There are many non-verbal cues that have completely different meanings in different cultures. One of the most important means of nonverbal communication in any culture is eye contact, or lack thereof. The eyes are the windows to the soul. That is why we ask people to look us in the eye and tell us the truth. Or why we get worried when someone gives us the evil eye or has a wandering eye. Our language is full of expressions that refer to where people are looking, particularly if they happen to be looking in our direction.
It is thought that the “evil eye” belief had its roots in ancient Egypt, and it was passed on later to Mediterranean tribes and cultures. The evil eye is a human look believed to cause harm to someone or something else. The supernatural harm may come in the form of anything from a minor misfortune to disease, injury or even death. The victim’s good fortune, good health, or good looks, can provoke an attack by someone with the evil eye. If the object attacked is animate, it may fall ill. If the object attacked is a cow, its milk may dry up; if a plant or fruit tree, it may suddenly wither and die. It can even affect objects and buildings. The evil eye cast upon a house may soon develop a leaky roof or an insect infestation. To sum it up, just about anything that goes wrong (for any reason, or no reason at all) is blamed on the power of the evil eye.