This Friday, for the second time this year, we will celebrate the rumored unlucky day of Friday the 13th, a date that's synonymous with bad luck among the superstitious in Western cultures. Here are 13 freaky trivia facts and myths about Friday the 13th:
2015 WILL BE VERY “UNLUCKY”
Good news for the superstitious, Friday the 13th will occur only once in the year 2014, according to TimeandDate.com. Unfortunately, bad luck will reign again in the year 2015, with three Friday the 13th days on the calendar, in February, March and November.
Just like some people are afraid of spiders and the dark, others suffer from a deep-rooted fear of Friday the 13th. The official scientific name of the phobia is known as friggatriskaidekaphobia. Other phobias related to the date include the fear of the number 13, triskaidekaphobia, and another name for fear of Friday the 13th, skeviphobia.
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The fear of Friday the 13th has long been associated with bad luck, according to a report from LiveScience that claims the myth can be traced back to biblical times. The association is believed to have stemmed from the idea that the 13th guest at the Last Supper was the one who betrayed Jesus prior to his death, which occurred on a Friday.
BEWARE OF THE 13TH FLOOR
Hotels, skyscrapers and even hospitals have been known to skip out on creating a 13th floor due to its numeral connection to the unlucky day. While not all establishments follow this superstitious trend, some have played into it. The Curtis Hotel in Denver, Colo., however, laughs in the face of fear by playing the "dun, dun, dunnnnn!!" theme in the elevator shaft for guests as they arrive on the 13th floor.
CALLING IN SICK
According to a report from U.K.’s The Mirror, 72 percent of United Kingdom residents claimed to having had experiences with bad luck on Friday the 13th. The participants polled admitted to avoiding traveling, attending business meetings and making large purchases on this unlucky day, with 34 percent admitting to wanting to “hide under their duvet" for the upcoming dates.
If you’re one of the 34 percent planning on staying home this Friday the 13th, you’re not alone. According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, N.C., more than $900 million in revenue is lost on Friday the 13th dates due to individuals' fear of flying, spending and working.
BOX OFFICE GOLD
The “Friday the 13th” film franchise has been frightening moviegoers since its debut in 1980, and yet it continues to sweep up its box-office competition. According to BoxOfficeMojo.com, the dozen films named after the haunted holiday have raked in more than $380 million nationally, with an average gross of $31 million per feature.
No word on President Barack Obama’s thoughts on freaky Friday, but according to the Huffington Post, former President Franklin D. Roosevelt had a strong fear of the number 13. Reportedly, the 32nd president of the U.S. refused to host a dinner party with 13 guests and refused to travel on the 13th day of any month. Another notable presidential scaredy-cat? President Herbert Hoover.
IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD
According to Thomas Gilovich, the department of psychology chair at Cornell University, our brains are known to make associations with the holiday in a way that would give favor to the “bad luck” myths. “If anything bad happens to you on Friday the 13th, the two will be forever associated in your mind and all those uneventful days in which the 13th fell on a Friday will be ignored,” Gilovich told LiveScience in 2011.
FRIDAY THE 13TH, TIMES THREE
Friggatriskaidekaphobia must have been rampant in the year 1984, when, according to USA Today, Friday the 13th occurred three times in one year, each date occuring exactly 13 weeks apart. The unlucky dates were January 13, April 13 and July 13.
NO YEAR IS EXEMPT
While some years have more Friday the 13th days than others do, no year can pass by without at least one of the unlucky days. U.K.’s The Mirror reports that every calendar year will have at least one Friday the 13th but no more than three. The longest amount of time that can pass without a Friday the 13th is reportedly 14 months.
While rapper Tupac Shakur's death is the most notable death to have occurred on a Friday the 13th, other famous people have also perished on the unlucky day. According to the Independent, several daredevils including Sam Patch, record-breaking driver Sir Henry Segrave and Nascar driver Tony Roper all died on Friday the 13th dates.
According to a report from National Geographic, many people believe that ignoring superstitions, including Friday the 13th, is a dangerous choice that "tempts fate." "Once [superstitions] are in the culture, we tend to honor them," said Gilovich, adding, "You feel like if you are going to ignore it, you are tempting fate.”