It’s the creepiest day of the year

Crossing the path of this black cat is another common superstition. Photo:

Today marks Friday the 13th, and it is a day that a lot of us are on high alert for anything unlucky.

Psychologists have even come up with a word for this fear – paraskavedekatriaphobia. And that’s a mouthful. Especially since this particular Friday the 13th takes place in October, the spookiest month of the year, why is it considered so unlucky, and why do we still care? Where did the superstition come from?

The superstition is mostly found in Western culture. Thirteen is arguably the most criticised number and has many weird origins.

According to National Geographic, the most notorious appearance of the number 13 comes from the Bible. Judas, who betrayed Jesus, is thought to have been the 13th guest to sit down to the Last Supper.

In Norse mythology, a dinner party of the gods was ruined by the 13th guest called Loki, who caused the world to be plunged into darkness.


A man holds a lucky horseshoe and crosses his fingers hoping to give himself good luck on Friday 13th. Photo:

Why the 13th?

One of the most popularised myths attempting to explain the origin of the Friday 13 superstition stems from events on Friday 13 October 1307, when hundreds of Knights Templar were arrested and burnt across France.

Some unlucky events on Friday 13th:

  • In 1976, New Yorker Daz Baxter was apparently so afraid of Friday the 13th he decided the safest place to stay was his bed. Baxter was killed when the floor of his apartment block collapsed that day
  • In England, in 2010, lightning struck a 13-year-old boy on Friday 13th at 13h13
  • Rapper Tupac Shakur died on Friday September 13, 1996, six days after being shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting
  • The Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground on Friday 13 in January 2012 off the western coast of Italy killing 30 people.

So, are you fearful of this day? Chances are it is just your mind playing tricks on you, but that is no reason not to be on the alert.

ALSO READ: 6 things you need to know about Friday the 13th

Reuven Blignault

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