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When the main character (Louis Creed) and the old man (Jud Crandall) go to the Indian burial ground, Jud tells Louis to not look behind while they are en route. I'm guessing this could have some allegorical value, to cast doubt aside and to admit that the deed they are about to commit is morally wrong and unnatural. But the warning was against physically looking back, which the character of Louis does in the movie (I haven't read the book. Did he also look behind in the book?)

So, what did that mean? Did it have any effect? Or was it a morsel of superstition in an otherwise "real" supernatural setting?

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    Perhaps it was a reference to the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, where when rescuing Eurydice from Hades if he looks back at her before they both leave the underworld she would vanish forever. Jan 22, 2013 at 16:12
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    It's been a while since a read it, but wasn't the warning about the Wendigo (if you see the Wendigo, you develop a hunger for human flesh)? Probably not, since you'd have to walk with your eyes closed, just in case :P
    – Andres F.
    Jan 22, 2013 at 16:19
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    Also the story of Lot's wife in the Bible. Seems to be embedded in the mythopoetic unconscious... Jan 22, 2013 at 16:45
  • I agree with the Orpheus interpretation, especially as they're leaving a place of the dead. Though I don't know the story in question so I can't comment on further similarities.
    – Kevin
    Jan 22, 2013 at 17:00
  • Now I'm wondering if the instruction to not look back is while they're going to the place or leaving it...
    – MPelletier
    Jan 22, 2013 at 17:53

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Any time you traverse through the underworld it is general advice that comes from the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice. But the idea of not looking back to supernatural events or places is a recurring trope in Judeo-Christian, Fae, and Japanese myths just off the top of my head.

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