Friday The 13th: The Creepiest Day of the Year Has An Uncertain Origin

170px-F13VarietyToday, will be the only “Friday the 13th” of the year — a day that many believe is fraught with bad luck and bad omens. But where does the fear of Friday the 13th come from? LiveScience has various possibilities though it does not mention my favorites involving the Templar Knights.

LiveScience notes that the phrase has been traced in the United States to the Thirteen Club found by U.S. Captain William Fowler — a group of 13 men in Manhattan who committed themselves to disproving superstitions by walking under ladders and doing other unlucky things. The group met for the first time on Friday, Jan. 13, 1881.

250px-The-Last-Supper-largeHowever, there are other theories from a stockbroker in England who detailed an attempt to crash the stock market in a book “Friday the 13th” to more ancient sources. First there is the Norse God Loki who showed up as the 13th guest at a dinner party and promptly killed Balder the Beautiful, a god representing joy and gladness. Loki thereby triggered a period of darkness in the world. Then there is Judas who was believed to be the 13th guest at the last supper before betraying Jesus.

220px-Templars_on_StakeThe article however does not include my favorite theory involving the Templar knights. After becoming a massively powerful religious order with both military and economic interests throughout Europe, Pope Clement V decided that the knights were a threat. He famously issued an order “Dieu n’est pas content, nous avons des ennemis de la foi dans le Royaume” [“God is not pleased. We have enemies of the faith in the kingdom.”] This was at the instigation of King Philip of France who was heavily in debt to the knights. On Friday October 13th, 1307, the Pope ordered the arrest of all Templar Knights including Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay and the Hospitaller Grand Master Fulk de Villaret who were called to a meeting. The result was horrible. Hundreds of knights were captured and tortured and killed. It was a massacre seen across Europe where the once all powerful and unchallengeable Knights were reduced to pathetic broken men begging for death. It would also explain both the Friday and the 13th in the superstition. That seems a lot more likely than a club in Manhattan or a book in England. Besides it involves cool images of knights and late night raids.

Source: Live Science

19 thoughts on “Friday The 13th: The Creepiest Day of the Year Has An Uncertain Origin”

  1. Friday The 13th has to do with the name Friday being a last name human name not a day of the week name. Friday the 13th was Joe Friday in Dragnet on television many years ago. I thought everyone knew that.

  2. Knights Templar had a very bad Friday the 13th.

    History must demonstrate when usage of the phrase spiked.

    DR. W. Edwards Deming taught Statistical Quality Control.

  3. As a historian, I’ve always gone with the Knights Templar Friday the 13th roundup in 1307 by Phillip IV of France.

  4. The Jewish faith sees the number 13 as a lucky, or at least a good, number. Young men and women become bar and bat mitzvah, respectively, at the age of 13. Just thought I’d throw that in there.

  5. Me? I like Friday the 13ths. I was born on one. Long ago. Good “luck” for me, of course, and for some others my luck was not so welcome. So sorry. Almost. I’ve always been amused by the myths about the day. No full moon though, that was to occur 9 to 10 days later 😉

  6. Yes, BillH, submarine people are a rare breed. I would love to hear some stories!

  7. Bill – you’re brave to have served on a submarine! Not a photon of light when the lights get turned off. You’re made of strong stuff.

  8. That was always my understanding – that it was the massacre of the Knights Templar.

  9. Bill H – sailors are a superstitious lot aren’t they. 🙂 Personally, I am not a believer, (fingers-crossed) in Friday the 13th or other superstitions. I remember as a kid if you stepped on a crack on the sidewalk it was supposed to break your mother’s back and I would step on all the sidewalk cracks I could find (in the interests of sciences of course) and when I would get home my mother would be just fine.

  10. My submarine left port for what was called a “North Atlantic partol” (messing around off the north coast of Russia) during the Cold War on a Friday the 13th. After a series of misadventures including two hurricaines and being caught with our pants down by a Soviet destroyer, we decided that setting sail was best reserved for days other than Friday the 13th.

  11. Not being superstitious, i was unaware of its origins….very interesting. However, it has been a day of joy to me as my beautiful, gorgeous and talented granddaughter was born on that day. Every Friday the 13th brings me a smile. For me the day is a lucky one.

  12. Triskaidekaphobia… ‘Fear of Friday the 13th’…. Silly, like fearing some ‘Non-existant ghod’….unless some Pope is going around killing people again..

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