British Isles, born somewhere in the unwritten histories of the druids living in that land. Later beliefs hold that Eve brought a four-leaf clover with her when she and Adam fled Eden.

But a report naming dozens of people who experienced awful luck while in the possession of a four-leaf clover threatens to bring the age-old legend crashing down.

“It’s unbelievable, the names on this list,” stated Sakshi Jacana, the Dublin City University grad student who compiled the data. “We’ve gathered stories from everyday people, to be sure, but also from famous people who suffered tremendous misfortune while carrying a four-leaf clover.”

At one end of the spectrum, the list includes names like Emmalou Duke, a Tennessee native who lost half her house to a lavatory asteroid, a hiemal hunk of human hubris falling from a passing plane. “I was just outside pickin’ flowers,” the study quoted Emmalou as saying. “I noticed a four-leaf clover and got all kinds of excited, you know? Like maybe I’d win Powerball! I put the clover in my hair, and just afore I got back to the house, BAM! Smash!”

Joseph Tanner wasn’t quite so lucky. According to the report, he was watching an episode of Montel Williams after discovering one of the quad-leafed lucky charms, when the springs to his Murphy bed spontaneously tightened. The bed carried Tanner up and pinned him against the wall. Police found him two weeks later after neighbors complained of a stranger-than-usual smell coming from the bachelor’s apartment.

There are some well-known names on the list, as well. Amelia Earhart had a small four-leaf clover painted on the nose of her plane just before her fateful flight. Jimmy Hoffa kept a dried four-leaf clover in his address book, a gift from his mom he’d carried since his childhood.

“Even Harrison Ford,” Jacana claimed. “He’s known to be superstitious, and carries good luck charms all the time. Rumor has it he brought a clover aboard his plane, right before the crash.”

Shamus McFadden, a short Irish fellow with a bushy copper beard and a penchant for wearing green, calls the study hogwash. “Ain’t nothin’ but good can come of a shamrock, three or four leaves, either one. This Jacana lass, she dunno what she’s talkin’ about.”

Wrinkling his nose, he added, “And what kind of name is Sakshi, I ask ye?”

The grad, who is working on her PhD in Folklore Studies with an emphasis on the concepts of luck and fortune, spent the last two years compiling the list comprised of more than four hundred stories tying the four-leaf clover to episodes of bad luck. The study, which lays the basis for her doctoral thesis, has reached its conclusion.

So what’s next for Sakshi Jacana?

“I’d like to prove that breaking mirrors cures cancer.”

Simon Hawk
Chief Diversionist

Simon Hawk is a thinker, writer, satirist, and full-time oddball. As Chief Diversionist of Knozzle, his job is to write, baby, write with the intention of making his audience think and laugh. Or at least chuckle.


When not hunched over his computer, he spends his time on a balcony overlooking the Arkansas River (pronounced ar-KAN-zas, people!) playing Death Metal’s Greatest Hits on his diamond-studded kazoo. He sometimes pretends to know the meaning of life, but mostly just knows the meaning of obscure words like “sesquipedalian”.


Simon Hawk

Simon Hawk is a thinker, writer, satirist, and full-time oddball. As Chief Diversionist of Knozzle, his job is to write, baby, write with the intention of making his audience think and laugh. Or at least chuckle.

When not hunched over his computer, he spends his time on a balcony overlooking the Arkansas River (pronounced ar-KAN-zas, people!) playing Death Metal’s Greatest Hits on his diamond-studded kazoo. He sometimes pretends to know the meaning of life, but mostly just knows the meaning of obscure words like “sesquipedalian”.