13 facts about Friday the 13th
Why are the number 13, and Friday the 13th in particular, such a big deal anyway?
Here are few things you may not know about everybody’s scariest date:
1. Thousands live in fear
At least 10 percent of the U.S. population has a fear of the number 13 , according to history.com , and a more specific fear of Friday the 13th, leading to financial losses in excess of $800 million annually, as people avoid marrying, traveling and even working.
2. What happened on Friday the 13th?
• The Nazis dropped a bomb on Buckingham Palace on Friday the 13th of September 1940 (the royal family were not hurt).
• On Friday the 13th, October 1972, a plane crashed in the Andes. Twelve people died instantly and more were killed in an avalanche later. Those who survived resorted to cannibalism.
• Rapper Tupac Shakur died on the 13th of September 1996, a few days after being shot several times in Las Vegas as he left a Mike Tyson boxing match.
• On Friday, October 13th, 1989, the stock exchange suffered a serious crash, the second most damaging in market history at the time.
3. Was Judas No. 13?
Thirteen guests attended the Last Supper , according to biblical tradition, and the last to arrive was Judas, who betrayed Jesus. The next day was Good Friday, the day of Jesus’ crucifixion.
4. Bad day in the Bible
Friday was said to be the day Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge, and the day Cain killed his brother Abel.
5. Missing 13th floor
Studies say more than 80 percent of high-rise buildings in the U.S. don’t have a 13th floor, and many hotels, hospitals and airports avoid using the number for rooms and gates.
6. A modern fear
It’s unclear exactly when Friday and the number 13 became linked, but there are no mentions of Friday the 13th before the 19th century, according to researchers from Iowa State University and Connecticut College.
7. Fridays and 13 go together
Friday the 13th can occur up to three times a year and, ironically for those with paraskevidekatriaphobia (fear of Friday the 13th), the 13th day of the month is slightly more likely to be a Friday than any other day of the week.
8. Blame Sunday
For a month to have a Friday the 13th, the month must begin on a Sunday. Don’t believe us? Check out the calendar and test it for yourself.
9. Alfred Hitchcock was born on the 13th
The master of suspense was born on Aug. 13, 1899 – so Friday, Aug. 13, 1999 would have been his 100th birthday. He made his directorial debut in 1922 with a movie called “Number 13.” Unfortunately, the film never got off the ground due to financial troubles.
10. Pretty lucky for one high-grossing film series
The “Friday the 13th” series includes 12 horror movies, a television series, and several books that focus on curses and superstitions.
11. Avoiding the number
Babylonian Code of Hammurabi omitted a 13th law from its list of legal rules, according to an early myth. In reality, it was a clerical error made by an early translator who left out a line of text.
12. Not leaving on a Friday
In the Middle Ages, weddings were not held on Fridays, nor would people set out on a journey.
13. Maybe not unlucky after all
There is very little evidence to show that Friday the 13th is indeed an unlucky day. Many studies have shown that Friday the 13th has little or no effect on events like accidents, hospital visits, and natural disasters.
Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter @shirley_trib.