5 Spooktacular Facts About Friday the 13th

friday 13th - boo

© bigstockphoto.com / PedroNevesDesign

What is Friday the 13th?

Friday the 13th, also known in Western superstitions as “the unlucky day,” occurs when the 13th day of the month in the Gregorian calendar falls on a Friday.

So unlucky is this day considered to be that the Greeks have given the fear of this day a specific name - paraskevidekatriaphobia. It is derived from the Greek words Paraskeví - Friday and dekatreís - thirteen. The irrational fear of the number 13 also has a scientific name - "triskaidekaphobia." There are also many Western origins to the myth of Friday the 13th being unlucky. According to Biblical tradition, it was the day that Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit, leading to their permanent exile from the Garden of Eden. Some biblical scholars also believe that the Apostle Judas arrived as the 13th guest to the Last Supper, and it was he who betrayed Jesus, triggering the events of the crucifixion.

Norse mythology also weighs in on the unlucky nature of Friday the 13th. According to legend, twelve deities were dining. As soon as Loki, the god of mischief and disorder, crashed the feast, he raised the total number of those at the table to an unlucky thirteen, resulting in one of the deities' death. Thus, the day was named Frigg triskaidekaphobia meaning “unlucky day.” So, it's evident that this day is feared in good measure, but are there any other spooktacular facts about Friday the 13th that has helped cement this fearsome reputation? Here are five facts about Friday the 13th that seem to point to this:

Many people associate the day with death. 

Friday the 13th is often associated with death because many famous events with massive death tolls occurred on this day. Some of these notable events include:

• America's first professional daredevil Sam Patch died while jumping on the Genesee River, after a successful jump of the Niagara River on November 13, 1829.
• Kitty Genovese was murdered in New York, Queens, on March 13, 1964. Even though there were many eyewitnesses, no one came forward to testify because of fear, hence the birth of the “Genovese syndrome.”
• The bombing of the Buckingham palace occurred during the Second World War on September 13, 1940.
• The Costa Concordia cruise ship sank off the coast of Italy on January 13, 2012.
• The famous American rapper Tupac Shakur died from gunshot wounds on September 13, 1996.

friday 13th computer virus

© bigstockphoto.com / vladacanon

It’s the only day with a computer virus named after it.

Also known as the "Virus Jerusalem," this computer virus was meant to be activated every Friday the 13th (except in 1987.) This virus was set to infect .COM and .EXE files under MS-DOS operating systems causing the system to slow down and remove all programs and files in use. The Friday the 13th virus and its variants are thankfully obsolete due to modern computer operating systems. However, with the many sophisticated hacks and malware in operation today, this virus has taught us the importance of preventative measures in computing.

Friday the 13th is associated with one of the highest-grossing horror franchises.

Horror books, movies, and television series that focused on the superstition became most famous on Friday the 13th. The film franchise “Friday the 13th” was the highest-grossing horror franchise until the release of Halloween in 2018. Also, Alfred Hitchcock – the master of suspense and preeminent director of horror films, was born on Friday, August 13, 1899.

Stockbrokers fear the day (but it depends on which month).

The history of the stock market on this day is profitable or dismal, and it all depends on the month. Interestingly, most Friday the 13ths see stocks rise about 57% of the time, compared to 52% on other dates. However, this rise is not historically seen on Friday the 13th in October, which records an average S&P drop of approximately 0.5 percent. To bring the point home, on Friday, October 13, 1989, the S&P saw a massive 6.1% drop, and to this day, the event is considered a "mini crash."

Finally, some good news! There can't be more than three Friday the 13ths in one year.

If you are genuinely afraid of Friday the 13th, here’s some news to look forward to - there can't be more than three in any given year. If you’d like to figure out whether a month will have a Friday the 13th, the month should start on a Sunday. For the years 2018, 2019, and 2020, we got a “lucky” break, as each year only has two. In 2020, these days are March 13, 2020, and November 13, 2020.