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Friday, March 13, 2009

Today I helped a Volkssport club (walking club) mark a 10 km (6.2 miles) walk for tomorrow. I passed a cemetery, hospital, and an old hospital for the mentally insane... all without tragic incident. I mention that only because today is:


If Friday the 13th is unlucky, then 2009 is an unusually unlucky year. This week's Friday the 13th is one of three to endure this year.

The first came last month. The next is in November. Such a rare triple-threat occurs only once every 11 years.

The origin of the link between bad luck and Friday the 13th is murky. The whole thing might date to Biblical times (the 13th guest at the Last Supper betrayed Jesus). By the Middle Ages, both Friday and 13 were considered bearers of bad fortune. In modern times, the superstition permeates society.

Here are five of our favorite Friday-the-13th facts:

1. Fear of Friday the 13th — one of the most popular myths in science — is called paraskavedekatriaphobia as well as friggatriskaidekaphobia. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13.

2. Many hospitals have no room 13, while some tall buildings skip the 13th floor and some airline terminals omit Gate 13.

3. President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 guests at a meal. Napoleon and President Herbert Hoover were also triskaidekaphobic, with an abnormal fear of the number 13.

4. Mark Twain once was the 13th guest at a dinner party. A friend warned him not to go. "It was bad luck," Twain later told the friend. "They only had food for 12." Superstitious diners in Paris can hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest.

5. The number 13 suffers from its position after 12, according to numerologists who consider the latter to be a complete number — 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 days of Christmas and 12 eggs in a dozen.

Pythagorean legacy
Meanwhile the belief that numbers are connected to life and physical things — called numerology — has a long history.

"You can trace it all the way from the followers of Pythagoras, whose maxim to describe the universe was 'all is number,'" says Mario Livio, an astrophysicist and author of "The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved" (Simon & Schuster, 2005). Thinkers who studied under the famous Greek mathematician combined numbers in different ways to explain everything around them, Livio said.

In modern times, numerology has become a type of para-science, much like the meaningless predictions of astrology, scientists say.

"People are subconsciously drawn towards specific numbers because they know that they need the experiences, attributes or lessons associated with them, that are contained within their potential," says professional numerologist Sonia Ducie. "Numerology can 'make sense' of an individual's life (health, career, relationships, situations and issues) by recognizing which number cycle they are in, and by giving them clarity."

However, mathematicians dismiss numerology, saying it lacks any scientific merit.

"I don't endorse this at all," Livio said, when asked to comment on the popularity of commercial numerology. Seemingly coincidental connections between numbers will always appear if you look hard enough, he said.

So fellow Knights, how was your Friday the 13th?

Sir Bowie "hoping not to spill a beer tonight" of Greenbriar


  1. yes i used to think it was because the last of the Knights Templar were rounded up in France by the king on Friday 13th in 1307...but many historians now say no...

    then there was the theory that goes back to a combination of Paganism, Christianity, and the Battle of Hastings. For many, the number 13 was considered a lucky number (such as 13 lunar cycles each year), but with the efforts of Christianity attempting to degrade all things Pagan, they promoted 13 as an unlucky number, with Friday thus also being considered a bad day of the week. However, on Friday the 13th of October 1066, the decision was made by King Harold II to go to battle on Saturday the 14th of October, rather than allow his troops a day of rest (despite his army having made a long and arduous march from a battle near York just 3 weeks earlier).

    This decision in going to battle before the English troops were rested (the English lost and King Harold was killed), further established Friday the 13th as an unlucky day.

    Sir Dayvd ( who thinks he's lucky to be so wonderful ) of Oxfordshire

  2. I never understood why people get so weird about Friday the 13th. Actually, I've had some of my best days on Friday the 13th. Reason, I know a lot of people will have negative attitudes that day, so I become the positive beacon in the night. It's like attracting Moths to the flame!

    It's just another day, like your birthday, your anniversary (marriage, lost your viginity, birth of a child, etc.) It's there to make of it what you believe it to be so. Make it evil, it's evil...make it good, it's good...make it's great!

    Remember, if your staying on the 14th floor of a hotel, and it's really the 13th're on the 13th floor! It's like sticking your head in the sand to keep safe...your ass is still available to get kicked!

    Final comment from this rant on 13. Back in my school sports days I wore number 13 in basketball. Why, because nobody else would, and it was the only jersey that fit me really well. I lead the team in points scored. Number 1 sat on the bench. Kurt Warner, currently the quarterback of the Airzona Cardinals, has worn #13 his whole carrer. He's been the league MVP 2 times, playes in 3 Super Bowls, was the Super Bowel MVP once, and most recently siged a 2 year multi-million dollar contract while pushing 40 years old, in a sport of youngsters.

    It's not the number that makes or breaks the's the man who makes or breaks the number.

    Sir Hook Who's Counting 13 Ways to Make it A Better Day Next Friday of Warrick

  3. I have to say i'm still charmed, tho don't believe, in all the olde English Superstitions and paganisms, and the way they have travelled to the new world, too, on boats to be re-invented, as even commercial entities...
    I work up a lot of ladders... and only around two in ten will deliberately walk under my ladder, some actually stopping in the first stride, and stepping back and round...all of them saying...."i'm not going under there" couldn't even drag them under....... Crazy of course....harking back to the days of the Gibbet...LOL..

    I love the universal connection between them it brings to us all in the West........the ghostly imprint of the way life used to be when science was misunderstood and witches lived in the lands... LOL... so people see black cats as lucky... certain amounts of magpies too... Mirrors when broken bring 7 years bad luck,
    Shamrock with 4 leaves for luck too and a rabbits foot, which is rarely seen these days in more PC times...

    Whatever our Class or Status in society, these are the weird touchstones we shiver at as children, and no matter how grown up and sopisticated we think we become, these things still stick showing us that even without religions we are in awe of the unknown, and are all just Childern of the Sun.
    We could of course leave them behind, and believe people rise from the dead, or water gets turned into wine, and that you can walk on water and create thousands of fish and bread out of just a couple...
    yes, ... that makes soooo much more sense.

    Sir Dayvd ( with his lucky heather in his his lapel ) of Oxfordshire...

  4. we enjoyed a great Friday the 13th for those who are wondering - and not a drop of beer was spilled - is it ever?!

    Lady Suzanne of Greenbriar