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Friday the 13th: The Long Standing Impact

Everyone has heard of the bad luck that curses the 13th of the month when it lands on a Friday. Similar to the superstitions of black cats and the breaking of a mirror, these theories were driven by stories in history and folklore. The day creates an aura of spookiness, leading many to be cautious as something haunting may occur. Many superstitious people avoid numerous things on this date, such as traveling, starting a new job, wearing red, and more. But what about a simple date like Friday the 13th could be so scary? The fear of the date has even earned a psychological term, Paraskevidekatriaphobia. With its fame, Friday the 13th has been continuously used throughout pop culture, best known for the 1980s film series and franchise “Friday the 13th”, but how did this date get this ominous feeling to begin with?

The history behind Friday the 13th doesn’t seem to have one specific origin, but it is said to have derived from the Christian faith. The night before Jesus Christ was crucified, at his famous last meal known as the Last Supper, he shared it with his twelve disciples - including Judas, the one who betrayed him. At this meal, Jesus was the thirteenth guest, and they dined on a Friday. Along with other Christian beliefs, like Adam and Eve, it is said that Friday was the day Eve gave Adam the apple, the day Cain killed his brother Abel. These biblical stories lead to both the number and the day being a bad omen separately. According to Norse mythology, Loki, the God of Mischief, was not invited to the dinner with the 12 other gods. The story goes that he showed up anyway unannounced, making it 13 gods, and his presence triggered conflict as the God of Mischief would.

In addition to these stories, many bad events have occurred over the course of history on Friday the 13th. In 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered his officers to arrest hundreds of people in a Christian military group called the Knights of Templar, who were made to protect Europeans visiting the Holy Land. Many believe that this may be the earliest documented historical event that correlates with the bad luck with this date. There are numerous examples in recent history; the bombing of Buckingham Palace during World War II, Jack the Ripper's final victim claim, the first day of the COVID-19 pandemic, the murder of Kitty Genovese and Tupac, and the list goes on.

With unsettling instances dating back so long ago, Friday the 13th has been a part of pop culture long before the famous franchise. The famous film franchise we all associate with when we hear Friday the 13th was not the first project with that name. In 1907, author Thomas William Lawson wrote a novel called Friday, the Thirteenth. Taking place in New York City, it follows a stockbroker who causes superstitious havoc on Wall Street on the day of Friday the 13th.

Although there are no specific ties between Friday the 13th and Halloween, the day's uneasy and creepy ambiance keeps it in the Halloween realm. The movie “Friday the 13th” is a classic spooky season watch, but it is not clear if the movie takes place on Friday the 13th at all. It is said the series only got its name because the movie “Halloween” was released a year earlier, so director Sean Cunningham wanted the same success but needed a different sinister title, and Friday the 13th was the only other scary holiday. But the movie title worked out perfectly as the movie is a series of unfortunate events. The name stays true as throughout the movies, there are many slashings and terrifying occurrences that seem to happen religiously almost every year in real life. A series of twelve other films followed the original movie, with a television series being created, video games, and tons of merchandise.

In spite of the fact that the movie is mostly rewatched during the Halloween season, the

original “Friday the 13th'' takes place over the summer at a summer camp which shows that any month could be as spooky as Halloween. There is no specific correlation between Halloween season and Friday the 13th, so staying on edge for any Friday the 13th is a must. The lore of the day dates back so long ago that it is undeniably mysterious and seems like it cannot be coincidental. With this in mind, be wary of this upcoming October 13th, as fright and mayhem may ensue.

Written by Andie Serrao

Photography by Rose Miller

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