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The most unlucky day

Black cats, ladders, and broken mirrors - Friday the 13th is upon us.

But what makes this Friday the 13th different than previous years is that this is the third Friday the 13th in 2012. The previous two took place on January 13 and April 13.

The dates are exactly 13 weeks apart - something that hasn't occurred since 1984.

But why is this day different than any other day?

Some historians believe that it was dubbed the "most unlucky day of the year" because 13 men attended the last supper and Jesus was crucified on a Friday, while others think that the number 13 has always been unlucky.

Whether you believe it or not though, try not to step on any cracks, don't forget your rabbit's foot and above all - stay away from men in hockey masks.


According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in North Carolina, more than 17 million people fear Friday the 13th and between $700 and $800 billion are lost every Friday the 13th because people don't want to travel or purchase major items on the unlucky day.

The unluckiness of the number 13 has also led many hospitals and hotels to skip the 13th floor and even airports omit gate 13

sometimes. Some cities also do not have a 13th Street or 13th Avenue.

As if the day hasn't got people scared enough, Paramount Pictures made a horror movie in 1980 entitled, Friday the 13th. Its tagline: "Fridays will never be the same again."


Some of the Friday the 13th myths include - if you cut your hair on Friday the 13th, someone in your family will die; a child born on Friday the 13th will be unlucky for life; if a funeral procession passes you on Friday the 13th, you will be the next to die.

Because of the day, some people refuse to go to work, while others won't eat at restaurants, and some couples refuse to set a wedding date on this day.

But do some people take the superstitions too far?

For instance in 1939, a small town in Indiana forced all the black cats to wear bells on Friday, October 13. When nothing bad happened that day, the town continued the practice for the next three years.


This year alone on the 13ths, numerous things have gone wrong around the world. For instance, on January 13, the luxury cruise ship, Costa Concordia, sank in front of the island of Isola del Giglio, killing at least 32 aboard and injuring 64.

Then, on April 13, an earthquake hit Palermo, Sicily, Italy with a 4.3 magnitude, and just a few hours later, a tornado hit Oklahoma.

But were these destructions caused because it was Friday the 13th?

According to Thomas Gilovich, department chair of psychology at Cornell University, many superstitions stem from the same human trait that causes people to believe in monsters and ghosts: When our brains can't explain something, we make stuff up.

Gilovich noted that, "If anything bad happens to you on Friday the 13th, the two will be forever associated in your mind."

Though many people have tried to redeem Friday the 13th as just another day, including in 1913, when a New York pastor tried to ease couples' fears by offering to marry them for free on Friday the 13th, it will forever be embroidered in our minds as unlucky.