Origins of Friday the 13th superstition hard to track down

Bill Grady
October 13, 2017 - 7:28 am

There is plenty of folklore about Friday the 13th and the bad luck it brings, but most people have no plans to change their routines. 

There is no single source for the theory that bad stuff happens on the unlucky day, said Dr. Misty Shieberly, an English professor at the University of Kansas who specializes in the Medieval Period. Some of the superstitions have religious origins.

"Supposedly Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit on a Friday, Jesus was crucified on a Friday, and of course there were 13 at the Last Supper, with Judas, who betrayed Christ, as the 13th to arrive," Shieberly said.

Also, there's the historical reference to the arrest and trials of the Knights Templar in the 14th century. That legend was underlined in Dan Brown's 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code.

As for Dr. Shieberle's plans for Friday the 13th, she may not leave her house, not because of fear, but because a day off relaxing is high on her agenda.

The fear of Friday the 13th is not universal in the western world. In Italy, Friday the 17th the dreaded day, possibly because the Roman numeral for 17, XVII, can be shifted around to the Latin word Vixi, which mean's "I have lived," which could indicate death is on the way.

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