Friday the 13th often instills odd and inexplicable fear among people.
The root cause of fear of the number 13 takes us back to the Last Supper. Jesus was with his 12 apostles at the table. The 13th and final guest to arrive was Judas the betrayer.
The infamy of the number 13 also has roots in Scandinavian mythology. Legend speaks of how 12 gods celebrated in Valhalla - the home of the god Odin, when the 13th god, of evil and fire, appeared - Loki. He barged into the festivities and killed Baldur - the god of joy, using a dart. With his death, the Earth fell into darkness and mourning.
According to numerologists, the number 13 is seen as unlucky because it follows 12. The number 12 is viewed as being loaded with positive energy and symbology. There were 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 months in the year, 12 zodiac signs, 12 tribes of Israel.
In tarot cards, which are seen as the most authentic way to predict the future, the 13th card is the card of death.
In ancient Rome, it was believed that if 12 sorcerers were gathered in one place, the 13th to arrive would be the Devil himself.
In the historical record, the date of October 13, 1307, marks the day when Jacques de Molay and thousands of Knights Templars were arrested. The Knights were arrested under order of the French king Philip IV and Pope Clement V. They were tortured and accused of heresy, sodomy and all kinds of other crimes, for which they were burned at the stake.
On April 13, 1970, an oxygen tank explosion messed up the plans of the Apollo 13 shuttle for the Moon landing. The crew of the shuttle miraculously survived but the incident was not forgotten. The Apollo 13 shuttle was launched at 13:13 local time.
The terror of the number 13 is strong even today. Record losses - between 800 and 900 million dollars, have been calculated in the US on Fridays the 13th, because many people refuse to go to work out of fear.
Donald Dossey, a scientist, has determined that the despair surrounding Friday the 13th tortures between 17 to 21 million Americans. Symptoms range from moderate anxiety to total panic.
Psychologists have found that people who see themselves as unfortunate are highly likely to believe in superstitions related to bad luck.