Haunted History: The History of Friday the13th
Updated: Aug 8
Let's start with the basics. The number 13 has been a haunted number for a very, very long time. Similar to superstitions like walking under ladders, breaking a mirror or seeing a black cat, folks have lived in fear of this dubious number for thousands of years.
Just why is the number 13 so cursed? There are a few leading theories. Like the moon for instance. A year with 13 full moons (instead of the usual 12) caused problems for the monks who were creating the early calendars of yore. Similarly, there are connections to ancient calendars, like the Mayan Calendar’s 13th Bakun which was associated with the 2012 apocalypse phenomenon.
There is also a theory that goes even further back, stating that there were 13 guests at the last dinner (Jesus and his 12 apostles) which took place on a Thursday, followed the next day by the crucifixion (aka Good Friday). Because of that associated, the 13th gained a bad reputation.
It’s also broadly accepted that there is a definitive reason that Friday the 13th has become a ‘cursed’ day. It all goes back to a Friday the 13th in October of 1307. On this date, there was a raid on the Knights Templar that mostly killed them all. However, this has been disproved over and over again by historians. Essentially, there may have been a raid on this day but the superstition was not rich enough at this time.
Finally, there is a fairly complicated theory connected to the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi.
There is a great article by Vox, which goes into all possibilities. They claim that the real superstitious fuel around Friday the 13th started with a book that came out in 1907 called Friday the 13th. The gist of the story is that a stockbroker uses the date to deliberately crash the stock market. And of course, when the infamous slasher movie came out in 1980, called Friday the 13th, the fate of this haunted date was sealed.
How crazy is it that traditions from hundreds and thousands of years ago not only still exist in current society, but also inform modern pop culture? Wild times!
So does this take away some of the mystery and fear of this unlucky date? I hope so, but I hope you still feel a little pang of fear when you look at the calendar and see that it’s a Friday the 13th.
All my love,