It’s Friday the 13th, a day filled with foreboding and one that carries an ominous reputation that stretches back into the folklore of the Western world.
To honor this day, and perhaps short-circuit some of the negative energy surrounding this most macabre of digits, we present thirteen things related to the number thirteen!
1.) 13 : The Story Of The World’s Most Popular Superstition / Nathaniel Lachenmeyer. This book explores the mystery and superstition surrounding the number thirteen.
2.) Thir13en Ghosts / Warner Bros. Pictures ; Columbia Pictures. Underrated 2002 horror flick featuring Monk’s Tony Shaloob battling a bevy (does thirteen constitute a bevy?) of ghosts in a haunted house.
3.) Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. An action born from unfortunate circumstances, especially in today’s tough times, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy can actually protect your assets and save your most prized possessions.
4.) American Colonies / Alan Taylor ; Eric Foner, editor. Most everybody knows the United States began with thirteen colonies, but you can find all of the interesting details in this handy book from Viking.
5.) Apollo 13. This failed moon-mission transformed Jim Lovell and the rest of the crew, along with NASA’s earthbound mission control staff, into heroes.
6.) Baker’s Dozen. Ever wonder why thirteen bagels makes a baker’s dozen? Find out why here.
7.) Aluminum. The 13th element on the periodic table goes a long way to dispelling the negative connotations surrounding its number.
8.) 13 Doctors. The long-running British sci-fi series Doctor Who’s title character can regenerate his form a maximum of twelve times, for a total of 13 incarnations–perhaps the cleverest way ever invented to allow different actors to play the same part! Check some out here.
9.) Friday the Thirteenth movies. One of the longest running, most successful horror movie franchises in the world, claiming literally hundreds of victims in some really gruesome ways.
10.) Thirteen famous jocks who wore (or wear) “13”: Wilt Chamberlan, Dave Concepcion, Pavel Datsyuk, Bill Guerin, Dan Marino, Don Maynard, Thomas Muller, Steve Nash, Joakim Noah, Mehmet Okur, Kurt Warner, Alex Rodriguez, Mats Sundin.
11.) Phobias / Tom and Gena Metcalf, book editors. Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number thirteen, and it can be better understood by consulting a resource like the one we link to above.
12.) NPR’s not afraid! Last year National Public Radio did a great piece on folks who fear Friday, the 13th.
13.) Happy Birthday, Hitchcock! Alfred Hitchcock was born August 13, 1899. That makes this his 111th birthday! His 100th birthday in 1999 also occurred on Friday, the 13th.
This will be the only Friday the 13th in 2010, but every year has at least one, so we’ll check back on this topic on Friday, May 13th, 2011!