What is Friday 13? 13 events to give any paraskevidekatriaphobic the heebie jeebies

13 unlucky events that have happened on Friday 13 Picture: Keith Whitmore

13 unlucky events that have happened on Friday 13 Picture: Keith Whitmore - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

On Friday 13 the superstitious amongst us will barricade themselves indoors on this traditionally unlucky day avoiding everything from black cats to cracked pavements. Stevie Wonder once said 'superstition ain't the way,' but we can't help but think that these unlucky events have something to do with the feared date.

What is Friday 13?

The superstition surrounding Friday 13 is thought to have arisen in the Middle Ages with biblical origin from Jesus' last supper where there were 13 people present on Maundy Thursday before he was betrayed. Thomas W Lawson's 1907 novel 'Friday, The Thirteenth' is thought to have spread the suspicion surrounding the day further.

People who fear Friday 13 can be referred to as Paraskevidekatriaphobics and there are two Friday 13 in 2017; one in January and the other in October.

13 unlucky events on Friday 13


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October 13 1307: Philip IV of France ordered the arrest of the Knights Templar whose role was the protection of Christian Pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem.

May 13 1925: The Tennessee Senate passed the Butler act preventing the teaching of evolution in classrooms.

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September 13 1940: The Buckingham Palace chapel was destroyed during the Blitz by five German bombs.

June 13 1952: A Swedish military DC-3 plane disappeared over the Baltic Sea carrying eight passengers. In 1991, Soviet forces admitted they had shot it down.

July 13 1956: Britain and the US reject international pleas to stop testing nuclear weapons on the surface in the arms race against Russia.

November 13 1970: At least 300,000 people were killed in the Bhola tropical cyclone that struck Bangladesh.

October 13 1972: Urugayan Air Force Flight 571 crashed in the Andes carrying 45 people. Reports at the time suggested the survivors resorted to cannibalism to stay alive. The remaining 16 survivors weren't rescued until two months after the crash.

August 13 1976: Superstitious New Yorker Daz Baxter stayed inside on Friday 13 to stay safe, but his efforts were in vain as he died after the floor of his block of flats collapsed.

January 13 1989: 'The Friday 13 virus' makes headlines for wiping out files on IBM computers across the UK.

September 13 1996: African-American rapper Tupac died aged 25 after being fatally shot in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada.

August 13 2004: Michelle and Gary Docherty had a wedding to remember at East Kilbride Registry Office, Lanarkshire. A swarm of wasps attacked guests before the bride arrived and when she did an insect flew up her dress causing a panic attack. Her auntie's digital camera was also broken when swatting the wasps and two minibuses full of guests didn't show up.

March 13 2009: The much anticipated Saw ride opened at Thorpe Park in Chertsey, England opens only to be temporarily shut down due to technical problems on the same day.

August 13 2010: A 13-year-old boy was struck by lighting at 13.13 on Friday 13 at Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival in Suffolk. He was treated at the James Paget Hospital for minor burns.

Happy Friday 13!

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