Friday the 13th is a calendar date that millions of people around the world have come to dread. There is even an official psychological condition that was born of it called triskaidekaphobia - fear of the number 13. In part, this phobia emerged from religion, more specifically the Last Supper, when Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus.
Since then it has become the 1st superstition linked to a calendar date. It is believed that if 13 people were to sit down at a table, 1 of them would die very soon. Other similar fears have spread since that time. It was said that it took 13 steps to go from the base of the scaffold to the hangman's noose and that the rope itself had 13 knots.
The good news is that science hasn't found anything unusual about the date Friday the 13th. Unfortunately, over the years, many unfortunate events have occurred on this date and our inborn human fear has elevated them to be much more significant in our consciousness than those occurring on any other date. See the worst of these below.
On this date, Philip IV of France ordered all Knights Templar in his country to be captured and killed. Thousands were caught and murdered brutally. Many researchers believe that it was this event in France that led the French to believe that Friday the 13th was a day bringing misfortune.
Only a couple of weeks before Halloween in 1989, the New York stock exchange crashed. The Dow Jones index fell nearly 191 points within just several hours. Thousands of people were left bankrupt. Hundreds of suicides followed.
Aztec Empire, 08.13.1521
On this day, the great Aztec Empire, which had persisted for centuries, crumbled with a sudden and bloody end. Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés conquered Tenochtitlan (the Empire's capital), killed off half the population and put an end to the Aztec nation. Since then, the city would become known under a new name - Mexico City.
Perhaps the most recent tragedy to occur on this date was in 2012 when the cruise ship Costa Concordia became grounded off the western shores of Italy and flipped on its side. 32 people died in the accident.
One of the largest recorded wildfires in history broke out in the Australian state of Victoria on this date. 36 people were killed in just 1 day, while 4, 942, 000 acres or 2, 000, 000 ha (75% of its territory) were burned.
Chile and Russia, 10.13.1972
On this date in 1972, a plane crashed in the Chilean Andes. 12 people were killed instantly, while the rest resorted to cannibalism to survive. The events are described in the film Alive. On the same day, a plane crashed near Moscow, killing 160.
One of the worst natural disasters in human history took place on this date. The Bhola tropical cyclone hit Bangladesh, killing more 500 000 people in a single day.
Planet Earth, 04.13.2029
NASA recently announced that on April 13, 2029 (Friday) the asteroid 99942 Apophis would pass dangerously close to Earth, causing a number of disruptions in telecommunications around the planet. But those who believe in the bad luck the date brings expect an even worse catastrophe. What about you?