Friday the 13th is upon us, an unlucky day according to paraskevidekatriaphobiacs. Paraskevidekatriaphobia, or the fear of Friday the 13th, apparently still affects millions of superstitious people around the world.
So, on this Friday 13 March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the globe, Trump lingers in the White House and MAFS remains on Australian television screens. Ask yourselves, paraskevidekatriaphobiacs, what else could possibly go wrong?
But is Friday the 13th really unlucky?
Probably not. Evidence suggests the fear of the number 13 originated from the attendance of 13 men at the Last Supper. Then some Christians came to think of Friday as the unluckiest day of the week because of Christ’s execution on that day. However, no one put the two together until the twentieth century.
While some conjure up a link to the arrest of hundreds of Knights Templar on Friday 13 October 1307 for various offences including homosexuality, no one made that connection until more recent works of fiction including Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.
In 1907, Thomas W. Lawson published a novel called Friday the 13th. The plot concerned a broker who took advantage of the superstition surrounding both the number and the day to create a Wall Street panic on the now notorious date.
And so began the superstitious dread of the combined day and date.
Disasters on Friday the 13th
A perusal of historical disasters shows relatively few major calamities occurred on the feared date. No atomic bombs dropped, no assassination of note, and obviously no 9/11.
One terrible event did occur on the date in November 1970 when a cyclone struck Bangladesh, Sadly, 300,000 people died, mainly during the consequent flooding.
Also, Tupac Shakur died of gunshots wounds on Friday 13 September 1996. In the same month of 1940, German bombs destroyed Buckingham Palace’s Royal Chapel while the King and Queen took tea elsewhere in the palace.
In January 1939, the Black Friday bushfire killed 36 people in one day, while on the thirteenth day of October 1972, a plane crashed on a snowcapped mountaintop in Chile. The survivors only survived by eating the remains of those who died in the crash.
That’s about it. In fact, some research suggests today is one of the safest days on the calendar. People apparently take more care when driving and undertaking the other activities that so often kill us in the modern world.
So, paraskevidekatriaphobiacs of the world, today is no more unlucky than any other day. Get out there and face your fears. You are in no more danger today than any other day. But, wash your hands.
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