What does Friday the 13th mean (and why we fear it)

4 min read

Don't look at your calendar, but today is Friday the 13th . These dates are considered unlucky days because, whether by magical coincidence or simple statistics, many unfortunate events have occurred on a day like today. For example:

  • On Friday, October 13, 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered the slaughter and capture of Knights Templar. Some believe that because these soldiers had the Holy Grail, but most likely it was due to the monarch's debts to the military order.
  • On Friday August 13, 1521 Cuauhtémoc, the last Aztec emperor was captured by Hernán Cortés, which ended the fall of Tenochtitlán.
  • On Friday December 13, 1939, “Black Friday” occurred in Victoria, Australia, one of the worst forest fires in human history.
  • On Friday, October 13, 1972, Flight 517 of the Uruguayan Air Force crashed in the Andes, leaving several Rugby players stranded in the mountains for more than 70 days.
  • On Friday, January 13, 1989, a virus infected thousands of IBM computers in Great Britain, one of the first computer attacks in history.
  • On Friday, January 13, 2012 in Italy, 32 people died when the Costa Concordia cruise ship collided with the rocks of Giglio Island.

The modern history of the bad name of Friday the 13th is usually linked to the publication of the book “Friday, the Thirteenth” by Thomas Lawson in 1907 which tells the story of a stockbroker who chooses this day to deliberately collapse the stock market. Of course, decades later the film franchise “Friday the 13th” would forever fix this date in the infamy of the popular unconscious.

What does Friday the 13th mean (and why we fear it)
What does Friday the 13th mean (and why we fear it)

Be that as it may, Friday the 13th is not limited to being just superstition . Various studies reflect that people go out less these days. In fact, they make fewer decisions and avoid making heavy purchases. There are estimates that consider a loss between 800 million and 900 million dollars only in the economy of the United States on Friday the 13th. That is a lot of inactivity for a centennial superstition.

If modern medicine is not going to find a cure for this consumer condition, and the last time I verified that no one was raising funds for that purpose, perhaps entrepreneurs should steal the idea of ​​various hotels and airlines to get rid of number 13, at least when it falls on Friday. Many hotels do. Take a look at the elevator buttons the next time you're in a high-rise one. There is no 13th floor. Only the 12th and then the 14th. Of course, the people on the 14th floor are still on level 13, but it gives them some peace of mind by not being on the 13th floor.

Despite the bad reputation of Friday the 13th, there is no scientific evidence that this day causes more calamities than any other. That is, if we were to investigate enough, we would find “macabre” events at almost any other date of the year.

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