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HISTORY OF FRIDAY THE 13TH

friday13th

For years, Friday the 13th has had the stigma of being an unlucky day.  Various sources contend as to why the day has been regarded with superstition.

Why this day happens to draw unusual events, we are uncertain.  But here is a series of events that have added to Friday the 13th’s reputation for bad luck, and horror:

  • Friday the 13th traces back to a Dutch holiday where mischievous children would sneak into graveyards at night and defecate on tombstones.
  • In France, Friday the 13th often fell on the day after the Feast of Saint Imbibecus.  Thus the day was often associated with terrible hangovers and poor choices made the night before.
  • The Aztecs brutally killed 39,000 in one day on Friday the 13th of August, 1539.  This was done at the request of the recently arrived Hernan Cortez, who claimed to be a god seeking tribute.  The next day he overthrew their empire.
  • One source says the number 13 has been unlucky since the Last Supper of Christ, where thirteen people were in attendance.
  • Hammurabi’s Code, the first set of state initiated laws, omits the number 13, leading some to believe the superstition dates back to Babylon in 1700 BC.  However archaeologists agree that there indeed was a thirteenth law that was scratched out.  Studies of ancient tablets indicate the law condoned cross dressing of government officials, but was probably removed at the advice of Hammurabi’s aides.
  • Genghis Khan is said to have tasted his first defeat on Friday the 13th.  This fight between Genghis and five other larger children fueled the inferiority complex which drove him to conquer a continent.
  • Most skyscrapers do not include a thirteenth floor.  Gregory Johnson bravely included a thirteenth floor in his designs for the Empire State Building in New York.  Three days after its completion, on a Friday, the weight of the building caused it to buckle and it crushed the thirteenth floor.  It has been structurally sound ever since.
  • In London’s summer of 1865, seven prostitutes, two flower sellers, three secretaries and a nun were assaulted on Friday July 13th by a crazy man wearing an athletic mask.  The assailant would jump out of the shadows and present them with literature supporting the Conservative Party.  As the women screamed and tried to run away, they were asked for donations repeatedly, up to 18 times in one case.
  • In 1881, a group of New Yorkers started The 13 Club, aimed at removing the superstitious stigma from the number.  At their first meeting on Friday the 13th, all thirteen members walked under a ladder into a room filled spilled salt and broken mirrors.  They all died in a freak accident involving a runaway truck and a rabid wolverine on its way to be put down.
  • On Friday June 13th of 1952, Massachusetts Governor Kyle McArthur banned all private automotive transportation on the unlucky day.  Nine overcrowded city buses crashed into each other in downtown Boston.
  • Billy Ray Cyrus, Bobby Brown, and Michael Bolton all released albums on Friday the 13th.

How or why this day attracts the macabre we are unsure.  The Weekly World News wishes all its readers to have a happy and safe Friday the 13th.