Today is the day many superstitious people will have been dreading ... yes it’s Friday the 13th.
For years this date has been considered unlucky and if something bad has happened to you on this day, it has more often than not, been blamed on it being ‘Friday the 13th’.
Did you know there is even a name given to having a fear of this particular date? The term is known as friggatriskaidekaphobia...
There are many reasons why people associate bad luck or feeling with Friday the 13th.
For example, some hold that 12 is a complete number – there are 12 signs of the Zodiac, 12 tribes of Israel... – so 13, one over, is considered unlucky.
Some even believe that if 13 people sit down to dinner, one will surely die (this is thought to originate from the Last Supper of Christ when Judas — one of Jesus’ 12 apostles — arrived as the 13th guest to the Last Supper. The next morning, it was Judas who betrayed Jesus, leading to his arrest and crucifixion.)
Here are a just a few events, which date back hundreds of years, and reasons why Friday the 13th has a reputation for bad luck:
On Friday, October 13th, 1307, thousands of Crusades warriors were imprisoned.
Members of the Knights Templar were accused of heresy, blasphemy and homosexuality. Many later died from torture, carried out by officers of the French King Philip IV.
In 1539, on August, Friday the 13th, the Aztecs killed 39,000 in one day.
Hammurabi’s Code, the first set of state initiated laws, leaves out the number 13, leading many to believe the superstition dates back to Babylon in 1700 BC.
Meanwhile, Friday used to be known as ‘hanging day’ as it was customary to execute criminals on this day.
There were 13 steps up to the scaffold, 13 turns in a hangman’s noose and 13 pence and a halfpenny paid to the hangman.
In 1881, a group of New Yorkers started The 13 Club, in an attempt to remove the superstitious stigma from the number.
However, at their first meeting on Friday the 13th, all thirteen members walked under a ladder into a room filled spilled salt and broken mirrors.
They all died in a freak accident involving a runaway truck.
Also did you know that most skyscrapers do not include a thirteenth floor?
An incident in New York highlights the reason why. Gregory Johnson bravely included a thirteenth floor in his designs for the Empire State Building in the Big Apple.
However, just three days after it was finished, on a Friday, the weight of the building caused it to crumble and it crushed the thirteenth floor. It has been structurally sound ever since...
The Nazis dropped a bomb on Buckingham Palace on Friday the 13th in September 1940, as part of the Blitz during World War II. Members of the Royal family were apparently taking tea at the time.
On Friday, June 13th, 1952, Massachusetts Governor Kyle McArthur banned all private automotive transportation on the unlucky day. Yet despite the ban, nine overcrowded city buses crashed into each other in downtown Boston.
And on Friday the 13th, October 1972, a plane crashed in the Andes. Twelve people died instantly and more were killed in an avalanche later. Those who survived did so by resorting to cannibalism. The crash was later the subject of the film, “Alive.”
Given the evidence above, perhaps it would be wise to stay indoors today, until midnight at least!