Should You Beware the Cursed Day?6th May 2016
Are you the type of person who panics if you break a mirror, or won’t put up an umbrella indoors? Do you greet lone magpies or duck out of the path of black cats? If you do, how do you feel about Friday the 13th? If you find yourself refusing to leave the safety of your bed or being extra cautious on that frightful Friday, you might be a sufferer of Paraskevidekatriaphobia; fear of Friday the 13th. Thousands of suspicious souls around the world regard Friday the 13th as the unluckiest day of the year, but where did the suspicion arise from, and is there any evidence to back up its dangerous reputation?
The origins of the superstition are hazy, but it would appear to have many biblical connotations. There were 13 people present at The Last Supper, which was said to have taken place on the 13th of Nissan (or Maundy Thursday as we would call it now). The biblical connections go even further as many cataclysmic events occurred on Fridays, such as the great flood, the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, and, of course, Christ’s crucifixion on Good Friday.
Given the links to such ancient events, it’s surprising that the superstition about Friday the 13th is a relatively new one. There’s no recorded evidence of the date being regarded as unlucky before the 19th century, and the belief only really took hold in the 20th century when a novel entitled Friday the 13th was released, in 1907. From then on, some have never shaken the belief that the day is cursed, but is there any evidence to confirm the suspicions?
Statistics about Friday the 13th’s unlucky properties seem to contradict themselves from country to country. British statistics report a rise in road accidents on Friday 13th, while Dutch records claim a drop in domestic accidents. Finland, however, has a sense of humour about the day, and uses the date to celebrate National Accident Day!
If you’re brave enough to venture out on Friday the 13th, we always celebrate the occasion in the Blair Street Underground Vaults. We can’t guarantee the ghosts will come out to mark the occasion (we don’t supply them with calendars, after all), but do be sure to be extra careful as you descend the stairs.