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Why is Friday the 13th so bad?

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Rodrigo Cokting
Staff writer

Friday, June 13, 2014, 9:47 AM - It's perfect storm of bad omens. Not only is it Friday the 13th, but there was also a full moon in the sky.

But have you ever wondered why Friday the 13th is considered so unlucky?

Part of the reason has to do with Christianity. The crucifixion of Jesus took place on a Friday, a day that was also known as "Hangman's Day" during medieval times.

As for the number, only part of the problem can be traced back to Christianity. There were 13 guests at the Last Supper. Judas, sometimes referred to as the thirteenth guest was the apostle that betrayed Jesus. But the problem with 13 isn't that simple. For many cultures and countries, the number 12 is a "complete number." There are 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 inches in a foot, 12 pitches in an octave, 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac, 12 pairs of ribs in the human body, etc. Being the number that follows 12 has attached a certain sense of discomfort to 13.

Another contributing factor to the ominous feel of the day is thanks to pop culture. Friday The 13th was a film released on May 9, 1980. The slasher found summer camp counselors trying to escape the anger of Jason Voorhes, a boy that drowned in a nearby lake more than 20 years ago. Despite its lukewarm reviews, the film became a pop culture phenomenon and cemented Friday the 13th as a day to avoid.

Despite many believing that the overlap of Friday and the 13th is a rare occurrence, the truth is actually the opposite. The 13th is actually more likely to fall on Friday than on any other day of the week, meaning Friday the 13th is encountered more often than Thursday the 13th or Wednesday the 13th

At this point, the fear of the day is so widespread there's even two names for it. Friggatriskaidekaphobia and paraskevidekatriaphobia are both names for people who are afraid of Friday the 13th.


RELATED: Tomorrow's Friday the 13th full moon is so rare, it won't happen again until 2049


Feeling a little moony?

On the other hand, some people feel a little wary of nights in which the full moon is out on display. The common folklore suggests that people act strangely on those nights because of the different gravitational pull of the full moon. The word "lunacy" derives from this notion. People thought there was a link between insanity and the moon.

One study in 1976 stated that crimes occurred more frequently during the full moon. Most studies don't seem to find a correlation between any particular moon cycle phase and the rate of crime. Furthermore, experts often remind those looking for a link that correlation doesn't always mean causation. In fact, it could be that it's our notions that feed into the cycle, rather than the moon itself.

In any case, a Friday the 13th with a full moon is a rare spectacle. A night like this won't be seen again until 2049.

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