Friday, March 13, 2009

It's Friday the 13th! Did you even notice?

I'm not the superstitious type. Yet, I go out of my way to avoid walking under opened ladders! It's intriguing to see our darker, more vulnerable sides. And found the following about Friday the 13th fascinating!

Face it, you're screwed. Today is Friday the 13th — the unluckiest day on the calendar — so try not to crash your car, fall down a flight of stairs, set yourself on fire, or do anything else that might compromise your well-being. And for God's sake, stay away from men in hockey masks.

The number 13 has been unlucky for centuries. Some historians peg the superstition to the thirteen people who attended the Last Supper (neither Jesus nor Judas came out of that one OK), but ancient Babylon's Code of Hammurabi omits the number 13 in its list of laws, so the superstition dates back to at least 1700 BC.

Thirteen is so unlucky, in fact, that in 1881 an organization called The Thirteen Club attempted to improve the number's bad reputation. At the first meeting, the members (all 13 of them) walked under ladders to enter a room covered with spilled salt. The club lasted for many years and grew to over 400 members, including five U.S. presidents: Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. Despite the club's efforts, triskaidekaphobia (that's fear of the number 13) flourished; even today, most tall buildings don't have a 13th floor.

The number's association with Friday, however, didn't take hold until the 20th century. In 1907, eccentric Boston stockbroker Thomas Lawson published a book called Friday the Thirteenth, which told of an evil businessman's attempt to crash the stock market on the unluckiest day of the month. Thanks to an extensive ad campaign, the book sold well: nearly 28,000 copies within the first week. In 1916, the book was turned into a feature-length silent film.

Wall Street's superstitions about Friday the 13th continued through 1925, when the New York Times noted that people "would no more buy or sell a share of stock today than they would walk under a ladder or kick a black cat out of their path." Some stock traders also blamed Black Monday — Oct. 19, 1987 — on the fact that three Fridays fell on the thirteenth that year. The Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute estimates that $700-$800 million dollars are lost every Friday the 13th due to people's refusal to travel, purchase major items, or conduct business.

Then came Jason. In 1980, Paramount Pictures released Friday the 13th (tagline: "Fridays will never be the same again"), a slasher flick about a series of murders at a summer camp. Apparently Jason, born on Friday the 13th, chooses that date to take revenge on oversexed campers much like the ones who allowed him to drown in Crystal Lake. So much for trust falls and lanyard making.Friday the 13th grossed almost $40 million at the box office and inspired a long-running franchise: Friday the 13th Part II; Friday the 13th Part III; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (it was not); Friday the 13th: Jason Lives; Friday the 13th: The New Blood; Friday the 13th: Jason Takes Manhattan (he left the summer camp?); Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday; Jason X; and 2003's Freddy vs. Jason.

Friday the 13th Myths:

• If you cut your hair on Friday the 13th, someone in your family will die.

• A child born on Friday the 13th will be unlucky for life.

• If a funeral procession passes you on Friday the 13th, you will be the next to die.

Friday the 13th Anecdotes:

•In 1913, a New York pastor tried to assuage couples' fears by offering to marry them for free on Friday the 13th.

• In 1939, a small town in Indiana forced all black cats to wear bells on Friday, October 13th. When the measure seemed to work (nothing bad happened, at any rate) the town continued the practice for the next three years.

•At the time, October 13, 1989 was the second largest Dow drop in history. Nicknamed the "Friday the 13th mini-crash," these days it's not even in the top 10. That might be the scariest fact of all. TIME Magazine, February 13, 2009

Do you have any superstitions?


MuseSwings said...

I don't plan on leaving the house today, so I'm good to go for this Friday the 13th. I don't think a March Friday the 13th has as much impact as - say - an October 13th. Not sure why - Maybe because the year is still young and we have plenty of time to recover from any injuries that may result.

Blog Stalker said...

Technically I don't believe any superstitions but I am facinated by them all! Anyway, it really is sad that the mini crash of friday the thirteen is not in the top ten. In fact, I think the top ten will all be in the last two years and in the future. Scary thought.

Have a great day!

Blog Stalker said...

Also, I may be the only one who never saw the friday the thirteenth movies. I just do not like slasher, predictable gore movies. And I love movies in general. Am I the only one? Maybe I will have to post something like this......hmmmm.....yes

Have a great day!

LarryG said...

i have a son born on Fri the 13th and he is one of the luckiest kids I know - maybe it reversed whammy on him :)

petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

Muse: hahaha! Great perspective!

Blog Stalker: I agree. It is a scary thought. And you're not alone about the Friday the 13th movies. I'm a screenwriter, and have been asked to write slasher movies, but refuse to!

Larry: But of course with a dad such as yourself! :))

Janeen said...

LOL, LOL, LOL! Happy PFF my friend! Those are great facts about the 13th, especially that club of long ago. Very interesting! And noooo, I don't have any superstitions. By the way, you KNOW I'll be taking pictues of my sisters tea party this weekend, should be fun!

petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

Janeen: I'll be looking forward to seeing them! And I can see you with your hair up like Audrey's.
Tres chic! :))

Mama Zen said...

This is really cool! I didn't know about the 13th Club.

Janeen said...

Good morning Gorgeous! Ooooh that would be fun to go to the tea with my hair all done up in a French twist. I haven't done that in years, I'll have to practice today and get about a 100 hair-pins. ha ha Thank you for your sweet comment, I'm glad it was understood as I wasn't sure it would transfer the same in the written way.

tipper said...

Neat post Petra! I had to take Granny to get her hair cut-and the first thing she said when she got into the car "Now lets be real careful cause it's Friday the 13th" So Granny was on the watch too!

petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

Mama Zen: A few tidbits I had no idea about!

Janeen: I know what you mean about the hair pins! Worth trying? :))

Tipper: How you describe what your Granny said. So sweet! :))

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

What a fantastic blog you have going here Petra.....I looked for a place to follow and didn't see one :(
I am bloggy friends with a couple of your followers like the always fabulous and amusing Muse Swings and the lovely Janeen.
If you have a moment or two of your life that you'd care to waste, please visit me at my blog and say hello.
Take good care and........

Steady On
Reggie Girl

bulletholes said...

my birthday falls on a 13....some years its a Friday...other years it Mothers Day.