Yep, I failed to blog yesterday. No – I’m not suffering from paraskevidekatriaphobia (fear of Friday the 13th) or triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13) – I just over-slept a bit. Going to bed at 8am (after 24 hours staying awake) and then sleeping for 18hours means that you sleep throughout the day and kinda miss the opportunity to blog (among other things).
So – to make up a bit for it, here are thirteen facts (ok, if you were to space them out, you’ll perhaps have more than 13, but 🙂 ) about the number 13 and Friday the 13th in particular…
- 13 is not only a prime number (its only factors are one and itself), but also a Fibonacci number. Did you also know that “Eleven plus two” (13) is an anagram of “twelve plus one” (13)?
- Thirteen is also know as a ‘baker’s dozen‘ (in the middle ages, bakers used to give customers asking for a dozen loaves 13 to avoid mis-counting), the ‘devil’s dozen‘ and a ‘long dozen’.
- On the subject of a “devil’s dozen” – did you know that the serial murderers Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy, Albert De Salvo, Harvey Glatman, Herman Mudgett, Herbert Mullin, Daniel Rolling, Lucian Staniak, Peter Sutcliffe, Wayne Williams all have 13 letters in their names?. Coincidentally ‘Prime Minister’ also has exactly 13 letters.
- Apollo 13 was launched on April the 13th at 13:13 local time on Pad 39 (3 times 13). And, if you couldn’t remember the actual event, it was ‘remade’ in the Tom Hanks film “Apollo 13” or you can read the Mission Reports. Admittedly, the crew of Apollo 13 were also played “Also Sprach Zarathustra” in the command module “Odyssey” at this time (however, it was substituted for Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in The Sky” in the movie). “Also Sprach Zarathustra” was the main background music to the film 2001 where the computer (HAL) of the space shuttle Odyssey killed the crew…
- There were 13 people present at the Last Supper of Jesus Christ (the 13th person being the traitor Judas Iscariot). Jesus was then crucified on a the Roman execution day – Friday (which is suspected to have been Friday the 13th). To quote John 6: 70-71, “Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot… for he it was that should betray him”. To avoid having thirteen people around a dinner, the French have a custom of asking for the services of a quartormeme (a ‘safe’ fourteenth guest hired on the spur of the moment to evade the ‘evil number’ at a dinner party).
- Friday is also believed to be the day that Adam and Eve is thought to have eaten the forbidden fruit, the same day of the week that the Noah’s Ark Great Flood started, Solomon’s temple fell, and Abel was murdered by his brother Cain
- There have only been ten movies called Friday the 13th – the most famous being the 1980 movie about a young boy called “Jason” drowning at Camp Crystal Lake in 1957 and, when it reopens on Friday 13th June – quite a large number of people start dying…
- 13 is the age which Jew’s have their bar mitzvahs and UK children can get part-time jobs (but not more than 2 hours on a school day or on a Sunday)
- Fear of the number 13 can also be traced back to Norse mythology, where at a dinner party in Valhalla (home of the Norse god Odin) had 11 of his closest god-friends to party. Then Loki (the Norse god of Mischief) showed up uninvited make it a crowd of 13. Loki then encourages Hod (the blind god of Winter) to attack Balder the Good (his brother). Hod then threw a spear of mistletoe (offered by Loki) to-wards Balder (the Norse god of Light, Joy and Reconciliation) – killing him instantly (as mistletoe was the only Earth substance he wasn’t immune to).
- Norse Mythology also gives another version. Friday gets its name from Frigg (the Norse goddess of marriage and fertility) or Freya (the Norse goddess of sex and fertility). When the Nordic tribes mutated to Christianity, it came at the expense of poor Frigg. They maligned the goddess, labelling her a witch, spawning tales of lie and horror. In one tale, the goddess convened weekly meetings on Frigg’s Day, hence Friday. Eleven other witches and the devil, totally thirteen people, hatched devious plans for the week ahead. As a result, Friday was labelled as the Witches’ Sabbath across all of Scandinavia. A witch’s coven also consists of 13 people – 1 leader and twelve followers.
- The origin of the superstition that Friday the 13th in particular is also thought to stem back to Friday the 13th of October 1307 when the Pope of the Roman Catholic church, in combination with the King Philip of France (ironically nicknamed ‘Phillip the Fair’) , sentenced the Knights Templar to death as he was jealous of their power and wealth. He branded them as Satanists and had them executed. In revenge, the last Grand Master – Jaques DeMolay – cursed the Pope and the King of France to die within the year. Which they both did so…
- According the Egyptians, life was a quest for spiritual ascension which unfolded in stages. 12 in this life and a thirteenth beyond (thought to be eternal afterlife). The number 13, therefore, symbolised death – ok, not in terms of dust and decay, but as a desirable transformation.
- According to legend the British government sought to debunk the Friday 13th superstition 100 years ago. A special ship was commissioned named H.M.S. Friday. Her keel was laid on a Friday, she was launched on a Friday, the crew was selected on a Friday and Captain Jim Friday was put in command.
Finally, H.M.S. Friday embarked on her maiden voyage – on a Friday – and was never seen or heard from again. But many dismiss these tales as poppycock and claim that Friday 13th is actually a lucky day.
13 other sites you may find interesting about Friday the 13th:
- About.Com: Why Friday the 13th Is Unlucky
- Wikipedia: Triskaidekaphobia
- Book: Numbers: Facts, Figures & Fiction: Number 13 (extracts available from Nottingham University
- H2G2: Triskaidekaphobia
- Urban Legends: Friday the 13th Origins
- Channel 3000: Friday The 13th: Evil Or Excuse?
- Ask Yahoo: Why is Friday the 13th considered such an unlucky day?
- How Stuff Works: Why is it considered unlucky when the thirteenth day in a month falls on a Friday?
- Salon: Friday the 13th – Should you stay in bed all day? (I did 🙂 )
- Naples News: 13 superstition sways designations of “missing” high-rise floors
- Unlucky 13 by Shyam Sunder Gupta
- InfoPlease: Unlucky No. 13
- News 24: Boo! It’s Friday the 13th