Friday the 13th is THIS Friday

For the superstitious among us, Friday the 13th can be a tricky day wrought with abject terror.

The fear that danger lurks around every corner.

The ladders that we avoid walking under, the black cats whose paths we circumvent, the sidewalk cracks on which we dare not step all carry a heightened importance on this, the universal day of calamity and misfortune.

But why? What is it about the inevitable coincidence of the 13th day of any given month falling on one particular day of the week that causes people to freak out more than usual? It’s not just a small group of gullible fools either, the whole Friday the 13th thing has become ubiquitous with bad luck, enough so that it sparked a number of books and even a first rate horror movie franchise. There is even a word for it – paraskevidekatriaphobia. Seriously, that is a word.

Religious scholars, and people who read Dan Brown books, would have you believe that it all has something to do with the Catholic Church and the Templar and murder and revenge and people who behave badly getting their just desserts. Maybe there is something to that.

However, at this point Friday the 13th has gone way beyond a religious superstition to a stage where there are buildings without a 13th floor and airplanes without a 13th row (though I suspect that those in row 14 know where they are really sitting).

What we do know is that the association of Friday the 13th with catastrophe goes back in written records at least several hundred years. Rather than rehashing the why of it all, I’ve elected to compile a list of misadventures, disaster, and interesting tidbits concerning Friday the 13th’s past.

– According to Time Magazine, one of the first specific written references to Friday the 13th as an unlucky day was in a novel written in 1903 by Thomas W. Lawson, called Friday, the 13th. Ironically, a ship named after Lawson was caught in a storm and shipwrecked on the night of Friday the 13th, just four years later.
– An actual study conducted in 1993 found that hospital admissions for traffic accidents were 52% higher on Friday the 13th than Friday the 6th.
The Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute (a completely real institution) says U.S. businesses lose $800 to $900 million on Friday the 13th, because some people are reluctant to leave their homes.
– In 2010, lightning struck a 13-year-old boy from England on Friday 13th. The paramedics recorded the time of the incident as being 13:13.
– Rapper Tupac Shakur died of his wounds on Friday September 13, 1996.
– The Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground on Friday 13 in January 2012 off the western coast of Italy killing 30 people.
– The number of property transactions decline on Friday 13. Research by found that between 2005 and 2012, there were 43 per cent fewer transactions on Friday 13 compared to other Fridays in the month.
– Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashes over the Andes killing 29 people and forcing the 16 survivors to resort to cannibalism
– Kitty Genovese was murdered on Friday the 13th in front of 38 witnesses on the streets of New York, all of whom failed to call the police.
– The Gallup Polling Company reports that 25% of Americans acknowledged that they were “very” (1%) or “somewhat” (24%) superstitious, up from 18% who said that in 1990. The poll also shows that younger people tend to be more superstitious than older people.

On a lighter note though, if you would like to spend this Friday the 13th downing a couple of drinks and contributing to a good cause, the Falmouth Museums on the Green will be hosting a festive evening under the tent with libations and good vibrations.

The 21 plus event will feature Cape Cod Beer, Cape Cod Winery, Sagamore Beach Barbecue, Inflatable Pubs of Cape Cod, and live music from Falmouth’s own Crooked Coast. Tickets are $25 and include your first beer, hard cider, wine or non-alcoholic beverage. The first 150 reservations include a commemorative pint glass to add to your collection.

For more info, visit

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