Friday the 13 – 13 Superstitions, Urban Legends and Fun Facts

friday, friday the 13th, bad luck, superstitions, urban legends, fun facts

The day of reckoning has arrived as millions of Americans rise to head off to work and school this morning – Friday the 13 is here. Marked with superstitions and intriguing urban legends, this day has many biting their lip, considering a toss of salt across the shoulder, or even knocking on wood three times. The many affiliated concepts embedded into this fanciful day is interesting. The top 13 of those superstitions, fun facts and urban legends are presented here; may they be used to enhance your day, your laugh or overall sense of fun.

1. Cross Your Fingers

During the ancient times of persecution among Christians, many instilled and showed their identity to other Christians by crossing their fingers. This gesture was considered a sign of good luck. Of course, it’s growing evolution of white lie masking isn’t the intention. So, when in doubt- cross your fingers!

2. Fear of Friday the 13

Yes, there is a name for all dwellers of fear of this superstitious day. Some people are so worried about this day, they avoid flying or even leaving their homes, resulting in over $700 million lost in goods and services globally. True story. The Stress Management Center has stated the phobia is the cause of many goods not being purchased. People who have the fear of Friday the 13 have a phobia labeled as: triskaidekaphobia.

3. Oh no! A Black Cat!

When over 80 million people own cats across the country, this is a hard one to avoid. This illicit startling of the black cat crossing ones path began during the times of the witches. It was rumored that witches would transform into their animal familiar – typically domesticated cats to travel, stalk or even set forth a

They promise not to turn into witches
They promise not to turn into witches

curse. Ease up on the gasp factor, there’s a good feeling Fluffy BooBoo Kitty is not going to turn into the wicked witch of the west. Or so it’s hoped.

4. Friday the 13th

The long-time franchise of the hockey mask wearing, machete wielding, teen stalking beast called Jason Voorhees maintained a common theme. Every single one of their releases were always released on Friday the 13. While that seems it should be obvious, what isn’t is this next fact: 13 varying actors have played the role of Jason.

5. Knock on Wood

It was once believed that positive spirits lived in trees – these ancient rumors of old have continued throughout the many generations to lead many today to “knock on wood.” This is a statement to bring forth fruition. Has it actually worked? Not sure, but the intention was wood, so stop knocking on the faux wood dresser.

6. 6 6

Creepy, no? This well known triple threat of digits have a long history attached it. Most notably the mark of Satan. This triple threat was noted in one the most historical books – the Bible. Need to have a bad night sleeping? Read the Book of Revelation and its explanation on the three digits as a mark from the beast, the “debil,” the horned creature of the fire lake. Many avoid anything relaying to this number set. A neighbor explained, “new car hit 666 miles on Friday the 13th last year. Think I’m crazy? I drove that sucker around the block a few times until it hit 668, well above into my comfort zone.”

7. Never Eat in a Group of 13

This fanciful consideration may be one worth heeding! Consider the mythology of the ancient Norse. As the hero of many, Balder attended a celebratory banquet, it was the evil plan of Loki to embark on the party to take the life of Balder. Loki made the attendance scale move to 13, well until he killed Balder. Consider next the Last Supper – this writer believes a reminder is not necessary for that. Mark Twain avoided a dinner party that listed him as the 13th guest. A friend wisely warned of “bad luck.” Generic advice here? Round off your dinner guests and invite that nice lady at the market.

Ring a bell, ward off evil
Ring a bell, ward off evil

8. Ring a Bell

Looking to get rid of those evil spirits by the bed? Keep a bell atop of the nightstand. Originated from Queen Elizabeth, ringing a bell indicated evil spirits were present and would be dashed away with the ring of a bell. It also assisted a prayer session for all souls that had perished. This is not an idea approach of dealing with evil neighbors or co-workers, so keep the bell at home.

9. Hospitals Can’t Count?

Visiting a hospital is always stressful enough. Taking flowers to the recovery patient leads one to discover – many hospitals will skip the room number 13. There is no clear specific reason why, reaching out to a close friend, who is an ER nurse, helped to clear the air.  “Patients are worried enough when they come in, placing them in a room marked as 13 is bad. Calm, cool and collected is where we want them to be. Especially for those who are coming in due to chest pains stemming from panic or anxiety attacks.” That makes sense.

10. Apollo 13

The fate of this launch seemed to have all signs pointing to a frightening event. The launch was scheduled for 13:13 on the 11th day of April in 1970. If one wanted to be numbers techy, consider this: 4+1+1+7+0 =13. Additionally, the explosion that stunned the crew took place two days later on April 13, although Friday it was not. The crew landed safely.

11. Not so Happy Birthdays

There are some notable people who celebrate(d) their birthday on this myth-riddled day. Joining the ranks of the Friday the December 13 club are: Jamie Foxx, Dick Van Dyke, Taylor Swift, Margaret Thatcher and this writer’s favorite, Steve Buscemi. Share a birthday with these celebrities? Toss salt, avoid ladders and don’t break a mirror.

The end of Earth on a Friday the 13th? Oh the irony!
The end of Earth on a Friday the 13th? Oh the irony!

12. Baker’s Dozen

Don’t expect 12 when requesting a baker’s dozen. The story goes – when a witch visited a baker, she used to demand 13 items of any pastry dish she ordered. During one completed order, the baker only gave 12. The witch was so enraged, she cast a curse of horrible luck on the baker until he surrendered and delivered 13 rolls. The delivery of the rolls broke the curse, yet the reminder lives with millions.

13. End of the World Predicted?

Previous studies by scientists at the Arecibo Observatory had released preliminary findings some years back regarding the asteroid 99942 Apophis. The trajectory knowledge and data predicted there was a consideration of impact (1 in 45,000) using NASA’s standard models, on Earth. The date predicted of impact? April Friday the 13, 2036. The review of impact has since altered and changed from the year 2029 or possibly not hitting earth at all. Still, it’s an awesome tidbit to end the top 13 superstitions, urban legends and fun facts review.


Editorial by Angelina Bouc

Dr. Dossey
Business Insider