It’s Friday the 13th, so if you want to stay safe… avoid the sequels.
Nobody really knows for sure why Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day. Some people think it’s in reference to the Last Supper, which had 13 attendees, right before Jesus was crucified on Good Friday. Other people think it goes back to Friday, October 13, 1307, when King Philip the Fourth of France ordered the arrest of hundreds of members of the Catholic Order known as the Knight’s Templar.
However it got its start, Friday the 13th still gives us the chills. And even though statistically, misfortune is no more likely to find you on Friday the 13th than any other day, weird, unlucky things have happened enough on that day to give us the creeps.
Here are the unluckiest things to ever happen on Friday the 13th.
#4: The Final Jump of Sam Patch
Sam Patch became a nationally-recognized daredevil in 1829 when, on October 17, he successfully survived jumping off a cliff near Niagara Falls to the delight of spectators. He tried the same stunt again only 3 weeks later from Genessee Falls on Friday, November 6th, and it was also a success. That jump, however, raised less money than he anticipated, so Patch decided to do it again from a higher platform. That attempt came on Friday the 13th of November, 1829, and… it didn’t go so well. Patch apparently showed up half drunk and was unable to keep his typical, feet-first form. He hit the water with a thud and his frozen body was discovered in the thawing ice the following spring.
#3: The Murder of Kitty Genovese
On Friday the 13th of March, 1964, 28-year-old Kitty Genovese was murdered outside her home in New York City. For 30 minutes, Walter Moseley raped and stabbed her, all within earshot of those in her Queens neighborhood. A story published two weeks later in the New York Times alleged that three dozen people who heard her cries for help did nothing. And Kitty's murder has long been a promoted as a prime example of the Bystander Effect, the psychological phenomenon where individuals fail to act because they assume someone else has already done so.
Though later analysis found that many of the witnesses to Genovese's murder did call the police, it is still frequently regarded as a modern example of American apathy to one's neighbors. So, if the police were called on that Friday the 13th, why didn’t they respond? In another unfortunate reminder of those times, it appears the police thought the calls were about domestic disputes and determined that they weren’t needed.
#2: The Day of Plane Crashes
Again, even though there’s no evidence that Friday the 13th is a particularly dangerous day to fly, that didn’t matter on Friday the 13th of October, 1972, when two separate planes crashed 9,000 miles apart. The first crash was Aeroflot Flight 217, traveling from Paris to Moscow. Shortly before landing, the Moscow tower lost contact with the aircraft, and the plane crashed, killing all 174 people on board. An investigation was unable to determine what precipitated the crash, and the official cause is "psycho-physiological incapacitation of the crew for reasons unknown."
At the time, it was the deadliest plane crash in history, and that’s not even the most famous plane crash that day. Because also on October 13, 1972, Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, a chartered plane carrying a rugby union team and their families, crashed in the remote Andes mountains, on the border between Chile and Argentina. That flight is so famous because the survivors, not knowing when or if they would be rescued, resorted to eating the bodies of dead passengers preserved in the snow in order to survive. The story is the basis for the Frank Marshall film, Alive. Eventually, the survivors were rescued…. over two months after the crash.
#1: Lightning Strike Boy
In one of the weirdest coincidences in Friday the 13th history, a 13-year-old boy in Lowestoft, England, was struck by lightning on Friday the 13th of August, 2010. What made it even weirder is the ambulance team treated him at exactly 13:13 military time. So, I guess that would mean the lightning bolt hit him around 1:06 or something.
Interestingly enough, that boy was at a busy event where there was heavy rain. And three people were struck by lightning there in the span of 20 minutes. All three of them were holding umbrellas, so I guess it’s true what they say. Beware the umbrella! His luck wasn’t that bad, though. The boy was taken to a hospital and made a full recovery.
What’s the unluckiest thing that’s happened to you on Friday the 13th? Let us know in the comments.
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