Friday the 13th

The dreaded Friday the Thirteenth  is not all about being unlucky, consider the following:

Dutch statisticians have established that Friday 13th, a date regarded in many countries as inauspicious, is actually safer than an average Friday.

A study published on Thursday by the Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics (CVS) showed that fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays.

And in case you didn’t know, the fear you are suffering from has a name. It’s Paraskevidekatriaphobia. It’s what happens when a fear of Fridays meets a fear of the number Thirteen (Triskaidekaphobia).

Did you know that paraskavedekatriaphobia, according to Fox News, can be traced back to “October 1307, when on Friday the 13th, French King Philip IV rounded up hundreds of monks and tortured them into admitting a variety of heresies.”

And while the Dutch study may say that Friday the 13th just got a bum rap, there’s been more than a few unfortunate occurrences that happened on this infamous day. According to, here are a few examples of the sordid history of Friday the 13th:

  • July 1951: The Great Flood killed 24 people, destroyed more than 2 million acres of land in Kansas and caused $760 million in damage.
  • March 1964: The “Good Friday” earthquake wasn’t actually so good. It remains the largest earthquake in North American history, killing 131 people near Prince William Sound.
  • July 1987: An F4 tornado ripped through Edmonton, Alberta, killing 27 people and injuring at least 300.
  • March 1992: An earthquake killed nearly 2,000 people and left 50,000 homeless in Turkey.

And that’s not all. Here a couple scary, yet scintillating facts about Friday the Thirteenth:

  • In a traditional hangman’s noose there are 13 twists of the rope and 13 steps to the gallows.
  • Many buildings don’t count their 13th floors. You’ll see on their elevators that the numbers skip from 12 to 14.
  • There is no 13th Avenue in San Francisco, instead Funston Avenue is between 12th and 14th Avenues.
  • In Formula 1 racing, there is no car with the number 13. The number has been removed after two drivers were killed in crashes, both driving cars numbered 13.
  • Killers Charles Manson, Saddam Hussein, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Theodore Bundy, and Jack The Ripper each have 13 letters in their names.

And lastly, these people weren’t so lucky on Friday the 13th:

  • Tupac Shakur was shot and killed in Las Vegas on a Friday the 13th.
  • Al Capone was sentenced to prison on a Friday the 13th.
  • Benny Goodman, the King of Swing, died on a Friday the 13th.
  • Hubert Humphrey, the 38th vice president of the United States, died on a Friday the 13th.

The probability of being born on Friday the 13th is 1/214 — which means that over the long run, 1 in 214 people will be born on a Friday the 13th.

Every year has at least one Friday the 13th. No year has had (or will have) more than three Friday the 13ths.

Many biblical events of negative import supposedly occurred on a Friday, including the ejection of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, the start of the Great Flood, and the crucifixion of Jesus.

If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil’s luck (Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names).

It’s said that fears surrounding the number 13 are as old as the act of counting. Primitive man had only his 10 fingers and two feet to represent units, so he could not count higher than 12. What lay beyond that – “13″ – was an impenetrable, frightening mystery, thus a source of superstition.

The number 13 has two major, ancient marks against it. One, rooted in pre-Christian, Scandinavian myth, has 12 gods coming together at Valhalla, the home of the god Odin. But Loki, the god of evil and turmoil, showed up uninvited as the 13th guest. Attempting to get rid of him, the beloved god Balder was killed.

The myth spread through Europe and into Christianity, buttressed by the fact that 13 people dined at Jesus’ last supper.

Friday and 13 were linked when the day derived its name from the Norse goddess Frigga, mother of Balder. With Christianity’s spread, Frigga was marked a witch and said to be banished to a mountaintop. There, she got her revenge by gathering each Friday with 11 other witches plus Satan to make life miserable for those who had wronged her.

The 13th floor in some buildings is labeled “14.” Hotel rooms that should be No. 13 may be called 12A.

Italy omits the number 13 from its national lottery.

The 13th day of the month is considered by many a bad day to start something new, especially marriage.

Hindus believed that it was unlucky for 13 people to gather in one place.

Many people alter travel plans to avoid flying on the 13th, in particular when it falls on a Friday.

It is estimated that the 13th of the month costs America a billion dollars a year through train and plane reservation cancellation, absenteeism, and reduced commerce.

Many people avoid elective surgery on Friday the 13th. When I was one week overdue with my son, on Thursday the 12th, the obstetrician told me he would induce labor on Monday the 16th, because no one ever wanted to be induced on Friday the 13th (I did).

According to the Bible, Eve gave the apple to Adam on Friday, the great flood began on a Friday, the Temple of Solomon was destroyed on a Friday, execution day was Friday in Rome, and Good Friday exists because it is the reported day of Jesus’ crucifixion.

The ill-fated Apollo 13 space mission left the launch pad 13 minutes after the hour on April 13, 1970 (not a Friday).

According to one belief, if 13 people sit down at a table to eat, one will die before the year ends. No doubt, that’s why a company in France reportedly will provide emergency guests so that 13 people never sit at the same table.

A company providing computer virus detection services notes on its Web site that a lot of virus writers make Friday the 13th their trigger date. In addition, some 200 viruses are programmed to cause severe damage on Friday the 13th.

Many cultures have long considered Friday an unlucky day. For one, it was the day of Jesus’ death. In some places, Friday was “hangman’s day,” the day on which criminals were executed.

Among fearful Friday beliefs:

A ship that sails on Friday will have bad luck.
A bed changed on Friday will bring bad dreams.
It’s unlucky to begin making a garment on Friday unless you finish it the same day.
By the way, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on a Friday — the 14th.

From Huffington Post and Curlicues


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