Feeling un-lucky today?
If you're reading this, the world hasn't imploded.
It is Friday the 13th after all; anything's possible. Stub your toe getting out of bed? Have a flat tire? Bad hair day? Blame it on the day.
By myth or fact, Friday the 13th has widely become known as a day of bad luck. If you don't believe it you may be surprised that there are a lot of people who do.
An estimated 17 million to 21 million people in the U.S. are affected by a fear of this day, according to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in North Carolina. It is estimated that between $800 million and $900 million is lost in business on this day; quite the chunk of change for a superstition.
The madness doesn't stop close to home.
In 1901 The Dickinson Press reported a woman was trampled to death by an "infuriated cow" on Friday the 13th and in 1923, a local man tried to pick up a sleeping muskrat on Friday the 13th and was "bitten badly."
In the 80s, Friday the 13th also happened to occur on a weekend with a full moon, prompting phone calls to authorities regarding suspicious characters.
Keeping in mind The Press was only printed once a week back then, and most stories didn't include a time frame.
In the Saturday, Sept. 14, 1901, edition a report was released that three people drowned near Bottineau for "unknown reasons" when they went out in a sailboat for a "pleasure party."
Also reported in that edition was a "peculiar accident that happened at Reynolds." A little girl, for unknown reasons, jumped into a wagon box full of wheat just as the end board was drawn and was shot down into an elevator with 50 bushels of wheat. Lucky for her, the bottom was cut out and she was saved.
Many theories have circulated regarding the beginning of the fated day, some of the more famous being the Knights Templar theory.
The Knights Templar are said to have been founded in Jerusalem. Its mission was to protect Christian pilgrims during the Crusades. Over a significant period of time the Knights Templar became powerful and wealthy, and threatened by that power and eager to acquire their wealth, King Phillip secretly ordered the mass arrest of all the Knights Templar in France on Friday, Oct. 13, 1307.
Another theory, believe it if you wish, explains that fears surrounding the number 13 is as ancient as the act of counting. Primitive man had only his 10 fingers and two feet to represent units; this explanation goes, so he could count no higher than 12. What lay beyond that was an impenetrable mystery to the people of that time.
Some other interesting number 13 legends found on various Web sites say if 13 people sit down to dinner together, one will die within the year. Interestingly enough, many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue and many buildings don't have a 13th floor. If you have 13 letters in your name, you will supposedly have the devil's luck (Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names).
As for Friday, take the instance of the tale of H.M.S. Friday: One hundred years ago, the British government sought to quell once and for all the widespread superstition among seamen that setting sail on Fridays was unlucky. A special ship was commissioned, named "H.M.S. Friday." They supposedly laid her to keel on a Friday, launched her on a Friday, selected her crew on a Friday and hired a man named Jim Friday to be her captain. To top it off, H.M.S. Friday embarked on her maiden voyage on a Friday, and was never seen or heard from again. Don't get too excited, a 2007 report by the British Broadcasting Company says that never happened.
Those looking for an excuse not to go to work, school or otherwise today, perhaps tell your higher ups you suffer from paraskavedekatriaphobia, or a fear of Friday the 13th. They should at least give you half a day off for saying it correctly.
Avoid black cats like the plague, never, ever jump on a crack and, if you can help it, try not to break any mirrors. Heck, why not just stay home and watch "Friday the 13th" to celebrate this infamous day.