Are you concerned that this Friday we will experience a Friday The 13? Then, you are one of the several million people around the world who are suffering from friggatriskaidekaphobia – the scientific name for Friday the 13th phobia. But does the notorious date have really something to do with bad luck, or it is just a silly superstition?
There are various beliefs and superstitions around the world, but Friday the 13th being an unlucky day seems to be a pure hokum, as there isn’t much evidence to support that idea. Still, many people are afraid of that day, even to a point that they don’t even leave their homes and skip work, which costs world economies millions of dollars. So, maybe there is some truth to the superstition? See these 13 facts about Friday the 13th:
- This will be extremely unlucky year. We’ll have not one, but three unlucky days in 2015 – in February, March and November. At least 3 is a good number, or that’s what we’ve heard.
- Besides friggatriskaidekaphobia, the fear of that Friday the 13th, there’s another phobia, related to the date, triskaidekaphobia, or the fear of the number 13. Napoleon and American President Herbert Hoover were among the sufferers. And President Franklin D. Roosevelt avoided traveling on the 13th day of any month.
- Worldwide, more than 60 million people are affected by the fear of the unlucky day. They don’t go to work, drive cars, or even get out of bed.
- On October 13, 1307 (Friday, of course), officers of King Philip IV of France raided the homes of thousands of Knight Templars. The crusaders were charged with illegal activities and tortured, although nothing was ever proved. Most of them died, according to the “Tales of the Knights Templar”.
- Author Mark Twain went to a party and was the 13th guest. Although his friends told him not to go, he attended, but turned out hosts had food for only 12 people. Today, if you are in Paris, you can hire a professional 14th guest to your party.
- According to a 1925 article from New York Times, stock brokers were unlikely to buy or sell stocks on Friday the 13th. Nowadays, some still fear what could happen.
- Experts at the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Ashville, U.S., have estimated that the fear of the unlucky date costs the American economy up to $1 billion.
- In 2012, there were also 3 Friday the 13ths – in January, April and July. These dates fall exactly 13 weeks apart.
- No year can pass by without at least one Friday 13th. And we can have no more than three of them in one calendar year.
- The British Medical Journal points out that in the U.K., there’s a significant increase in traffic-related accidents on the unlucky date. Women are more likely to die in traffic accidents on that day than on any other Friday, according to researchers in Finland.
- Composer Rossini died on Friday the 13th, 1868, and this is the first reference to the unlucky date. Other famous people that passed away on that date are rapper Tupac Shakur, Nascar driver Tony Roper, record-breaking driver Sir Henry Segrave, and Sam Patch.
- And guess who was born on Friday the 13 – director of some of the scariest movies of all time, Alfred Hitchcock. He came into this world on August 13, 1899, while Fidel Castro was born on Friday the 13th, in August 1926.
The origin of the fear of Friday the 13th isn’t clear, but according to some, it’s related to Christianity – it is believed the 13th guest at the Last Supper was the man who betrayed Jesus. His death also occurred on a Friday.