By Mary TuckerThere are three so-called unlucky days in 2009. Today is the first, the second comes in March and the last comes in November. No one knows for sure the origins of Friday the 13th, but it may be traced back to the middle ages and biblical times when both Friday and thirteen were considered bearers of bad fortunes. While surfing the Internet I discovered thirteen facts about Friday the 13th. Most are true, some informative and others amusing.
1. The British Navy built a ship named Friday the 13th. On its maiden voyage on Friday the 13th the vessel left dock and was never heard from again.
2. Apollo 13 launched at 13:13 CST April 17,1970. Add up the digits of that date (4-11-70) and you get 13 (as in 4+1+1+7+0=13). The explosion that crippled the spacecraft occurred on April 13, not a Friday. However, the crew made it back to Earth safely.
3. Many hospitals have no room 13; some tall buildings skip the 13th floor.
4. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13.
5. Quarterback Dan Marino wore number 13 during his career with the Miami Dolphins. One of the best quarterbacks in football, he got to the Super Bowl just once in 1985. Leading the Dolphins he was trounced by the San Francisco 49ers and Joe Montana, no. 16, who won all 4 Super Bowls he played in.
6. Butch Cassidy, notorious train and bank robber, was born on Friday, April 13, 1866.
7. Fidel Castro was born on Friday, August 13, 1926.
8. President Franklin Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and never had 13 guests at a meal. Napoleon and Herbert Hoover were also triskaidekaphobiacs. (See no. 4)
9. Superstitious diners in Paris can hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest.
10. Mark Twain once was the 13th guest at a dinner. A friend told him not to go, “it’s bad luck.” After the dinner, Twain told his friend “There was only food for 12”.
11. Woodrow Wilson considered 13 his lucky number. Not so. He arrived in France on Friday, December 13, 1918 for peace talks and returned with a treaty that Congress wouldn’t sign. While touring the country to gain support for the treaty, he suffered a fatal heart attack.
12. Number 13 suffers from being after 12, according to numerologists who consider 12 a whole number – 12 months in a year, 12 sign of the Zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 eggs in a dozen and 12 days of Christmas. Thirteen doesn’t stand a chance.
13. The seals on the back of the dollar include 13 steps on the pyramid, 13 stars above the eagle’s head, 13 arrows in the eagles claw and 13 leaves on the olive branch – I counted them all to make sure. So far there is no evidence tying these design decisions contributed to today’s economic situation.
Do you like watching horror movies on Friday the 13th? Check out Fearnet.com. It lists old and new horror movies, such as the following: All Friday the 13th movies, Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, An American Werewolf in London, movies made from Stephen King novels and so on. Fearnet.com also has a Friday the 13th sweepstakes, giving away $5,000 for a summer getaway. Just fill in the entry form provided and hope for the best. As I write this on February 13, Friday, it has been more good luck than bad. Unless getting “on line”, finding “13 Facts About February 13”, then deciding to write this article is my bad luck (and yours). ~