Friday the Thirteenth

Does crossing paths with a black cat give you the shivers? Does walking under a ladder make you sweat? If these common superstitions make you panic, chances are you’re not looking forward to Friday the Thirteenth. 

Maybe you have paraskevidekatriaphobia, the fear of Friday the Thirteenth. This superstition is surprisingly common, as it is believed that six percent of people living in the United States adjust their typical routine on this day.

No one knows the exact history of this superstition, yet an early myth surrounding the origin of this fear involved one of the world’s most important legal documents, the Code of Hammurabi. This document was said to have excluded the 13th law from its list of legal rules. However, in reality, the omission of this law was nothing more than a “clerical error” by a translator who merely forgot to include a line. The fear of the unknown also seems to play into the development of this unlucky superstition; for example, in the Bible Judas Iscariot is the 13th disciple to arrive at the Last Supper. Judas also happens to be the one who betrays Jesus at the end of the night.

Many questionable events have occurred on this fateful day, yet no one truly knows whether or not they are by sheer coincidence. To begin, on Friday, January 13, 1939, a bushfire swept through Australia’s Victoria Province, killing 36 people in just one day. Furthermore, during World War II, Nazi Germany launched a bombing campaign aimed at Great Britain; on Friday, September 13th, 1940, while Queen Mary and King George VI were at tea, five bombs struck the palace with the Queen inside. Three people were seriously hurt, and one suffered a fatal injury. In addition to these cases, serious floods have occurred as well as murders, deadly cyclones and place crashes. Nevertheless, the underlying cause of these harmful events remains unknown.

One Winsor teacher, Ms. Rachel Bricklin, also has had a bad experience with this day. She recounted the story of “her mother, whose birthday was March thirteenth, getting sick” on this dreaded day. Although she does not believe that Friday the thirteenth is unlucky, she reflects on this day as a bad incident occurring on this superstitious date.

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to rearrange the calendar in order to avoid the world’s most feared holiday. So, get out there and be glad it’s Friday!