Have you heard of the curse of the white lighter? If you smoke, either weed or tobacco, chances are you have. But did you know how the curse came to be?
Is the white lighter actually cursed?
Even today, in countries across the globe, you’ll hear people spout the theory that using a white lighter – specifically a white Bic lighter – is unlucky. So much that some people have been known to choose to not be in the same room as one being used.
And even though the notion that using a white lighter is unlucky is ridiculous, the story behind how the superstition came to be is anything but.
So, just where did the “curse” originate?
The most common theory behind what is less a curse and more an urban legend is that it all started with Jim, Janis, and Jimi, the so-called kids of the “27 Club” – that’s Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, of course.
Besides all three dying at the age of 27 (and further cementing their legends), it is said that the three icons of that particular era all had white lighters on them at the time of death, which is where the theory behind this “curse” actually falls apart.
See, not only did Jim, Janis and Jimi not have white Bic lighters on them, or anywhere near them, nobody else at the time could have the said lighters, as Snopes – the go-to place for debunking Internet hyperbole – was able to point out:
The biggest knock on this theory is that the white disposable Bic lighter simply didn’t exist when Hendrix, Morrison, or Joplin died. The first disposable Bic lighter wasn’t produced until 1973, more than a year after Morrison’s 3 July 1971 death, and Hendrix and Joplin had both passed away even earlier, in 1970.
So, you could say that this has already been debunked, right?
Wait, there’s more.
The aforementioned article by Snopes also notes that there is no mention anywhere of white lighters being at the scene of any of the deaths.
But the origin could be something far simpler than the deaths of those in the “27 Club”.
There is another theory that it began in the early days of Bic lighters being marketed, which saw the lighter available in one of two colors, black and white. Of course, a white lighter would mark easier, leaving evidence on the main body of its use to smoke a variety of substances.
That’s where the legend came about that a white lighter, one that had been used to pack down a bowl or had been stained by hands that were tacky from buds, would be enough to have the user busted by the cops.
That is also false, too, as the Bic lighter was available in far more colors than just black or white.
Even though the “curse” of the white lighter isn’t the only superstition that comes with smoking, it is one of the more well known, which makes its debunking that more interesting.