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Facts and Fun: Friday the 13th

cat on tree branch silhouetted against full orange moonIt’s Friday the 13th! Falling in October, so close to Halloween, this Friday the 13th may feel extra ominous to some. Surprisingly, although the date is usually associated with bad luck, some people have met with amazing fortune on this day. A British couple reportedly won 17 million after buying a lottery ticket on a Friday the thirteenth, and some consider it lucky for children to be born on this day.

Those who fear Friday the 13th suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia. Yes, it’s a mouthful. Perhaps because it’s derived from two different sources – Frigga, who was the Norse Goddess for which Friday is named, and triskaidekaphobia which is fear of the number thirteen.

Many believe associating the number thirteen with an ill omen stems from the Last Supper. Judas Iscariot was the last/thirteenth person to enter the room. Today, hotels omit the thirteenth floor, most airports do not have a thirteenth gate and hospitals avoid having a room 13.

Fear of the number thirteen was so widespread in the 19th century that in 1881, thirteen men banded together to form The Thirteen Club in hopes of disproving superstition. They took it upon themselves to walk under ladders and enter a room covered in spilled salt. Though the club eventually grew to number over 400 members, (including Theodore Roosevelt and Grover Cleveland), triskaidekaphobia continued to flourish.

Friday the 13th in white script on black backgroundThe British Royal Navy also did its part to dispel bad-luck myths (especially in relation to beginning a voyage on a Friday). Commissioning a ship named the HMS Friday, her keel was laid on a Friday, and she set sail on hermaiden voyage on Friday the 13th-- under the command of Captain James Friday.

All of this Friday-ism would have certainly proved a point had it worked. Unfortunately for Captain Friday, his crew, and his ship, they were never seen or heard from again.

Okay, that one is an urban legend, but still fun!

It is, however, true that on Friday, October 13, 1307, the Knights Templar, renowned as a fighting force for over 200 years met an untimely end. Perceived as a political threat due to their great power, the order was brought down by a church-state conspiracy. Charges against them were never proven but many met a ruthless demise. Definitely, a Friday the 13th steeped in infamy.

Whether you’re superstitious or not, it’s interesting to explore the history and myths associated with this day.

From all of us at Brownstone Real Estate Company, may your Friday the 13th be filled with nothing but fun and an abundance of good fortune!

Candy Ortenzio
Executive Administrator
Brownstone Real Estate Co.