Welcome to the only Friday the 13th in 2022! For those of you who are not superstitious, it’s probably no big deal. In fact, you probably forgot about it. But for folks who are superstitious, like the darker side of life, or find themselves saying, “Murphy’s Law” a lot, today may be extra dreadful, a celebration, or at least a great day to play morbid (yet harmless, please) pranks on friends and family. It’s also a popular day for haunted houses around the nation.
The fear of the number 13 can be traced back to 1750 BC when the Babylonian King Hammurabi wrote the Code of Hammurabi and allegedly omitted the 13th law from the legal rules that formed the Code. Although it was most likely a typo, this is thought to be the origin of the fear and negativity associated with the number 13.
The Christian Bible outlines that 13 guests attended The Last Supper, which was held on a Thursday, and the attendees included Jesus and his 12 apostles. The next day, Jesus was crucified. The order in which the apostles were seated at that Last Supper is allegedly the source of the belief that having 13 people at a table would lead to something negative – mainly death.
Adding to this fear, the number 13 has inspired secret societies (i.e., The Thirteen Club), books (i.e. Friday The Thirteenth), horror film franchises (i.e. Friday the Thirteenth, Parts 1 – 12 with various other ‘specials’), and has even been classified in psychological terms as triskaidekaphobia (the fear of the number 13) and friggatriskaidekaphobia, which basically means “Fear of Friday the 13th.” If you’ve stayed in a hotel in the last few years, you’ve probably noticed that the elevator buttons skip from floor 12 to floor 14. Some hotels actually have cemented the 13th floor, but most use it for storage and hospitality purposes. That’s how deeply ingrained the 13 superstitions have become in Western culture.
Friday the 13th hasn’t been linked to a massive list of unlucky events; however, there are a few, including:
- King Philp IV of France arrested many belonging to the Knights Templar, who were assigned to defend the Holy Land (Middle East) on October 13, 1307.
- Buckingham Palace was bombed by the Germans on September 13, 1940.
- Kitty Genovese, the woman who inspired psychological research about the “Bystander Effect” was killed on March 13, 1964.
- A cyclone killed over 300,000 people in Bangladesh on November 13, 1970.
- A Chilean Air Force plane disappeared in the Andes Mountains on October 13, 1972.
- Legendary rapper Tupac Shakur was murdered on September 13, 1996.
- The cruise ship Costa Concordia crashed and sank off the Italian coast, killing 30 people, on January 13, 2012.
So, if you feel uneasy today, it may be friggatriskaidekaphobia. Or maybe you need to visit the restroom. Whatever your outlook is on Friday the 13th, just don’t rent a cabin on a lake.