13 Facts About Friday the 13th

by | Dec 13, 2019


While exact origins of superstition around Friday 13th aren’t known, fear of Friday the 13th is a 20th Century invention. It is the combination of existing fear of the number 13 with a wariness of Fridays in general. For an in depth article of the origins of fear of the number 13 as well as the day Friday, click here.

Here are 13 facts related to Friday the 13th:

ONE: The 1907 book Friday the Thirteenth about a stockbroker who picks that day to intentionally crash the stock market was likely the first linking of the unlucky number 13 with Friday. Starting in the 1980s the Friday the 13th movies added fuel to the fire and furthered the Friday the 13th superstitions.


TWO: Fear of the number 13 is triskaidekaphobia. Fear of Friday the 13th is known as Paraskevidekatriaphobia. Here’s how to announce paraskevidekatriaphobia:

THREE: Around 10% of Americans fear Friday the 13th according to polls.

FOUR: Globally, 85 percent of buildings don’t a floor labeled 13; the number is higher in the U.S. as an estimated 90% of buildings skip the 13th floor. (Note, that buildings which skip labeling floor 13 do have a 13th floor obviously – its just called 14). The building I work in does have a labeled 13th floor, which is one of the many things I love about our building.

FIVE: Enough people are freaked out by Friday the 13th that plane flights are often cheaper on Friday the 13th. Similar to buildings not having a labeled 13th floor, many commercial planes lack a labeled row 13.

SIX: According to CNBC, “between $700 million and $800 million are lost every Friday the 13th because of people’s refusal to travel, purchase major items or conduct business.” People are also less likely to schedule weddings or receive healthcare (like scheduling surgery or procedures).

SEVEN: Every year will have at least one Friday the 13th, but cannot have more than three. A list of all the Friday the 13ths from 2010 to 2050 here.

EIGHT: For a month to have a Friday the 13th it must begin on a Sunday.

NINE: The genre of heavy metal was launched with Black Sabbath’s first album. It was released on Friday the 13th of February 1970.

TEN: On Friday the 13th of April 2029 a large asteroid will barely miss the earth, calculated to miss by about 19,000 miles (which is closer than some spacecraft and satellites orbit). Read more here.

ELEVEN: Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashed into the Andes on Friday, October 13th, 1972. 21 people died on impact. Another 8 died in an avalanche. 16 survived by resorting to cannibalism and were rescued 72 days later.

TWELVE: Director of thriller movies Alfred Hitchcock was born on Friday, Aug. 13, 1899.

THIRTEEN: We may self-select the unluckiness of Friday the 13th. According to Thomas Gilovich, chair of the Department of Psychology at Cornell University: “The mind is an associative system and if anything bad happens to you on Friday the 13th, the two will be forever associated in your mind and all those uneventful days in which the 13th fell on a Friday will be ignored.”


  1. I would quibble with CNBC’s saying that $7-800M is “lost” because of a Friday the 13th. Those purchases are simply deferred to another date.

  2. Wasn’t the origin of it that when Jesus went to get sentenced by Pilate, there were 13 steps up to the throne where pilate was seated ?

    • Yes, the origin of the fear of the number 13 supposedly includes Judas being the 13th to arrive at the last supper, but also the Norse god loki being the 13th guest at a feast that ended in chaos. And, there are other various circumstances relating to the number 13 which has given it it’s unlucky status for some people.


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