Friday the 13th has always been reviled as the unluckiest of all the days on a calendar. Here's a little more information about the date so many fear.
1. A wide range of sources claim that fear of Friday the 13th is the No. 1 superstition held by Americans. The fear can be so debilitating that there is even a treatment center set up to help people overcome it.
2. In fact, Friday the 13th is such a terrifying day for some people that a term has been coined for the intense fear of the day: "friggatriskaidekaphobia" or "paraskevidekatriaphobia." Attempt to say those terms 13 times fast. We triple-dare you.
3. Thirteen people are said to have attended the Last Supper before Jesus died on a cross on a Friday, according to the Bible. The scene is told in John 13:21, in case the number of people dining wasn't creepy enough for you.
4. This year there are three Friday the 13ths, 13 weeks apart, the first one being on Jan. 13. The fact that there are three Friday the 13ths this year is eerie enough (most years there are two; last year there was only one), but the fact that they are 13 weeks apart from one another is an exceptional anomaly. It hasn't happened since 1984.
5. In 1993, a study in a British Medical Journal ran a study called "Is Friday the 13th Bad for Your Health?" that found that though fewer people drove on Friday the 13th than on Friday the 6th over a period of years, there were more traffic accidents on Friday the 13ths. "Friday 13th is unlucky for some," the study concluded, according to About.com. "The risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52 percent. Staying at home is recommended."
6. There appears to be no recorded evidence of a fear or superstition regarding Friday 13th before the 1800s. The earliest documented English reference to the day being unlucky was in an 1869 biography by Henry Sutherland Edwards.
7. The Church of Satan rings in Friday the 13th as a day when superstitions grip the pious: "Celebrate Friday The 13th! Today is 'Friday the 13th,' and we Satanists enjoy the consternation a simple number can conjure amongst the superstitious," the church posted on its official website. "So, on this dreaded day, while the credulous cower we sally forth to indulge with gusto. Have a truly splendid day today and an even more enriching night, dear aficionados of the outré!"
8. Rapper Tupac Shakur died on Friday, Sept. 13, 1996, after having been shot seven days earlier. Seven is another number to which much superstitious significance has been lent.
9. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was so superstitious that he refused to ride a train on Friday the 13th, Thomas Fernsler, a University of Delaware mathematician so versed in lore about the number that he is known as "Dr. 13," told USA Today.
10. The word "coven" has long been used to describe a gathering of 13 witches.
11. A Norse myth promises "dire consequences" for people who choose to eat in groups of 13 diners, according to USA Today. So maybe you should just stick to dinner with a couple close friends or family members. And on Thanksgiving, if you're planning on inviting 13 people, perhaps you can conveniently "forget" to invite Uncle Ray.
12. Most people know that many buildings have no 13th floor, but some cities go a step further by not even having a 13th Street or 13th Avenue.
13. The Knights Templar, of medieval fame, were imprisoned on Friday the 13th, according to USA Today.
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