According to Donald Dossey, a folklore historian, the origin of the Number “13” being unlucky originated with a Norse myth about 12 gods having a dinner party in Valhalla. A trickster god named Loki, who was not invited, arrived as the 13th guest and arranged for the god Hoor to shoot another god, Balder, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. Balder died causing the earth to grow dark and from then on the number 13 was associated with bad luck. Certainly it was bad luck for Balder!
Christians associate the unlucky number 13 with the last supper at which thirteen people were present on the 13th of Nisan (Maundy Thursday,) the night before the crucifixion on Good Friday.
So there is good evidence of both the number 13 and the day Friday being associated with bad luck but there is, in fact, no record of the two being especially unlucky before the 19th century. A documented reference in H.S. Edwards’ biography of Gioachino Rossini states that Rossini died on a Friday 13th. He and many of his friends had always considered that day and number brought bad luck which makes it ironic that he died on that date.
And then, the publication in 1907 of T.W. Lawson’s popular novel Friday the Thirteenth merely contributed to this superstition because in the novel an unscrupulous broker took advantage of that superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th. And then of course there are all the movies by that name that have merely perpetuated this myth causing people to believe in bad luck, death, black cats and a plethora of other unpleasant things. Well I for one cannot subscribe to these foolish superstitions! I simply can’t afford to because I was born on the 13th of May and once again this year my birthday will fall on a Friday!
But sadly there is more. You see, in our large family, I am the thirteenth grandchild of the thirteenth child. And if that isn’t bad enough today I live on Elm Street—so I also have to contend with Freddy Kruger and the “nightmare”.
Strangely enough the number thirteen has always been lucky for me! So I wish you all a very Happy Friday the 13th—but I have my fingers crossed, just in case.