superstitions

Forget for a minute that we’re in the middle of the most troubling frightening worldwide economic downturn of our times.  Totally disregard the fact that there are people in the world with no respect for human life and are instead full of hate and determined to do harm to others.  Never mind that we have an as yet untested (thank God) inexperienced new administration in our country that has stumbled badly coming out of the gate.  It all pales in comparison to this…

Today is Friday the 13th.  Not just any Friday the 13th mind you.  It’s one of a trio we will have in 2009.  The first was in February, this one in March, and then the last will come in November.  To have three Friday the 13ths in a single year is not a common occurrence.  Statistically, it’s only possible to have the 13th fall on three Fridays in a single year every eleven years.  Lucky us.  With all that is going on around us, it almost seems to be poetic justice that we have this occur this year too.  Heck, at this point, why not?

Even the most non-superstitious among us will take pause and notice a Friday the 13th.  We make movies around it, architecture is changed to avoid the number 13 and some will even alter their plans in order to “be on the safe side” on this day…just in case.  It’s folklore of the most persuasive kind.  The type that feeds upon itself and permeates our consciousness almost against our will.

Where does all this superstition come from? Nobody knows for sure. Some theories believe that it may date back to Biblical times (the 13th guest at the Last Supper betrayed Jesus). By the Middle Ages, both Friday and 13 were considered bearers of bad fortune.

Meanwhile the belief that numbers are connected to life and physical things, called numerology, also has a long history.  People are subconsciously drawn towards specific numbers because they know that they need the experiences, attributes or lessons, associated with them, that are contained within their potential.  Some believe that Numerology can ‘make sense’ of an individuals life (health, career, relationships, situations and issues) by recognizing which number cycle they are in, and by giving them clarity.

Here are 13 more facts about the infamous day, just for fun.  At the very least it will add to your Trivial Pursuit scores.  At most, it will give you a little more insight into human behavior and perhaps the origins of your own beliefs.

1. The British Navy is said to have built a ship named Friday the 13th, or the HMS Friday, which on its maiden voyage left dock on a Friday the 13th, and was never heard from again. This story seems to be a legend. The Royal Navy Museum states on its web site that this story, which has been told before, is a hoax. “There has never been a Royal Navy ship named HMS Friday – or after any other day of the week for that matter,” the museum states.

2. The ill-fated Apollo 13 launched at 13:13 CST on Apr. 11, 1970. The sum of the date’s digits (4-11-70) is 13 (as in 4+1+1+7+0 = 13). And the explosion that crippled the spacecraft occurred on April 13 (not a Friday). The crew did make it back to Earth safely, however.

3. Many hospitals have no room 13, while some tall buildings skip the 13th floor.

4. Fear of Friday the 13th, one of the most popular myths in science, is called paraskavedekatriaphobia as well as friggatriskaidekaphobia. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13.

5.Quarterback Dan Marino wore No. 13 throughout his career with the Miami Dolphins. Despite being a superb quarterback (some call him one of the best ever), he got to the Super Bowl just once, in 1985, and was trounced 38-16 by the San Francisco 49ers and Joe Montana (who wore No. 16 and won all four Super Bowls he played in).

6.Butch Cassidy, notorious American train and bank robber, was born on Friday, April 13, 1866.

7. Fidel Castro was born on Friday, Aug. 13, 1926.

8. President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 guests at a meal. Napoleon and Herbert Hoover were also triskaidekaphobic, with an abnormal fear of the number 13.

9.Superstitious diners in Paris can hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest.

10. Mark Twain once was the 13th guest at a dinner party. A friend warned him not to go. “It was bad luck,” Twain later told the friend. “They only had food for 12.”

11. Woodrow Wilson considered 13 his lucky number, though his experience didn’t support such faith. He arrived in Normandy, France on Friday, Dec. 13, 1918, for peace talks, only to return with a treaty he couldn’t get Congress to sign. (The ship’s crew wanted to dock the next day due to superstitions.) He toured the United States to rally support for the treaty, and while traveling, suffered a near-fatal stroke.

12. The number 13 suffers from its position after 12, according to numerologists who consider the latter to be a complete number — 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 days of Christmas and 12 eggs in a dozen.

13. The seals on the back of a dollar bill include 13 steps on the pyramid, 13 stars above the eagle’s head, 13 war arrows in the eagle’s claw and 13 leaves on the olive branch. So far there’s been no evidence tying these long-ago design decisions to the present economic situation.

 

So, there you go..take it as you will or with a grain of salt. Don’t forget if you spill that salt, to toss some over your right shoulder though, can’t be too careful!  Don’t walk under ladders, be careful not to break any mirrors, open an umbrella in the house or let a black cat cross your path today.  

Lord knows, with the world in the shape it’s in, do you REALLY want to tempt fate??  See a penny, pick it up.  With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to carry around those 4 leaf clovers a few days early.  Better safe than sorry.

Just a thought. (Knock on wood *wink*)

 

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Superstition

Stevie Wonder

Very superstitious, writing’s on the wall,
Very superstitious, ladder’s ’bout to fall,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin’ glass
Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your past.

When you believe in things that you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the way

Very superstitious, wash your face and hands,
Rid me of the problem, do all that you can,
Keep me in a daydream, keep me goin’ strong,
You don’t wanna save me, sad is my song.

When you believe in things that you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the way.

Very superstitious, nothin’ more to say,
Very superstitious, the devil’s on his way,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin’ glass,
Seven years of bad luck, good things in your past.

When you believe in things that you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the way.

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