Friday the Thirteenth; Can a Mass Belief Cause Bad Luck?

August 13th, 2010 - 11:33 pm ICT by Angela Kaye Mason  

Aug 13 (THAINDIAN NEWS) Friday the Thirteenth, or “Black Friday”, has long been looked upon as a day full of bad luck, and although there are many who write it off as folklore, and laugh it away, many still believe in it’s power to cause bad things to happen. Statistics even show that more accidents, and spells of “bad luck” occur on this day. But do these incidents occur because the day actually is unlucky, or is the day unlucky because we ‘believe’ it will be?

Over time, the true origin of the belief in Friday the Thirteenth has been lost, with some common stories saying it has Christian tradition and was the day which Christ was killed, when Eve fed the apple to Adam, or even the day on which the Tower of Babel’s famous construction stopped. In Canterbury Tales, Chaucer said that Friday was a day which bad things seemed to occur on in the 14th century, but most stories surrounding the day began around the 17th century.

Some believe it is more a matter of numbers…for instance, the number twelve is considered to be completeness. There are twelve months in the year, twelve hours in a day, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve disciples of Jesus, twelve gods of Olympus, and the number thirteen is considered to be irregular, causing the completeness of twelve to become off balance.

In the famous ‘Last Supper’ picture, there were thirteen people seated at the table, and a North myth says that having thirteen people seated at a dinner table will result in the death of one of them. So perhaps this knowledge subconsciously crept into our heads and sparked the belief.

In an article published in the ‘British Medical Journal’ in 1993 entitled “Is Friday the 13th Bad for Your Health?”, the authors studied statistics and were quite surprised to find out that the number of automobile accidents on Friday the 6th and Friday the 13th were very different.

Looking over a period of several years, even though a great number of people chose not to drive on Friday the 13th, there were still a significantly higher number of accidents which occurred on this day.They concluded “Friday 13th is unlucky for some. The risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52 percent. Staying at home is recommended.”

For those who suffer from Paraskevidekatriaphobics, which is a fear of Friday the Thirteenth, this may seem to support their fears, and make them very real, yet is it not more likely that much of the “bad luck” caused on this day is because people anticipate that it will? Do the beliefs of people cause them to react more anxiously, having more accidents, and such?

Recently, an article was released about a man in Russia who was sentenced to two dozen years in jail after he visited a fortune teller. The fortune teller told him that she saw jail in his future. He did not like the prediction. He assaulted the fortune teller, who escaped, but the man killed to other people who witnessed the attack.

Did the man end up in jail because of what the fortune teller told him, did her prediction cause it to happen? Or was she correct, was jail in his future no matter what she said? It was much like the scene in the Matrix when Neo meets the Oracle. It is much the same with Friday the Thirteenth. Is it unlucky because we think it will be? Or do we think it will be because it really is?

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