Happy Friday the 13th to you all! I personally am not at all superstitious about Friday the 13th, in fact I rather enjoy when it rolls around and usually mark it with a bit of a movie marathon featuring Jason Voorhees, of course! However, given the creepy associations of the date I thought it would be fun to explore a little bit of the history of Friday the 13th and why it is considered such an unlucky date by so many people!
How Did Our Fear of Friday the 13th Begin?
It is not exactly clear how the superstition linked to Friday the 13th first came to be. One of the most popular theories is that it arose during the Middle Ages with links to the story of The Last Supper and the Crucifixion. The theory is that it relates to the 13 individuals present at the last supper on the night before Jesus was crucified (Good Friday). In fact, Christianity is full references to Friday as an unlucky or even evil day. It is said Cain slayed Abel on a Friday the 13th. Eve tempted Adam on a Friday and the Tower of Babel story also takes place on a Friday!
Early Evidence of Unlucky 13
There had previously been evidence of number 13 and Fridays being unlucky on their own, but it wasn’t really until the 19th century that we started to see the two linked together as an especially unlucky phenomenon. One of the earliest references to Friday the 13th as an unlucky day appears in the 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini, written by Henry Sutherland Edwards. Rossini passed away on a Friday the 13th. In the text, Edwards writes :
He was surrounded to the last by admiring friends; and if it be true that, like so many Italians, he regarded Fridays as an unlucky day and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that on Friday 13th of November he passed away.
Another theory regarding how Friday and the the number 13 became linked together can be traced back to Friday 13 October, 1307. The day King Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of Knights Templar. The men went on to be burned at the stake having been charged with moral or financial corruption and with worshipping false idols. It is believed that the Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay uttered a curse as he burned: “God knows who is wrong and has sinned. Soon a calamity will occur to those who have condemned us to death”. Many believe this meant every subsequent Friday the 13th would be bad luck for those who wronged the Templars.
Has Anything Bad Ever Happened on Friday the 13th?
So, with so much superstition associated with Friday the 13th, has there ever been any large scale events that would support the idea that this is an unlucky date? The answer is yes, quite a few ranging from celebrity deaths to natural disasters and terrible tragedies. Could this be dismissed as coincidence? Probably. After all, there is probably some kind of horrific event that can be associated with any date on the calendar. However, for those who believe in the curse of Friday the 13th these events can be seen as evidence.
Some of the terrible things that have happened on Friday the 13th over the years include:
- Friday 13 September 1940 – Buckingham Palace is hit by a bomb
- Friday 13 September 1996 – Tupac Shakur Passed Away
- Friday 13 January 2012 – The Costa Concordia Cruise Ship Ran Aground off the Coast of Italy
- Friday 13 July 1951 – Kansas was Hit by More Than 25 Inches of Rain & Experienced Record Breaking Floods
- Friday 13 October 1989 – The Stock Market Experienced a Mini Crash
- Friday 13 October 1972 – Flight 571 Crashes in the Andes & Survivors Turn to Cannibalism to Survive
- Friday 13 January 1989 – The Friday 13 Computer Virus Sweeps the UK
- Friday 13 November 1970 – The Deadly Bhola Cyclone Hits the Bay of Bengal Killing up to 550,000 People
- Friday 13 October, 2006 – Buffalo NY is hit by a Freak Blizzard Leaving 300,000 Without Power
- Friday 13 January, 1939 – Bush Fires in Victoria, Australia Killed 71 People & Destroyed 575,000 Hectares of Land
How do you feel about Friday the 13th? Bona fide bad luck or silly superstition? I’d love to hear your thoughts.