Spit If A Black Cat Crosses Your Path
January 13, 2012 by staff
Spit If A Black Cat Crosses Your Path, 13 things you didn’t know about Friday the 13th: 1. Triskaidekaphobes are in for a rough year. Tris (greek for three), deka (greek for 10) and phobe (an individual affected by a certain fear) adds up, according to Urban Dictionary, to people who fear the number 13 or any situation that involves anything in a sequence of 13. Friday is often considered an unlucky day, inspiring advice such as “Never begin sewing a garment on a Friday unless you can finish it the same day.” This year, there are three Fridays falling on the 13th. Last year and in 2010, there was only one. But 2009 had three.
2. Any month that starts on a Sunday will have a Friday the 13th. Do the math.
3. One is the loneliest number: Whether you divide 13 by 2, 3, 4 or 6, the prime number 13 still leaves one.
4. Loki: In a Norse myth, the sometimes mischievous, sometimes evil Loki is the 13th at a heavenly table in Valhalla. He arranges to have Hoder, the blind god of darkness, shoot the beautiful sun god Balder with mistletoe, throwing the earth into darkness.
5. In Christianity, Fridays and 13 have a long history of bad associations: Traitor Judas Iscariot was the 13th at the Last Supper and Jesus was crucified on a Friday.
6. “13C, 13C, has anyone seen my seat?” Writing for AirlineReporter.com on Nov. 13, 2009 (a Friday) David Parker Brown reported that the following airlines were missing Row 13: Air France, Iberia, Ryanair, AirTran, Continental, Air New Zealand, Lufthansa, and Alaska Airlines (but only on their Boeing 737-800s). Alaska Airlines officials, Brown reported, said 737-800s were not originally supposed to be their planes. They bought the first few off the assembly line without a row 13 as ordered by other airlines and then kept the 737-800 that way for consistency.
7. Black cats need homes. Long seen as involved in witchcraft and the bearers of bad luck if they cross your path (especially on a day like Friday the 13th with two strikes against it already), black cats pay the price in a distinctly unlucky way: They are about half as likely to be adopted as tabby cats and two-thirds less likely than white cats, according to the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, a joint project of the Society and Animals Forum in England and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), which studied adoption in a California shelter for nine months in 2002.
8. Go ahead, have your tonsils out. Investigators in the department of otolaryngology — head and neck surgery — at Temple University School of Medicine and the Temple University Children’s Medical Center in Philadelphia studied 589 tonsillectomies to determine if hemorrhages were connected to superstitions about full moons, bad things happening in threes, red-haired children or Friday the 13th. Only two of the operations were performed on Friday the 13th: Both were without complications.
9. “Scalpel, please.” This past September, investigators in the surgical department of the University of Saarland in Germany, wrote, “The influence of superstition, moon calendars, and popular belief on evidence-based medicine is stunning. More than 40 percent of medical staff is convinced that lunar phases can affect human behavior. The idea that Friday the 13th is associated with adverse events and bad luck is deep-rooted in the population of Western industrial countries. The aim of the present study was to test the hypothesis that these myths are transferable to real-life surgery.”
They studied 3,281 days (111 lunar cycles and 15 Fridays the 13th) and concluded, “Full moon phases, the presence of Friday the 13th, and zodiac signs influenced neither intraoperative blood loss nor emergency frequency. No statistical peaks regarding perforated aortic aneurysms and gastrointestinal perforations were found on full moon or Friday the 13th.”
10. Names with 13 letters bring the devil’s luck? Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Osama Bin Laden all have 13 letters in their names. But then, so do Andrew Jackson, Daniel Webster, Alexander Haig, Britney Spears, George Clooney, Robert Redford and Robert Kennedy. Film directors Clint Eastwood and Ingmar Bergman are on a list with 24 well-known directors with 13-letter names — seems to be a requirement for creative types.
11. Thin Mints cower to no date. It’s cookie sale time and the Southeastern Massachusetts chapter of the Girl Scouts of the USA advises members, “January 13 — 16, Martin Luther King Holiday long weekend. A great time for planning booth sales around town!” In California, one website notes, “Sales of Girl Scouts cookies in Lincoln and surrounding areas begin Friday, January 13th …”
12. 13th floor lacks superstitious guests. Hotel guests surveyed by builders in the 1960s vetoed the idea of a 13th floor. In 2007, a USA Today/Gallup Poll found 87 percent of Americans would be comfortable with a 13th floor, although most skyscrapers built in the past 40 years don’t have one. The 20-story Embassy Suites in Tampa does. It opened in November 2007 and quickly became a conversation piece, reports USA Today’s Barbara De Lollis. Two guests requested room changes.
13. To learn more: Deb Ahern, who founded A-Team Paranormal on Cape in July, says she thinks Friday the 13th superstitions linger out of habit and a desire to control the uncontrollable. She will talk about the day and everything surrounding it tonight at the Cape Cod Chat House (see box on C1 for details). “A lot
of superstitions come from medieval times or have some kind of biblical root to them. Or some might have come from your Aunt Hazel down the street.”
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