Here we go, the long promised '13' post. So, let's get started.
The 'Unlucky 13' is basically a Western construct. But with globalization and formation of international communities, the superstition has superseded boundaries, and is now being quite keenly observed here in the East as well. This fear of the number 13 is called Triskaidekaphobia.
The specific fear of Friday the 13th, is called Paraskevidekatriaphobia
So, now although we all scream about how unlucky the number 13 is, and are super scared of it , a lot of us don't even know why it's considered evil and unlucky. In fact, I bet a lot of today's west doesn't know about the origins of this fear either.
So, here are ten rationally irrational reasons why :
1. Hammurabi Legal Documents
This is one of the earliest myths surrounding the number 13. The 13th law was dropped, and the paper goes directly from the 12th to the 14th law . This led people to believe that the ancients had a strong reason to eliminate 13.
2. Norse Mythology
Gather around folks - A long, long time ago, 13 Norse gods had a dinner party in their heaven, and had just sat down, when the mischievous and trickster God Loki, walks in uninvited and swindles the blind god to shoot the god of joy and gladness, and the whole earth went dark and mourned. It was the most miserable and the worst day for Earth. And 13 was considered unlucky.
3. The Last Supper
The dinner party myth shows up again in Christianity . During the last supper, the 13th guest Judas Iscariot turns traitor on Jesus. The number 13 betrayed the son of God.
4. Tarot cards
The 13th card in a deck of tarot cards is the Death Card. It brings testing and suffering, and of course, death! There we go , it's the most unlucky card.
5. Knights Templar
This is possibly one of the biggest reasons behind the unluckiness attributed to 13. Gather around folks, this one is very GOT ---- Long, long ago , Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, commonly known as the Templar knights, were a strong military and finance wing of the Roman Catholic Church. The military hand played a very strong role in the Crusades, while the non-military wing built the rudiments of modern banking, and helped strengthen the economic structure of the Church.
But, after the Crusades were lost , the strength of the strong knighthood was considered dangerous as the King was in heavy debt to them, and a conspiracy was hatched to eliminated the good, honorable knights. On the morning of 13th October 1307 , King Philip 4 ordered the mass arrest of the Templar Knights, most of whom were put under horrific torture into making outrageous confessions ( spitting on the cross, indulging in homosexuality, worshiping idols of Satan, denying Christ, financial corruption, fraud etc). Many were killed in these scandals.
The mass arrest, torture and consequent murder of the Templar Knights contributed heavily to the unlucky Friday the 13 theory.
6. The Bible Mentions
As I said earlier, the unluckiness of the number 13 is basically a western concept. So, obviously this section of the post will contain the most reasons. These are some of the following -
a) The Last Supper, 13th apostle, Judas Iscariot murdered Jesus.
b) The dragon (symbol of the devil) is mentioned 13 times in Revelation.
c) Apostle Paul listed 23 characteristics of sinful people who had debased minds - the 13th characteristic is - they are haters of God.
d) Story time again - Noah (of the fabulous Noah's Ark) survived as we all know, Nimrod the 13th in line of Noah's third son, Han, tried to take the place of God [ Genesis 10:9 ] . And it's believed that 13 denotes rebellion and lawlessness.
e) 13 famines are mentioned in the Bible.
f) In Mark 7, Jesus mentions 13 things that defile a person.
7. Egyptian Mythology
Gather around again folks, a long long time ago Set killed Osiris ( Never mind the introductions, they were all Gods), but his wife Isis hunted for his sarcophagus , reanimated him and had a child by him. Set found his body, and in a fit of rage cut him up into 14 parts and scattered them across the earth. Isis collected 13 pieces ( 14th piece, the phallus was swallowed by a fish) , and put them together to give Osiris a proper funeral. As only 13 pieces were found , it is considered a deviant number which prevents completion , fullness , entirety and perfection. And hence, my lovelies, 13 is considered a deeply unlucky number.
8. The Gallows
Traditionally, the number of steps leading up to the gallows for execution were 13.
9. Apollo 13 Mission
Apollo 13 was launched on a date , whose numbers when added come to 13, at 13:13 hours, and it would enter the gravitational pull of the moon on April 13. This was the only moon mission by NASA that failed. One of the engines failed, an oxygen tank exploded, and the crew was stuck with no control and no station communication. It was with great difficulty that NASA managed to land the vessel safely, and saved the crew. The doomed mission was booed from the very beginning, since the name was announced. After the unfortunate happenings, the fear of 13 only got more affirmation and was strengthened .
10. Old Beliefs
a) It was believed that ,originally, a coven of witches was made of exactly 13 members.
b) An old wives' tale says that 13 letters in your name gives you the Devil's luck.
c) It is an old Christian belief that the Cain and Able debacle happened on the 13th.
d) 13 follows 12, which is considered a perfect number, and is used in a number of areas, 12 months in a year, 12 hours of day and night . And , it is believed that adding another number to the perfect number can only result in bad luck and imperfection.