If you can wrap your lips around it, there's a word to describe that familiar, fearful feeling that millions of people experience every Friday the 13th: friggatriskaidekaphobia. The irrational fear of Friday the 13th is a longstanding superstition, although its true origins remain murky. Timeanddate.com states:
Very little is known about the origins of the day's notoriety. Some historians believe that the superstitions surrounding it arose in the late 19th century. ... Others believe that the myth has Biblical origins. Jesus was crucified on a Friday and there were 13 guests at the Last Supper the night before his crucifixtion [sic].
It seems this unease isn't quite so irrational, as many bone-chilling and grotesque occurrences tend to happen on Friday the 13th. You could say the day is absolutely cursed — that is, if you believe that sort of thing.
If you think you can brave it, I dare you this Friday the 13th to watch one of the horror moves in the Jason Voorhees saga...
Check out some of the most frightening, formidable and plain unlucky things to ever happen on Friday the 13th.
On November 13, 1970, the Bhola cyclone killed up to 500,000 people in Chittagong, located in southeastern Bangladesh. It was described at the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium as "the deadliest tropical cyclone ever recorded, and one of the deadliest natural disasters in modern times."
Imagine, if you will, the horrifying aftermath of this cyclone: Dead or dying bodies scattered around, homes turned to dirt, prized possessions strewn for miles. That thought alone is instantly petrifying.
Just Another Murderous Friday
Do you know what the term Genovese syndrome refers to? Also known as the bystander effect, it was first coined following the horror of Friday, March 13, 1964.
On that date, Catherine Susan "Kitty" Genovese was raped and fatally stabbed while headed home in Queens, New York. What made this crime so eerie was that her neighbors saw and heard the attack, but did nothing to help. More than 30 people admitted to witnessing or hearing the crime, and thus the Genovese syndrome became the term to describe when witnesses fail to help during an emergency if there are other people present to see it.
Just think: If one person had stepped forward, perhaps Genovese would have made it to safety inside her apartment building.
Friday October 13, 1972. A plane carrying Uruguayan rugby team Montevideo Old Christians crashed in the Andes, leaving those who survived the crash and the harsh elements for 72 days clinging to life — by eating the flesh of the people who died on impact or during an ensuing deadly avalanche.
Perhaps the spirit of another Friday the 13th cannibal infiltrated these poor, desperate men: that of Alfred Packer. He was a gold prospector who found himself stranded in the Colorado mountains with five other men — except Packer was the only one to make it to civilization alive. Evidence later emerged that he had eaten his companions. Unable to prove he'd killed his traveling companions in self-defense, Packer was arrested and brought to justice. On which date? Friday April 13, 1883.
Thailand's luxurious Royal Plaza Hotel in the city of Nakhon Ratchasima was the jewel in its crown — until 13 August, 1993, when disaster struck. The building structure, weakened by unnecessary and poorly considered renovations, completely gave way, killing 137 people and injuring 227 in the ensuing chaos.
You can't get much more unlucky than the collapse of your entire civilization, but Friday August 13, 1521 saw just that happen. The mighty Aztec Empire was overpowered by Spanish invaders as conquistador Hernán Cortés marched on Tenochtitlan, ending indigenous rule and paving the way for what is now Mexico City.
So the next time you find yourself in the elevator headed to the 13th floor on Friday the 13th, think again. You might just want to hit the button at 12 and climb up the remaining flight of stairs. Just to be on the safe side.