22 Things You Didn’t Know About Friday The 13th

Published November 13, 2015
Updated November 6, 2019

The clinical term for a phobia of Friday the 13th is paraskevidekatriaphobia and more interesting facts about Friday the 13th.

Bad luck on Friday the 13th might just be a superstition, but it’s so prevalent across so many cultures that the date can actually influence people’s behavior. One organization that has researched the phenomenon says that the United States loses up to $900 million in business because people don’t go about their business as usual: they are less likely to travel, receive healthcare, or even plan weddings.

Where does this fear come from? Here are some possible explanations — and a few Friday the 13th facts you might not know:

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The origins of the superstition are unknown, but it's believed to date back to the Middle Ages.PhotoSpin

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Friday is regarded as an unlucky day of the week, and 13 is regarded as an unlucky number. Put together, this makes a Friday that happens to fall on the 13th day of the month a supposedly unlucky day.DNews

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In Norse mythology, the number 13 became an unlucky one because of a certain dinner at Valhalla. Loki was the 13th guest at the dinner and he arranged for Hoder (the blind god of darkness) to kill Balder (the god of joy). Because it was the 13th guest who brought death to the table, the number became a harbinger of doom. PhotoSpin

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A phobia of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia.PhotoSpin

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21 million people in the United States fear Friday the 13th.DNews

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One of the first Friday the 13th stories was written by Thomas Lewson in 1907. The story was about a Wall Street broker who chose the day to enact his rage and destroy the stock market.PhotoSpin

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Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashed into the Andes on Friday, October 13th, 1972. 21 people died on impact. Another 8 died in an avalanche. 16 survived by resorting to cannibalism and were rescued 72 days later.PhotoSpin

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A Civil War veteran named William Fowler founded the Thirteen Club in 1880 in order to debunk and de-stigmatize the Friday the 13th legend.PhotoSpin

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Since people tend to avoid certain activities for fear of bad luck, it's impossible to statistically prove the day is actually unlucky.PhotoSpin

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In fact, since so many people avoid travel, it may make the day safer since there are less people on the roads.PhotoSpin

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The ill-fated Apollo 13 mission is often cited as "proof" of the number's unluckiness.photospin.com

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80% of high rises lack a 13th floor.DNews

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Hospitals are regularly designed with no rooms numbered 13.DNews

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Hotels also avoid having a room #13.DNews

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In Florence, Italy, the houses between 12 and 14 on a street are called "12 and a half."DNews

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One superstition says you should never sit 13 people at a table or one will die within the year.PhotoSpin

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Flights are usually pretty cheap on Friday the 13th. In the past, if you flew Finnair on Friday the 13th, you could take Flight 666 directly to HEL (Helsinki) for $148.PhotoSpin

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The Bible makes several references to the #13.DNews

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Eve tempted Adam with the apple on a Friday.PhotoSpin

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Cain killed Abel on Friday the 13th.PhotoSpin

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Judas was the 13th guest at The Last Supper.DNews

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Jesus was crucified on a Friday.PhotoSpin


If you enjoyed these Friday the 13th facts, check out our other posts on interesting facts and creepy Halloween costumes from the early 20th century.

Abby Norman
Abby Norman is a writer based in New England . Her work has been featured on The Rumpus, The Independent, Bustle, Mental Floss, Atlas Obscura, and Quartz.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.