Friday 13th: The Superstition That Was Popularized By The Very People Trying To Eradicate It

If you consider Fridays unlucky and one that falls on the 13th exceptionally so, you are in for some bad news – there are three such ominous days lurking in this year. But here’s some good news – this baseless superstition gained a strong foothold in the modern culture owing to the very people trying hard to eradicate it.

It is perhaps because of the group of people who were the sworn enemies of all superstition that Friday and the number 13 came to be extensively feared among the masses. There’s no actual proof to fear Friday the 13th, points out Robert Currey of Equinox Astrology.

“From the astrological point of view there is no need to be concerned about Friday 13th”

The combined superstition gained cultural acceptance in 1907, after the release of a book simply called, Friday, the Thirteenth. Published by a relatively stock promoter called Thomas Lawson, the book was the inspiration for the Friday 13th mythology, which culminated in the lurid film and TV franchises starting in the 1980s.

Surprisingly, the book had a very modern-day scenario of a broker who ruthlessly engineers booms and busts in the stock market to work revenge on his enemies, leaving only misery and ruin in his wake.

The storyline neatly uses the jitters associated with Fridays and the supposedly unlucky number 13.

One of the characters is noted as saying, “Every man on the floor and in the Street as well has his eye on it. Friday, the 13th, would break the best bull market ever under way”

Inset William Fowler, The Founder Of The Thirteen Club At The Knickerbocker Cottage

Apparently, just about a quarter century earlier, it was the The Thirteen Club that kick-started the campaign to rid the world of superstition, but ended up fueling it instead. The club first met on September 13 1881 (a Wednesday), though it was formally organized on Friday, January 13, 1882.

The Thirteen Club Might Have Popularized Friday The 13th

Club members met on the 13th of the month, sat 13 to a table, broke mirrors and spilled salt with exuberance, and walked into dinner under crossed ladders. The club’s annual reports carefully noted how many of its members had died, and how many of them passed away within a year of attending a club dinner. They even urged courts to stop picking on Friday as “hanging day” and hold executions on other days too. So prolific was their approach, even those who were only vaguely familiar with Friday the 13th superstition started fearing the date.

Though baseless from a historic point-of-view, there is a correlation between the two components that make the day and date notorious, explains Sonia Ducie, a numerology consultant who believes strongly in the innate energy of numbers.

“’13’ is all to do with transformation and change. Friday is counted as the fifth day, associated with movement. You can see how with those two numbers together; it could be very restless. But, it’s down to us; the energy’s neutral.”

Friday the 13th might still be feared by many, but there’s no evidence to support the trepidation associated with the “unlucky” date.

[Image Credit | Alamy, NYPL]