Unlucky Origins of Friday the 13th

By Victoria Guerrero

Mark your calendars and beware black cats, broken mirrors and ladders this Friday.

It’s Friday the 13th.

Everyone knows this age-old superstition as one of the unluckiest days of the month but very few know how where the stories got their roots. Even the skeptics might want to read up; in 2012 there are three 13th Fridays.

Do you really want to risk it?

The origins of this superstition are hard to pin down exactly. Some experts believe that the combination of the number 13 and Friday is a perfect storm for bad luck.

Thirteen is claimed to be an ill-fated number to begin with. According to an ancient Norse myth, if 13 people are seated at a table, one of them will fall victim to an untimely death. More recently, some buildings don’t have a 13th floor at all to avoid challenging superstition. Don’t believe it?

Try to find a 13th floor in the Empire State Building in New York.

Friday hasn’t always followed the letters ‘TGI’ either. It’s said that Jesus Christ died on a Friday. If that isn’t enough to prompt you to be wary of the day, officials around the world claim more car accidents occur on Friday than any other day of the week.

Nervous yet?

This year, Friday the 13th just happens to be four days from a full moon, a phenomenon that has been known to lead to both car wrecks and accidents around the house. It’s claimed that more people and pets visit the hospital on a full moon than any other night. Whether you believe that is entirely up to you, little research has been conclusive to the old wives’ tale.

What is indisputable is that the superstition has been around since the early 1900s when Thomas W. Lawson published the popular novel about a stock broker who uses the unlucky day to create panic on Wall Street. The superstitious have feared for their safety ever since. There’s even a phobia of Friday the 13th called friggatriskaidekaphobia.

You want scary? Try saying that five times fast.

Maybe it’s all hocus pocus. There isn’t any rationale behind the inauspicious day.

But do you push your luck?

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