Friday the 13th Facts

Charlotte Gerber
Calendar date Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th facts seem to speak for themselves. If you believe that unlucky things always happen to people on this date, you may be surprised. While many unfortunate events have taken place on this day throughout history, statistically, fewer bad things actually happen on this date.

Tragic Historic Events

There are many unfortunate events that led people to believe that Friday the 13th is a very unlucky day. The following are just a few of the mishaps and deadly deeds that occurred on this date:

  • October 13, 1307 - King Phillip ordered the Knights Templar arrested and killed.
  • July 13, 1951 - The Great Flood occurred in Kansas killing 24 people.
  • October 13, 1972 - The Fokker "Fairchild" crashed in the Andes Mountains killing 31 people.
  • March 13, 1992 - An earthquake in Turkey killed 2,000 people.
  • August 13, 2004 - Hurricane Charley hit Florida.
  • February 13, 2009 - Flight 3402 crashed near Buffalo, NY killing 50 people.
  • April 13, 2029 - The asteroid, 2004 MN4, will come in close contact with earth and perhaps cause a great catastrophe.

More Friday the 13th Facts

There are some Friday the 13th facts that may actually surprise many people who believe this day is an unlucky one. For example, despite the number of people who think they shouldn't even leave the house on Friday the 13th, both Continental and Delta airlines report no decrease in the number of air travelers on this date. In 2008, the Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics reported that there is a drop in accidents and thefts on Friday the 13th. Experts believe that this is due to people being cautious or simply avoiding going out on this day.

Overly Cautious?

For some people, going outdoors on Friday the 13th feels like asking for trouble. According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute, up to 21 million people in the U.S. are affected by a fear of this date. They won't engage in normal activities; some won't go outdoors, and a few of these individuals even refuse to get out of bed. The Greek name for this phobia is paraskavedekatriaphobia; translated, it literally means "Friday thirteen fear".

In addition to some individuals being fearful, business owners may also give into their fears or the fears of others. Most airline terminals will not use a number 13 as a gate number. Many hotels do not have a room 13, nor do they have a 13th floor. Furthermore, some cities don't have a 13th street; instead, they give the 13th street an actual name, like oak or maple, and then return to numbered streets with the number 14.

Truth or Myth?

It depends on whom you ask whether or not you should be wary of the number 13. For some people, being cautious and thus far having nothing bad happen to them on Friday the 13th is an assurance for them that if they're careful, they'll be safe on that day. To others, it is all just superstition. Historians believe that the origins of Friday the 13th began with a Norse legend. In this tale, Frigga was a goddess of love and fertility. When Norse tribes converted to Christianity, the goddess was banished to a mountaintop and called a witch. In retaliation, Frigga began meeting every Friday with 11 other witches and the devil to plan the demise of the people who had turned their backs on her. Friday was the name used for Frigga, and 13 represented the number used for the witch's coven plus one - the devil.

How will you spend the next Friday the 13th? Although historically bad things have happened on this date, many other accidents, on a much larger scale, have also happened on other days of the month. Perhaps it is only a myth that this date is associated with disaster and bad luck. Then again, it is always better to err on the side of caution.

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Friday the 13th Facts