It's nonsense, of course, but sometimes it seems that human behavior is determined by very little else. Superstition! Did you know that the number of the beast, 666, that has taken on so much significance, may arise from a mistake? The Roman Emperor, Caligula, who desecrated the Temple of Jerusalem, was represented by the number 616, and many scholars think a misreading of this led to the famous number that horror film fans are so familiar with. It may be nonsense, but Hollywood has done alright out of it, and then there is Friday 13th.
The origins of Friday the 13th have been disputed over the years, some believe that religion is the cause owing to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on a Friday and his betrayal by Judas Iscariot - the 13th guest at the Last Supper.
Although these events occurred centuries ago, recent history is supposedly peppered with unlikely events and tragic disasters all linked to Friday the 13th. The ever-growing list of freak occurrences has most likely contributed towards the beliefs surrounding the UK’s most dreaded day, but no one has done a study to compare with the list of so called freak occurrences on other days.
In 2010, a thirteen-year-old boy was struck by lightning at 13:13 on Friday the 13th. 2012 saw the Costa Concordia Disaster. Cyclone Pam caused widespread damage in Vanuatu and the South Pacific in 2015, it’s sustained winds peaked on Friday 13th reaching 155 MPH. But is human nature playing tricks on us?
Research shows that even the business and finance industries have been affected by superstitious beliefs.
A study published by The Express, identified that properties at number 13 are around £9,000 cheaper than other properties. Previously 13 has also been named as one of the 15 least common lottery numbers drawn and each year flight prices drop on Friday the 13th with many avoiding flying on that date due to superstitious beliefs.
Even the stock markets are not immune from bad luck. On Friday 13th of October in 1989, stock markets crashed causing the Dow Jones Industrial Average to plummet by 190.58 points. Financial experts have explained the cause due to the breakdown of a UAL Corporation deal worth $6.75 billion however, these spooky situations all share the same date.
Bestselling financial author, Rob Moore, has noticed that people are very superstitious regarding their finances, he said: “Some people invest in houses or other assets based on superstition and not research because they have a good or bad feeling. Superstitions are not viable investing strategies.
“Superstition definitely influences some individuals and when they avoid carrying out big transactions on Friday the 13th, this impacts on the market and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’ve known people avoid buying a house because it’s number 13 and deemed to be unlucky.”
But maybe the real problem is our perception; if we expect bad things to happen, then our expectations may make them more likely. Or maybe we just notice the things that go on wrong on Friday 13th, and make no comment when it is another day. As the character, Fletcher from the TV show Porridge once said, "You shouldn't deride the paranormal and psychic.You take my Uncle Godfrey. He walked under a ladder once - purposely. He laughed about it! Do you know, over the next 43 years, he lost all his teeth."