History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Fun for Friday: What’s So Bad About Friday the 13th?

Friday the 13th circled on a calendarIt’s Friday the 13th, a day that strikes dread into the hearts of many. But why?

People who fear the number thirteen are said to have triskaidekaphobia, and the fear of the number seems to stem from religious sources–Judas was said to be the thirteenth apostle at the Last Supper.

But even for those who don’t suffer from triskaidekaphobia, there is still paraskevidekatriaphobia, the fear of Friday the 13th. It’s suggested that this is a more modern phenomenon, possibly dating to a 1907 novel, Friday, the Thirteenth, in which “an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th.” Where the author got that idea, however, is much less clear.

And to clear up a belief about the superstition, it likely did not stem from Friday, October 13, 1307, being the date Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights Templar. This belief appears to have been first suggested in 1955, but widely popularized by The DaVinci Code.

Whether you consider Friday the 13th a bad omen or just a bunch of superstitious nonsense, I hope the day goes well for you!


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