13 facts about Friday the 13th

July 12, 2012 at 2:12 a.m.
Updated July 13, 2012 at 2:13 a.m.

Friday the 13th is here for the third time this year.

With it comes the superstitious behavior, whether you admit it or not, that has made the day - known to Westerners as being particularly unlucky - so infamous.

Its exact origins are not clear.

However, it is suspected the day's roots lie in early Christianity.

Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th person to arrive to the Last Supper where Jesus, who was crucified on a Friday, ate with his other 11 disciples.

Possible earlier origins date to Norse mythology.

Twelve gods were dining at Valhalla when a 13th guest named Loki joined the party, according to the myth.

Loki subsequently caused the death of Balder, the Norse god of light and joy.

Whatever its beginnings, the day is still the reason why former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt refused to include it on his travel itinerary; the reason people watch out for black cats crossing their paths; and the reason numerous hapless rabbits loose their feet.

Check out this listing of more interesting facts about Friday the 13th.

Josefa "Chipita" Rodriguez (1799-1863) was the first and only woman ever legally hanged in Texas. She was executed on a Friday the 13th at the age of 63, and her ghost is said to haunt the place where she died. Her last words were "No soy culpable," translated "I am not guilty."

  1. Every calendar year has at least one Friday the 13th, but no more than three of them can occur in any year. Also, any month that starts on a Sunday will have a Friday the 13th in it.
  2. On April 13, 2029, NASA's Near Earth Object Program says that Earth will experience a close encounter with 99942 Apophis, a 1,000-foot-wide asteroid. The asteroid is expected to come closer than the orbits of communication satellites and miss Earth by only 20,000 miles. An asteroid that size gets that close to Earth only about once every 1,000 years.
  3. More than 60 million people worldwide claim to be affected by paraskavedekatriaphobia, a fear of Friday the 13th. Symptoms include breathlessness, excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, heart palpitations, sensation of detachment from reality; or a full blown anxiety. Energy Therapy is thought to be one form of effective treatment.
  4. Famous people born on Friday the 13th include: Fidel Castro, former president of Cuba (Aug. 13, 1926); Butch Cassidy, American train and bank robber (April 13, 1866); Alfred Hitchcock, English film director and producer (Aug. 13, 1899); and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, actresses (June 13, 1986).
  5. Popular rapper Tupac Shakur died on Friday, Sept. 13, 1996, of wounds he suffered during a drive-by shooting.
  6. Annually, about 21 million Americans will change their behavior on Friday the 13th, resulting in about $800 million in lost revenue because people refuse to fly, purchase real estate or conduct normal business.
  7. The iconic independent horror movie "Friday the 13th" was released on Friday, May 13, 1980. Despite having a budget of only $550,000, it went on to gross $39.7 million at the U.S. box office. Its sequel, "Friday the 13th Part II", was released a year later.
  8. On Friday, Oct. 13, 1972, a plane carrying Uruguayan rugby team Montevideo Old Christians crashed on its way from Montevideo to Santiago, Chile. When rescuers finally found the 14 survivors two months later, it was revealed that they had survived by eating human flesh from some of 31 crew and passengers who perished in the crash. In 1992, their story was portrayed in the movie "Alive."
  9. Bringing a banana on a boat on Friday the 13th is thought to bring death. Many sailors and boaters have even gone a step further and also ban Banana Republic and Fruit of the Loom clothing.
  10. Black Sabbath's eponymous debut album was released in the United Kingdom on Friday, Feb. 13, 1970.
  11. An estimated 38 percent of traffic deaths involving women on Friday the 13th were attributable to Friday the 13th itself, largely because of anxiety from superstition.
  12. On Friday, Oct. 13, 1307, thousands of Knights Templar, who were warrior monks during the Crusades sworn to protect the Christian Pilgrims, were rounded up, charged with various crimes, tortured and executed by King Philip IV of France.

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