Friday the 13th - welcome to the Thirteen Club!
Friday the 13th - a day that only comes a handful of times (JK it's like twice a year) where we spend our time arguing on the internet about which Friday the 13th movie is the best and which is the worst. And I spend a lot of time yelling about how great Freddy vs Jason is and don't @ me.
Obviously, since the film, the joy of Friday the 13th has escalated and become a great day for horror fans, and a terrible one for superstitious folks. But what does Loki have to do with it all? And what exactly was the The Thirteen Club?
Let's delve into my favorite bits of history about the second best day next to Halloween.
No on can actually pinpoint when 13 became an unlucky number, but my favorite theory comes from a Norse myth that told of a dinner party for 12 Gods but then an uninvited 13th guest arrived. That guest was Loki, the trickster God, who promptly shot the God of joy and happiness, Balder. Cause Loki's kind of a dick. But maybe he just woke up on the wrong side of the bed that day. Of course, many also point it back to the Christian story of the Last Supper where the 13th guest was Judas who ultimately was a pretty bad dude and betrayed his best bud Jesus. Or something. Don't quote me on that. Christianity isn't my favorite terrain.
Before Friday the 13th hit theaters, in fact a very long time before, an author by the name of Thomas William Lawson started the first Friday craze with "Friday the 13th", his story published in 1907 tells the tale of a broker taking advantage of superstition and manipulating the stock market. Think old school Wall Street. A lot less murder and naked teen camp counselors but it still got the job done back in the day.
Now here's a group I would want to hang out with - The Thirteen Club. Started in 1881 by William Fowler, this club believed in combating the power of superstition by meeting together and walking under crossed ladders, eating at a 13-set table with spilled salt and throwing one hell of a party. There was probably quite a few black cats around. Or else it ain't a party....AM I RIGHT?!
Fowler was a noted soldier of his time and believed that the number 13 played a critical part of his life including the fact that he fought in 13 Civil War battles. So he was pretty passionate about claiming it back from the dark side. He was also very well known and at one point in time even had a few U.S. presidents join his club, including Roosevelt.
So basically I'm starting a Thirteen Club, like the Loser's Club, but with less clowns, and am now accepting applications.
The fear of the number 13 is called triskaidekaphobia, and while most of us horror fans enjoy our Friday the 13ths, some still believe it to be a very unlucky day. Some of the more notable terrible things to happen on a Friday the 13th involved the Knights Templar, which I'm still not convinced was a real thing because it sounds insane. On Friday, October 13th, King Phillip IV of France had hundreds of members of the Knights Templar arrested for "various illegal behaviors". Which honestly could mean anything because it was 1307 and laws were very bipolar back then. Most likely it was because the King wanted their substantial financial resources. Many of the Templars were ultimately executed.
In 1940 the German's bombed Buckingham Palace. They'd actually been at it for days during a Blitz but on September 13th at around 11am the palace was hit by a single German raider with a stick of five high explosive bombs. Four workers in the palace were injured, and one later died. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were in residence taking tea but escaped without a scratch. Though I'm not sure if their tea was spilled or not. This notable attack caused the Queen to make an important statement to Londoners at the time, "I am glad we have been bombed. It makes me feel I can look the East End in the face."
Another notable Friday the 13th moment is when Kitty Genovese was murdered in 1964 in Queens, New York. Her death created the 'Bystander Effect'. Kitty arrived home around 3:15am and was 100 feet from her apartment door when she was attacked by Winston Moseley who had followed her home. He stabbed her twice in the back and while Kitty screamed for her neighbors to help, Moseley ran away only to return shortly after and finish killing poor Kitty.
Back then it was reported there were around 40 witnesses to Kitty's murder who did nothing to help her. Since then that has been debunked but it was proven that many people heard her cries for help and witnessed Moseley running away without calling the police. The Bystander Effect is, simply, that larger numbers of bystanders decrease the likelihood that someone will step forward and help a victim. The reasoning being that people will think either the others aren't helping, so I won't either, someone else will know better how to help, or assume help has already been called.
One of the most famous ones would be the death of Tupac Shakur, who was murdered on Friday the 13th in September of 1996. One of the more recent experiences of tragedy happening on Friday the 13th was in January of 2012 when the Costa Concordia cruise ship crashed off the coast of Italy, killing 30 people.
So whether Friday the 13th really is bad luck, or just one of those weird human things we do where we obsess over bizarre traditions and old habits, it's also a great day to just sit back and watch your favorite boy Jason slash up some rowdy teenagers and get upset over water.