Friday the 13th, or as some like to call it “Black Friday”, is a part of a superstitious tradition of blaming everything bad that happens on that day on the bad luck it brings along. You may be laughing about this, but there is surely a part of you that believes there is something behind all of this and that it’s not all just something someone made up to scare people.
Why are we so scared of Friday 13th?
Alright, we are a little superstitious. But there are even some people who are extremely scared about this day and what can happen, so much that there is a name for this fear and it is called friggatriskaidekaphobia (the fear of Friday the 13th). But this day wasn’t always considered unlucky – it was just a normal day until the middle ages. First, people ‘realized’ that there is something ‘wrong’ with the number 13. In the early days, mathematicians considered 12 to be the perfect number. On the other hand, 13 was always a surplus and something bad always seemed to happen to a thirteenth person or object. For instance, when there were 13 people together somewhere, people believed that one person was bound to die within the year. This was maybe due to the fact that at the last supper, there were 12 apostles and Jesus, and the 13th person – Jesus – died. To add to this belief, the day when Jesus died was – drum roll, please – Friday. Then, there are only 12 months, 12 zodiac signs; the 24 hours of a day are split into two halves, each consisting of 12 hours. If a pig has 13 piglets, the thirteenth is considered to be unlucky (a pig only has 12 breasts). But enough about the number itself.
Let’s talk about the events that happened on Friday the 13th and which testify about the presumed bad luck of this day.
1. Battle of Hastings – October 13, 2020 – A Friday was the last day of the reign of King Harold II. William of Normandy suggested that he renounce the crown, which Harold refused thus causing his own death at the Battle of Hastings the next day. This event is considered the first unlucky Friday the 13th in history.
2. Templars arrested and killed – October 13, 2020 – Again a Friday 13th was the day when the Knights Templar were arrested and accused of heresy and other crimes against God. Many of them suffered until death from the torture carried out by the officers of the French king. Even though this was horrific, there is no written evidence that it happened exactly on Friday the 13th, so this claim should be taken with reserve.
3. Buckingham Palace bombed – In 1940, the Nazis bombed the Buckingham Palace during WWII. This happened on which day? You guessed it – it was Friday the 13th, September. This happened quite unexpectedly while the royal family was enjoying their relaxing time, drinking tea and (probably) eating cookies.
4. Famous people died – Notable people who died on Friday the 13th only made the superstition stronger. An Italian composer, Gioachino Rossini thought that the number 13 was unlucky, as well as Friday as a day, and the ironic thing is that he died on Friday the 13th. But he wasn’t the only famous person who died on this day. The first famous American daredevil, Sam Patch died on a Friday the 13th in November 1829, but it is not certain whether he fell or jumped from a height of 125ft and fell into the Genesee River and didn’t resurface. In 1930, on Friday the 13th Sir Henry Segrave died. He was a record-breaking driver who had an accident on the track right after he completed a record. He died in the hospital just after he was told about his accomplishment. In 1988 (guess which day!), Chet Baker, a jazz musician, was found dead in a street below his hotel in Amsterdam.
5. A massive cyclone – In 1970, in November, on Friday the 13th, a natural disaster that no one expected happened. In Bangladesh there was a massive cyclone that killed over 500,000 people. This was one of the most horrific events that ever happened, when it comes to those uninfluenced by humans.
6. Horrific plane crash – October 1972, Friday the 13th (of course) was the day when there was a horrible plane crash in the Andes. Many people died, some instantly as the plane crashed, some later in the avalanche, but even those who survived can’t be considered lucky, as they had to eat people in order to survive. Imagine living with that for the rest of your life!
7. Cruiser accident – Now, a more recent event. In 2002, on Friday the 13th more than 30 people died when the cruiser Costa Concordia had an accident and a part of it sank, taking many people down with it.
The fact is that people tend to link unfortunate events with the date and instantly believe that everything bad that happens on that day (as if nothing bad happens on any other day of the year) is to be blamed on the unluckiness of Friday the 13th. We get so fixated on the possible curse of Friday the 13th that we forget how many times this day went without anything wrong happening. Actually, there have been more ‘normal’ days on Friday the 13th than there have been bad. But, hey, we all need some external powerful force to blame when nothing goes our way, right?