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Dun Dun Dun, it’s Friday the 13th! The superstitious day is upon us, but do you know how this superstitious day started? No, let me give you a brief history lesson on Friday the 13th. This one day has inspired a late 19th-century secret society, then an early 20th-century novel, that turned into a horror film franchise. The key to the superstition is paraskavedekatriaphobia and friggatriskaidekaphobia the fear of this supposedly unlucky day.
History of Friday the 13th
Just like walking under a ladder, breaking a mirror, or crossing paths with a black cat, Friday the 13th is considered to bring bad luck. But it’s uncertain when this superstitious started. The number 13 has had negativity around it for centuries. Western cultures have historically stated the number 12 was completeness. Examples such as there are 12 Days of Christmas, 12 months in a year, 12 zodiac signs, and 12 gods of Olympus. The Code of Hammurabi is an ancient code that reportedly omitted a 13th law from its legal rules. Many people prove the above is proof that the number 13 is associated with longstanding negativity.
Some have suggested the roots of the unlucky number 13 are in Christianity traditions. There was 13 guest at the Last Supper, held on a Maundy Thursday, Jesus and his 12 apostles, one who betrayed him. The next day was Good Friday the day Jesus was crucified on the cross. Although this is a weaker association it is stating that having 13 guests at the table was bad, specifically that it was courting death.
Moving on, The Thirteen Club was started in the late 19th century by a New Yorker named Captian William Fowler. He sought to remove the negative stigma around the number 13 by establishing an exclusive society called the Thirteen Club. The society would dine regularly on the 13th day of the month in the 13th room of the Knickerbocker Cottage, which was a popular bar William Fowler owned from 1863 to 1883. Members upon arrival would have to pass beneath a ladder and a banner with a Latin saying translating to “Those of us who are about to die salute you.” before they sat down for their 13-course meal. Even four of our past presidents would be in attendance at some point.
Now for the reason we all probably know today about Friday the 13th. In 1907 Thomas William Lawson wrote a novel titled Friday, the Thirteenth about a New York City stockbroker who acts on the superstitious of the date to create chaos on Wall Street. Then in 1980, the popular horror movie was released. It introduced us to Jason a hockey mask-wearing serial killer. This movie would later become a franchise making many sequels and remakes. Even comic books, novellas, video games, merchandise, and Halloween costumes were produced after the movie was released.
Throughout history, many bad occurrences happened on Friday the 13th. In 1307, officers of King Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights of Templar. Who was a powerful religious and military order formed in the 12th century to defend the Holy Land. They were imprisoned for various charges but more likely the king wanted their financial resources and they were later executed. In recent times in 1940, the German bombed Buckingham Palace, in 1964 there was the murder of Kitty Genovese in Queens New York, in Bangladesh, a cyclone killed more than 300,000 people in 1970, in 1972 the disappearance of the Chilean Air Force plane in the Andes Mountains, the death of Tupac Shakur in 1996, and in 2012 the crash of the Costa Concordia cruise ship of the coast of Italy killing 30 people.
Now I’ll let you decide, is Friday the 13th the worst day on the calendar, or is it just some folklore superstition? I for one definitely have negative superstitions around the date each year. But I know most just use it as a day to watch scary movies all day. However, you feel about Friday the 13th I hope it’s good for you this year. Laters babes!
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