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Friday the 13th – Dale’s Daily Data

(Photo by kire@flickr)

Get out your four leaf clover and your rabbit’s foot – it’s Friday the 13th. We’ve only got one of them this year and today is the day.  Some years have as many as three.   The fear is in the combination of Friday – considered in ancient history as the 6th day and its association with 666 and the devil and the number 13. Some of the world’s most awful events have happened on Fridays – including the Crucifixion and the Great Flood.

It could be associated with capital punishment in the British tradition. 13 steps led up to the noose and Friday was the usual day for public hangings.

Sailors were always superstitious of Fridays and often refused to ship out on Fridays. Legend says that in the 1800s a British ship called HMS Friday was commissioned to prove the superstition false.

The crew was selected on a Friday, the captain was named James Friday and the ship set sail on a Friday. The ship disappeared forever. As fishermen say, “A Friday’s sail, always fail.”

In recent history, new superstitions about the number 13 have evolved. Notable serial killers have 13 letters in their names. Jack the Ripper – 13 letters, John Wayne Gacy – 13 letters. Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer and Theodore Bundy each have 13 letters.

Many American buildings have floors that skip from 12 to 14. State lotteries of France and Italy never sell tickets with the number 13 on them. American school multiplication tables stop at 12 times 12, why? 13 times 13 is 169 by the way.

A 1993 British study found that even though fewer people choose to drive on Friday the 13th than on other Fridays, the number of hospital admissions because of car crashes was strangely higher on Friday the 13th.

But if you want to be extra careful, don’t walk under a ladder, move into a new home, take a trip or flip your mattress and watch out for black cats.

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