Expecting bad luck on Friday the 13th? Well, worry not because superstitions are often based on rumors and unrelated facts cobbled together, and the dread of the number 13 is no exception. Historically, this number has been seen as both a blessing and a curse.
When someone wants to offer proof of unlucky 13, the oft-sited example is the Apollo 13 lunar mission, which left the launching pad at 13 minutes after 1 pm, or 13:13 in military time, and returned to earth on the 13th of April. However, all the astronauts on that terrifying flight returned home alive, which seems to disprove rather than support the superstition.
The Last Supper
It’s said that in the Western world, 13 became unlucky after the Last Supper, where 13 broke bread together, resulting in the crucifixion of Jesus on Friday the 13th. But the Vikings have an even older tradition of 13 at a table foretelling death, cited in a myth where 13 gods gathered for a feast. There, the favorite, Baldur, was murdered.
Considering the superstition, archeologists point even further back to the ancient Hammurabi’s Code, which lacks a thirteenth law, suggesting that the fear of 13 dates back more than three millennia. That said, most historians agree that the fear of 13 (in particular Friday the 13th) became epidemic in the United States in the ’70s – when the Friday the 13th movies entered our pop culture consciousness.
Nonetheless, the United States military avoids numbering new models of planes with 13 – the American fighter plane the YF-12 was followed by the F-14! The superstition affected an airline, Brussels Air, and its logo of 13 orange balls that customers were in an outrage over. It was so extreme that the airline was forced to add another ball and repaint all its airplanes. Sound crazy?
Do the math
This type of reaction is far from unusual, as many as 85% of buildings number the 13th floor with 14 in order not to spook potential clients. Many cities in North America and Europe have a 12th Street, followed by a street with a name, then a 14th Street. Very few cities tempt bad luck by having a 13th Street. Most hotels, cruise ships and even town councils choose not to number rooms, floors or house numbers with the number 13 as it has a negative impact on sales.
Yet, this is far from a universal fear. In Japan, Korea and China the number 13 has no evil significance, while the number 4 is terrifying because it has the same pronunciation as the word for death. In Jewish mysticism, 13 is lucky as it reveals the magical ability to transcend the influences of the cosmos (the 12 signs of the zodiac), making it the sign of someone truly extraordinary. Ancient Egyptians viewed 13 as the glorious number of transformation, the spiritual ascension. Also, the lunar year often has 13 full moons dividing the months, so that Wiccan and pagan acolytes consider the number a sign of the Goddess, and therefore not only lucky but divine.
Whether something is lucky or a warning of trouble, is due to your beliefs and other signifiers like your astrological chart and personal numerology. If you have any questions about which numbers are lucky or unlucky for you, a Psychic Numerologist can help.
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