It’s Friday the 13th. Do you believe bad things happen on this day? If so, you’re not alone. Here are some interesting facts about Friday the 13th and the “bad luck” surrounding the number 13 in general.
Many people have various phobias: there’s arachnophobia (fear of spiders), agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) and even Ophidiophobia (the fear of snakes). But if you’re afraid of the number 13, it’s called triskaidekaphobia.
READ MORE: 12 movies to watch on Friday the 13th
Fear of Friday the 13th
Aside from being afraid of the number 13, there are also people afraid of Friday the 13th (not the movie). This is called paraskavedekatriaphobia, also known as friggatriskaidekaphobia.
It’s unclear how the idea that Friday the 13th was a day full of bad luck originated. But it appears to have taken hold on the public sometime in the early 1800s. However, there have been superstitions around the number 13 for hundreds of years. One such superstition is that if 13 people dine together, one will die within a year. That’s believed to stem from a couple of sources: one, in the Christian religion, Jesus dined with 12 apostles before he was crucified. As well, a Norse legend tells of a dinner hosted by the god Odin with 11 of his close friends. The party was crashed by a 13th guest, Loki, the trickster god.
For those who do suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia, bad news: they can come in threes. In fact, 2015 was one of those years. But from 2017 until 2020, there will only be two a year.
Only one instance
While we had three Friday the 13ths in 2015, this year we only get one. The last time we had just one Friday the 13th was in 2014.
Not every year
While we get a Friday the 13th almost every year, we can go one without one. But the longest we can go is 14 months, from either July through to September in a normal year or August through to October of the next leap year.
What floor are we on?
We are such a superstitious lot that many apartments and buildings leave off “13” from their floors, going from 12 straight to 14. Which, of course, makes no sense since 13 comes after 12, no matter what you happen to call it.
King of horror
The king of old-time horror, Alfred Hitchcock, was born on Aug. 13, 1899. Hitchcock was most famous for his incredible direction and storytelling of horror and thriller films such as Psycho, The Birds and Rear Window among many others.
Hitchcock was born on a Friday the 13th. His life turned out pretty well.
The number 13 isn’t bad luck to everyone. In some cultures it’s looked upon as a good luck number. In Italy, for example, it was long considered good luck, as well as in the pagan culture.
Everyone is afraid of something, right? Well, for famed French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte, apparently it was the number 13.
In 1981, motorcycle enthusiast Chris Simons met with about 25 friends at the Commercial Hotel (now called Angelos of Dover) in Port Dover, Ont., on Friday the 13th. After enjoying themselves, they agreed to carry on the tradition of meeting every Friday the 13th. Since then, bikers from across the country and the United States meet in Port Dover for one of the largest rallies in North America, with estimates of some 100,000 attendees.
A biker poses with his motorcycle and sidecar in Port Dover, Ont., Friday, July 13, 2012.
Clearly whoever planned the Apollo 13 mission didn’t suffer from triskaidekaphobia.Apollo 13 launched at 1:13 p.m. on April 11th with Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise. That’s right: there are three 13s there (13:13 p.m. by military time). But all seemed to be going well in the two days following liftoff from Cape Canaveral.
Apollo 13 lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida on April 11, 1970.
Then on April 13, during a routine stirring of the oxygen tanks on board the ship the Odyssey, there was an explosion which sent the capsule out of control, and ended the mission to the moon. After spending four days in the cold of space with no heat, the three astronauts landed safely back on Earth.
Asteroid of doom (not really)
Meet Apophis, an asteroid about 320 metres wide, which would cause some serious damage if it hit Earth. Well, it turns out that at one point, it was believed that there was a chance that this asteroid could impact Earth, though the chances were small. The date? April 13, 2029, a Friday. It will pass again on April 13, 2036. But it will be a Sunday.
The good news is that further observations estimate that it will safely pass us by, no closer than just under 30,000 km away. If that sounds close, it is. So maybe on that Friday the 13th, we can all look up at Apophis and think how lucky we are.