The fear of Friday the 13th is centuries old
Do you avoid hotel rooms with the number 13 or refuse to sit in the 13th row of airplanes? Do you take extra care not to encounter black cats or sidewalk cracks when Friday the 13th rolls around? You’re not alone! Paranoia over the number 13 has gripped Americans for centuries.
When did Friday the 13th phobia start?
There’s no agreed-upon event that sparked this whole spooky mess, but many historians think the fear of number 13 originated with the Last Supper and the 13 guests who sat at the table on the day before the Friday on which Jesus was crucified.
One thing’s for sure, the taboo has endured the test of time. Now that the summer’s spookiest day has arrived, enjoy these 13 frightening facts about the ominous number 13.
Fearsome facts about Friday the 13th 🙀
- Triskaidekaphobia is the terrifyingly long name for the fear of the number 13.
- Any month that begins with a Sunday will have a Friday the 13th. A calendar year has one to three Friday the 13ths, and there can be no more than 14 months between one Friday the 13th and the next.
- 2018 has two Friday the 13ths, and this is the second one. After midnight on July 13, we’re in the clear until 2019.
- Thomas W. Lawson wrote a novel in 1907 called Friday, the 13th. Then in an ironic twist, a ship named after him was shipwrecked on a Friday the 13th later that year.
- To show his lack of superstition, a New Yorker named Captain William Fowler founded a society called the Thirteen Club in the 1880s. The group met on the 13th day of the month in room 13 of the Knickerbocker Cottage to enjoy a 13-course dinner.
- One 1993 medical study found that the risk of hospital admissions for traffic accidents is as much as 52% higher on Friday the 13th.
- In Greek and Hispanic cultures, Tuesday the 13th is considered far more scary. In Italy, Friday the 17th is spookier than the 13th.
- The dollar bill has many references to 13. There are 13 steps on the pyramid, 13 stars above the eagle's head, 13 war arrows in the eagle's claw, and 13 leaves on the olive branch.
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt wouldn’t travel on the 13th of any month or host 13 guests.
- Taylor Swift turned 13 on Friday the 13th, which is one of reasons she says 13 is her lucky number.
- Westerners have long associated number 12 with completeness (12 days of Christmas, 12 months and zodiac signs, 12 gods of Olympus, etc.). Number 13? Not so much.
- The horror movie Friday the 13th was released in 1980 and is perhaps the best-known example of the 13th superstition in pop culture history.
- Dan Marino is considered to be one of the greatest players to never win a Super Bowl. Guess what his number was? Yep, unlucky number 13.