Today is Friday, the 13th of the month. That is an especially bad day for people who suffer from a phobia famously called triskaidekaphobia, a fear of the number 13. Any Friday that falls on the 13th of the month is especially bad, causing the fear of Friday the 13th, called paraskevidekatriaphobia, from the Greek words Paraskeví (meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís (meaning “thirteen”).
Surprisingly, this is the second Friday the 13th of this year. The first Friday the 13th of 2020 occurred back in March.
In the Christian world the number 13 has long been associated with many bad events. Jesus had 12 disciples, which meant there were a total of 13 people in attendance the evening of the Last Supper, with Judas being received as the 13th guest.
On Friday 13, 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered Knights Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay and scores of other French Templars to be simultaneously arrested. The Knights Templar were charged with numerous other offenses, such as financial corruption, fraud, secrecy, denying Christ, spitting on the crucifix, idol worship, blasphemy, and various obscenities. The soldiers arrested and imprisoned all the Knights Templar they could find. Most of those imprisoned were tortured until they died. Many in France were burned at the stake, including Grand Master Jacques de Molay. Only a few Knights Templar survived, mostly those who were in distant countries at the time, and they went into hiding.
The German Luftwaffe bombed Buckingham Palace on Friday, the 13th of September, 1940.
Hip hop star Tupac Shakur died on Friday, September 13, 1996, of gunshot wounds suffered in a Las Vegas drive-by shooting.
The Costa Concordia cruise ship crashed off the coast of Italy, killing 30 people, on Friday, the 13th of January 2012.
In 1907, Thomas W. Lawson published a novel called Friday, the Thirteenth, with the story of an unscrupulous broker taking advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th. The novel became a best seller of the time.
In addition, the month of April is double trouble, according to Chaucer. Just as he fashioned April to be the “cruelest month” in his Canterbury Tales, he also fashioned Friday to be a day “of misfortune.”
Then, of course, we have the hockey mask-wearing killer named Jason in the movie Friday the 13th, released in 1980.
How many Friday the 13ths have you survived? A calculator embedded in an article by Philip Bump in The Washington Post gives the answer. You can check it out at: https://wapo.st/2GE9u1Y.
In spite of these misfortunes, there is no truth to the idea that Friday the 13th is unlucky. Still, I am not taking any chances. You won’t see me this Friday as I am taking the day off and staying in bed.