It’s a beautiful day in New York City, but an unseen dark force is at work, for today is Friday the 13th. In honor of this unlucky day here are a few incredible but true** factoids about this superstition.
The 13th day of the month falls on a Friday at least once and at most three times a year. In 2010, today is the only occurrence of the phenomenon.
The exact origins of the superstition are hotly debated (by people who could probably be doing more important things), but it is widely agreed that at its most basic levels the observance is due to the fact that in ancient traditions Friday was considered to be an unlucky day and 13 to be an unlucky number.
The fear of Friday the 13th is known as friggatriskaidekaphobia, which I can’t pronounce.
With 17 - 21 million people in the U.S. affected by fear of this day, an estimated $800 - $900 million is lost in business on Friday the 13th.
The sale of hockey goalie masks and machetes skyrocket by 527% every Friday the 13th, and many summer camp counselors go on lockdown if they are preparing to reopen the camp at that time.
The only documented suicide by means of Friday the 13th occurred in Colfax, IA in 1949. The Colfax Sentinel-Times reported at the time that after discovering that his wife had left him for his older brother, local hardware store owner Lane Robertson waited until Friday the 13th at which time he walked under 13 ladders, while breaking 13 mirrors of various sizes, and having 13 black cats cross his path. Robertson told a witness that he didn’t want to go on living and that he believed he could bring about his own death with the completion of the aforementioned ritual on that day. He later slipped on a banana peel while walking to the barbershop. The fall knocked him unconscious, and made him incapable of dodging an anvil that fell from a building above, crushing his skull. Adding to the oddity of this event, the Sentinel-Times reported that Robertson was declared dead at 1:00 PM, the 13th hour of Friday the 13th. It is unclear where he found all the black cats.
HAPPY FRIDAY THE 13th!!
**The last two pieces of trivia might not be so much “true” as “it’d be really interesting if they were true, but are really just made up by me.”