Today, as you all must already have noticed, is what many consider to be the unluckiest day of the year: Friday 13th!
There are endless stories of tragedies and bad things happening on this particular date and people around the world are afraid that something bad might happen to them. This fear is so common that psychologists have even a name for it: paraskavedekatriaphobia!
But why is that? Where does this superstition come from? Is this date really unlucky?
Most people don’t even know why they’re afraid of Friday 13th, others think the jinx might have originated because of the horror movie series “Friday 13th” where dozens of kids are massacred by a serial killer wearing a hockey mask in scenes dripping blood, but in reality this superstition dates back to Jesus’ last supper before being tortured and killed. This supper happened on a Friday and they were 13 at the table, Jesus and his 12 apostles, hence Friday 13 seen as a symbol of treason and suffering.
On Friday 13th October 1307, 54 Knights Templar were tortured and burned alive in France, in a horrific scene just outside Paris that has later sparkled all kinds of conspiracy theories, including Dan Brown’s book.
Also, in 1907 an eccentric stockbroker wrote a book called “Friday the Thirteen” which was a huge success and was made into a film in 1916, about the attempts of an evil broker to crash the stock market on that unlucky date.
There is an endless list of spooky coincidences that superstitious people say, reinforce the belief that this date should be feared: cyclone in India, plane crashes, bushfires, death by lightning …
William Peter Blatty, the author of the horror story “The Exorcist”, died on a Friday 13th.
The actor who played Damien in another horror movie, “The Omen”, will be sentenced today, Friday 13th, because of a road-rage attack on 2 cyclists.
The rapper Tupac Shakur was killed by a shotgun in Las Vegas on Friday 13, 1996.
An aeroplane crashed on 13 October 1972 with an entire rugby team into the Andes. The horrible story of the survivors was turned into a bestseller and a movie.
Another flight, going from Paris to Moscow crashed on that same day. All 174 people that were on the plane died.
The cruise ship Costa Concordia sank after hitting a rock on Friday 13th, near the Island of Giglio in Italy. You probably remember the coastguard ordering the captain of the ship, A.K.A. “Captain Coward” because he had abandoned the ship and its passengers, to “get back on board, for fuck’s sake”! By the way, the captain was sentenced to 16 years in prison because of his role in this tragedy.
Because of the fear so many people have of the number 13, it’s not uncommon for buildings and hotels, such as the Carlton in London, to skip having a 13th floor, going from the 12th directly to the 14th floor. Otis Elevator says that 85% of the lifts they produce don’t have a 13th-floor button on the panels.
As so many people are afraid of dying in a plane crash on Friday 13th, you can find great bargains; many airline companies have special reduced prices on that day.
The same happens with weddings venues, nobody wants to get married on Friday 13th!
And because so many people choose not to go to work and stay at home on this day to avoid disasters, Fridays 13th cause an estimated $900 million loss every year!
If you start looking for tragedies and disasters that have happened around the world over the years, of course, you will see that they can, and do happen on any date so, you don’t need to wait for Friday 13th to be careful while crossing the street or jumping from a cliff!
How about you, do you believe in this superstition or do you agree that today is just a day like any other? Actually, not a day like any other, it’s Friday, time to get ready for the weekend!!!
Photo: Alfred Hitchcock for Harper's Bazaar by Jeanloup Sieff 1962