Five Freaky Friday the 13th Facts

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http://woodbury.patch.com/articles/five-freaky-friday-the-13th-facts-76b0f9d1

The superstitious don’t have to wait very long in 2012 for the unluckiest of days to arrive: The first Friday the 13th is here.

In fact, this is just the first of three—the most possible occurrences in a single year—in 2012, since April and July also will have a Friday fall on the 13th.

But where does the superstition come from?

No one really knows the exact origins of Friday the 13th, but historians speculate that it has to do with the combination of two superstitions—that Friday is an unlucky day, and 13 is an unlucky number.

The combo-superstition is a fairly recent one, at least in the written sense; there are few references to it earlier than the beginning of the 20th century. Friday has been an unlucky day since at least the 14th century, when folks believed it was bad luck to start a journey on a Friday.

The number 13 has been considered unlucky as far back as biblical times, when the 13th guest at the Last Supper betrayed Jesus. It might even date further back, to Norse mythology, which featured 13 gods who all met grisly ends.

Another note from USA Today: This year there are three Friday the 13ths, 13 weeks apart, a rarity. 

Regardless of how it began, the fear of Friday the 13th gets people panicked. Here’s a few facts about just how much of a grip the superstition has on the world:

1. More than 60 million people worldwide are affected by a fear of Friday the 13th, many of them so much so that they will not drive a car, leave the house, or even get out of bed. In fact, there is purportedly a significant increase in traffic accidents on that particular day.

2. The fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia. The fear of the number 13 is called triskaidekaphobia, and both Napoleon Bonaparte and President Herbert Hoover were infamously stricken with it.

3. Four of the 12 movies in the Friday the 13th franchise have been released on Friday the 13th, including the original (1980), the sequel (1981) and the 2009 remake. 

4. Legendary rapper Tupac Shakur died on Friday the 13th in 1996, while Fidel Castro, Steve Buscemi and Margaret Thatcher were all born on a Friday the 13th (1926, 1957 and 1923, respectively).

5. Many hospitals don’t have a room 13, in the same way that many airports don’t have a gate 13. Some establishments will instead call it 12a, or just skip right ahead to 14, as is the custom for tall buildings. Really—visit the city and try to find a high-rise elevator with a 13 button!

Happy Friday the 13th! And to all the friggatriskaidekaphobics of the world… well, maybe you should have just stayed in bed.

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