This Friday is, for some, is an ominous day- it is Friday the 13th. As a ghost guide, I love it. I will likely be quite busy and the walkers who join me will probably be filled with lively enthusiasm, which makes for a fun tour. But, there are those who would not only never consider going on a ghost tour on a Friday the 13th, but dread the thought of leaving their homes on the cursed day. The fear of this date is undeniable.
So, where does this belief come from?
Many suggest our cultural aversion to the date has biblical roots. The ill-fated Last Supper, believed to have occurred on a Thursday, is the name given to the 13 person meal which marks the last time Jesus ate with his disciples before he was crucified the following day. Interestingly, Norse mythology also contains the story of a 13 person meal, this one hosted by Odin and derailed by the unwelcome 13th guest, Loki. A little research led me to discover the history of our fear and avoidance of the number 13 has been with us since ancient times. The Code of Hammurabi, thought to have been written in 1754 BC, omitted number 13 in its list of 282 laws, as 13 was considered an unlucky number, even then.
Friday has been slightly less maligned than the number 13, but not by much. Friday is supposed to be the day of the week Adam and Eve were ejected from the Garden of Eden, and the day when the Great Flood began. Chaucer warned of the unlucky day in Canterbury Tales. There are those who believe it is unlucky to begin a nautical voyage on a Friday. Marrying on a Friday is supposed to doom the couple to a lifetime of fighting. Starting any new endeavor on a Friday appear to be a recipe for misfortune- there are even superstitions that warn against cutting your hair on the fateful day.
It is not until 1907 when the fear of the number 13 and our wariness of Friday merge to begin the Friday the 13th trepidation we feel today. In that year, novelist Thomas Lawson wrote the novel Friday, the Thirteenth. The book depicts an unscrupulous stockbroker who uses the cultural fear of 13 to cause a panic on Wall Street. The book struck a nerve and it was later turned into a film, further cementing the significance of the date into our culture. Since then, Friday the 13th has taken on a greater cultural significance, which exploded upon the release of the 1980 slasher classic, Friday the 13th. Today, it appears that the lore that surrounds the date is here to stay. Each year, our calendars guarantee at least 1 of these inauspicious days.
Today, the dread of date seems to be largely limited to the US & UK. If all of this is too logic for you to believe, feed your superstitious side with this list of very unlucky events which prove that Friday the 13th is more than just a silly superstition.
If you are of the black cat petting, walking under a ladder variety and Friday the 13th doesn’t bother you, I hope you’ll walk with me this Friday. For tickets and availability, please see our website.
Wondering why I did not mention the Knights Templar? It has been widely dismissed by modern historians