For many people, Friday the 13th is very real business. People who suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia (I kid you not, that’s the actual name of it. Ask wikipedia) dread this day like the plague, fearing that something terrible is bound to happen to them or a loved one. Some might even go as far as taking the day off work, barricading themselves in their homes or wearing a helmet and knee pads all day long.
However, others (perhaps more sensible people) are wondering if there is any real truth to myth and mystique surrounding Friday the 13th. Is this day really bad luck? Or is it simply an old superstition that holds no truth?
Well, the answer will depend on who you ask. Sure, bad things do happen on Friday the 13th. Bad things happen most days without us trying to classify them as cosmic fate or unhappy happenstance. Coincidence or not, some very bad things have indeed happened on Friday the 13th. These events include war, natural disasters and some very unfortunate births.
If the following events don’t convince you that there is some truth to superstition surrounding Friday the 13th, then I don’t know what will.
- On Aug. 13, 1521, the Aztec Empire comes to an end after Conquistador Cortés captures the ruler of Tenochtitlán, claiming the city for Spain and renaming it Mexico City.
- On July 13, 1821 notorious Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest is born in Tennessee.
- On Sep. 13, 1940, German bombs hit Buckingham Palace, completing destroying the palace’s chapel.
- On July 13, 1956, Great Britain and the U.S. reject pleas from India and Yugoslavia to stop atmospheric testing of nuclear weaponry. Oh, if only we had listened.
- On Nov. 13, 1970, a monsoon storm kills close to 300,000 people in Bangladesh. Even worse, the storm causes a flood that kills close to 1 million people in the Ganges Delta and leaves countless more without shelter and other basic necessities.
- On June 13, 1986, The Olsen twins (Mary-Kate and Ashley) are born. If you happened to catch their movie New York Minute, you clearly know why their birth is included on this unfortunate list.
- On Jan. 13, 1989, the Friday the 13th virus hits and negatively affects IBM computer all over Great Britain. And in the beginning of the digital age (before troubleshooting and spyware existed) this was a very big deal–and caused mass hysteria.
- On Oct. 13, 1989, the Dow Jones experienced the second largest drop that it had ever experienced (at the time at least). This event was later nicknamed the Friday the 13th mini crash.
What’s your take on Friday the 13th? Are you a friggatriskaidekaphobic? Do you have good reason to be?