Today is Friday the 13th–the second of three Friday the 13ths this year. The first was in January and third will happen in July.
Superstition has long held Friday the 13th to be a day of bad luck. It has become so widespread that there are specific phobias associated with the day.
13 Historical Friday the 13th Events
- On Oct. 13, 1307, King Philip IV of France raided the homes of the Knights Templar, who were warrior monks during the Crusades, imprisoning several thousand men on charges of illegal activities. None of these charges were proven, but hundreds suffered excruciating torture intended to force confessions, and more than a hundred died.
- Jacques de Molay, the last known Grand Master of the Knights Templar was burned to death on a slow fire outside Notre Dame on Friday, March 13, 1314.
- Butch Cassidy, notorious American train and bank robber, was born on Friday, April 13, 1866.
- Al Capone was sentenced to prison on a Friday the 13th.
- The Butler Act, a Tennessee law prohibiting schools from teaching evolution, passed on Friday, March 13, 1925.
- Fidel Castro, the much disliked Prime Minister then President of Cuba, was born Friday, Aug. 13, 1926.
- On July 13, 1951 The Great Flood killed 24 people, destroyed more than 2 million acres of land in Kansas and caused $760 million in damage.
- A huge South Asian storm killed an estimated 300,000 people in Chittagong, Bangladesh, and created floods that killed as many as 1 million in the Ganges delta on Nov. 13, 1970.
- A Uruguayan rugby team’s plane crashed in the Andes mountain range on Friday, Oct. 13, 1972.
- Hubert Humphrey, the 38th vice president of the United States, died on Friday Jan. 13, 1978.
- An F4 tornado ripped through Edmonton, Alberta, killing 27 people and injuring at least 300 on July 13, 1987.
- The "Friday the 13th virus" infected hundreds of IBM computers across Great Britain on Friday, Jan. 13, 1989. This is one of the most famous early examples of a computer virus making headlines.
- Tupac Shakur was shot and killed in Las Vegas on Friday, Sept. 13, 1996
Facts and Supersitions about Friday the 13th
- There is at least one Friday the 13th every year, but no single year has more than three.
- Months with a Friday the 13th always begin on a Sunday.
- The longest period that can occur without a Friday the 13th is fourteen months.
- Legend has it if 13 people sit down to dinner together, one will die within the year. In France, diners can hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest.
- Friday is said to be the day when Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit, Abel was killed by Cain and Jesus Christ was crucified.
- Many cities do not have a 13th Street or 13th Avenue.
- Many buildings don't have a 13th floor.
- Most airports skip having a 13th gate and airplanes a 13th row.
- Many hospitals do not have a room number 13.
- If you have 13 letters in your name, you have the devil's luck - Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer and Theodore Bundy all have 13 letters in their names.
- There are 13 twists of the rope in a traditional hangman's noose and 13 steps leading up to the gallows.
- In Formula 1 racing, there is no car with the number 13. The number has been removed after two drivers were killed in crashes, both driving cars numbered 13.
- An urban myth states the Brittish Royal Navy tried to dispel the superstition that sailing on Friday was bad luck. They built a ship named HMS Friday. On its maiden voyage, the vessel left dock on a Friday the 13th, and was never heard from again.