In many cultures, both Friday and the number 13 are considered unlucky. If you have friggatriskaidekaphobia, you might be concerned that something bad will happen today.
The origin of Friday the 13th, like the day itself, is suspicious. In many cultures, both Friday and the number 13 are considered unlucky. There’s no concrete origin or history as to why the day is considered so cursed, but there are a few hints.
Superstitions about this day date to biblical times, with Jesus’ crucifixion on a Friday and 13 people at the Last Supper the night before. Others believe that because 13 immediately follows the complete number 12, it may be unlucky. There is even a term for the fear of Friday the 13th, friggatriskaidekaphobia.
Statistics show that the probability of something bad happening on Friday the 13th is no higher than any other day of the year. But because thousands of friggatriskaidekaphobiacs avoid work and travel, millions of dollars are lost every Friday the 13th.
Here are 13 of the most unlucky events to occur on Friday the 13th:
- One of the earliest recorded misfortunes on this day was Oct. 13, 1307, when French King Philip IV arrested and tortured hundreds of Knights Templar, of the Temple of Solomon, for accusations of blasphemy and homosexuality.
- The “Black Friday” fires in Australia were on Jan. 13, 1939. The bush fires killed 36 people in the Victoria province.
- During the Blitz attacks of World War II, the Nazis dropped five bombs on Buckingham Palace on Sept. 13, 1940.
- The mysterious disappearance of a Swedish military plane with a crew of eight was reported on June 13, 1952. This became known as the Catalina affair because two Catalina planes were sent to search for the original plane and were later shot down by the Soviet air force, which also admitted to shooting down the original Swedish military plane.
- The New York City murder of Kitty Genovese that made psychology textbook infamy was on March 13, 1964. More than 30 people witnessed the crime without one person intervening.
- One of the worst natural disasters in history was on Nov. 13, 1970, when a cyclone hit Bangladesh, killing thousands of people.
- On Oct. 13, 1972, a plane carrying a rugby team crashed into an Andes mountaintop. Some died upon impact, others were killed by weather conditions and even more in an avalanche. Sixteen survived and inspired the book and movie “Alive.”
- On that same day, Oct. 13, 1972, a plane in Moscow crashed into the ground, killing all 174 on board. Maybe this explains the fear of flying on Friday the 13th.
- Oct. 13, 1989, was not a good day for the stock exchange. There was a “minicrash” that at the time was the second-worst stock-market crash in American history.
- A widespread computer crash, or the “Friday the 13th virus,” infected hundreds of IBM computers in England on Jan. 13, 1989. The crash caused anxiety over lost files and the threat of then-new technology.
- The death of Tupac Shakur on Sept. 13, 1996, days after he was shot multiple times in a murder that remains unsolved, has sparked many conspiracy theories.
- A boy was struck by lightning in England on Aug. 13, 2010. The time was 1:13 (13:13 military time) and he was 13 years old at the time.
- The largest passenger-ship wreck was on Jan. 13, 2012. More than 30 passengers aboard Costa Concordia died in the wreck off the Italian coast.