The protective symbolism of the crescent or horned moon which appears widely in Egyptian iconography as well as in Islamic art, appears to be the origin of the horseshoe’s popularity as a charm against evil and ill fortune. For good luck, the horns must point upward so that the horseshoe forms a containing shape. Superstitious sailors believe nailing a horseshoe to the mast will help their vessel avoid storms. Britain’s Admiral Nelson’s ship Victory is said to have sailed into battle with a horseshoe nailed to the mast.
The horseshoe is presented as a talisman in The True Legend of St. Dunstan and the Devil; Showing how the Horse-Shoe came to be a Charm against Witchcraft, written in 1871 by Edward G. Flight, with illustrations by George Cruikshank and engravings by John Thompson.