Along with being scared of walking beneath ladders, spilling salt and the sight of black cats, there is also a fear of the number 13 for some reason. The technical term for fearing the number 13 is triskaidekaphobia. Well, that’s a mouthful.
Here’s the question, though. Why do we believe and fear this number? Where did Friday the 13th come from?
There’s a number of beliefs as to how the superstitious holiday began and why the number 13 and Friday are so unlucky. Besides an awesome movie franchise that the day spawned, here’s what else we know about it.
The Unlucky Day
Why is Friday the 13th considered so unlucky? A number of people have said that the concept is linked to stories from the Bible. For example, Jesus was crucified on a Friday or “Good Friday” as we call it. This was the day after the Last Supper which hosted 13 guests. Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Jesus, has been labeled as “the 13th guest”.
There are other events in the Bible that occurred on a Friday. Such biblical events include the day that Eve tempted Adam with the apple in the Garden of Eden, the great flood that occurred during the time of Noah and the language confusion at the Tower of Babel.
How Did It Start?
It is still a mystery as to how and when Friday the 13th began being observed.There are different beliefs on how it all began being observed. Some link the day to the Code of Hammurabi, which is believed to have had the 13th rule removed it list. Others believe it began during the time of ancient who Sumerians who believed the number 12 was perfect and that the following number was imperfect.
Another popular theory is that the day began on Friday the 13th October 1307 in France when hundreds of Knights Templar members were arrested per King Philip IV’s orders. Following the arrest, the Templars would be tortured and burned at the stake.
In the late 1800s, the Friday the 13th myth was popularized by Captain William Fowler. Fowler had noticed that the superstitious number followed him through his life as he graduated from Public School 13 at the age of 13 and also fought 13 battles during the Civil War. Because of this, he decided to try and remove the stigma about the number.
Fowler would go on to start a society that went by the name the Thirteen Club. According to a blog by the New York Historical Society, the inaugural meeting occurred on Friday the 13th, 1882 in room 13 of the Fowler’s Knickerbocker Cottage at 8:13 PM. The guests would walk beneath a ladder to a table decorated with spilled salt which hosted 13 guests.
Other Events Involving Friday the 13th
There have been a number of terrible events that have occurred on this day in just the last 100 years. Here is a short list of some accounts. In September 1940, the Buckingham Palace was bombed by Germans. In November 1970, a cyclone killed more than 300,000 people in Bangladesh. The Chilean Air Force plane disappeared in the Andes and Tupac Shakur died in September 1996. One of the more recent Friday the 13th tragedies was the Coasta Concordia cruise ship that crashed off the coast of Italy in January 2012 and killed 30 people.