The myth around Friday the 13th has spawned many horror movie franchises. Though it is difficult for historians to pin point the exact origins of the folklore, some believe it may have something to do with the last supper where 13 guests sat at a table the Friday before Jesus was crucified.
Here are six things you need to know about Friday the 13th:
1. It’s all fear and loathing
Friggatriskaidekaphobia (the fear of Friday the 13th) is derived from the Norse goddess Frigga which is where “Friday” comes from and triskaidekaphobia means the fear of the number 13. Another name for it is paraskevidekatriaphobia.
2. Many run for cover
Millions around the world try to avoid black cats or dodge sidewalk cracks on the this day. In America alone, up to 21 million people have a fear of Friday the 13th.
3. There are some famous myth busters
A few famous people died on Friday the 13th fueling the superstition. Renowned rapper Tupac was killed on Friday the 13th in 1995, Pope John Paul II was also shot on this day in 1981.
4. It’s not for everyone
Not all cultures believe Friday the 13th is unlucky. In Greek and Hispanic cultures, Tuesday the 13th is considered far more ominous. In Italy, Friday the 17th is spookier than the 13th.
5. The stats don’t lie
One 1993 study found that hospital admissions for traffic accidents were 52% higher on Friday the 13th than Friday the 6th. Donald Dossey, founder of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute, says U.S. businesses lose millions of dollars on Friday the 13th.
6. There are some creepy events on Friday the 13th
- During the Cold War, Vice President Nixon was attacked on Friday the 13th.
- Winnie Mandela was convicted of kidnapping and being an accessory to assault, in the murder of Stompie Seipei.
- In America, on 13 March 1964, Catherine “Kitty” Genovese was reportedly murdered in front of 38 people – all of who failed to call the police.
- “The Yankee Leaper” Sam Patch was the very first celebrity American daredevil, completing a jump from a raised platform into the Niagara River in 1829. He fell to his death on Friday the 13th.
- Academy Award winner and Jaws producer Richard D Zanuck died of a heart attack on 13 November in 2012.
- In 1835, Xhosa King, Hintsa ka Phalo, was shot and killed while allegedly attempting to escape from British forces.