Yesterday was Friday the 13th. This is usually viewed as an unlucky day, although for me this particular date has always proven to be lucky. Thinking that one particular date should be believed to be unlucky or ill-fated over any other day got me to thinking, so I went to our beloved Wikipedia to read about the origins of Friday the 13th. I found that a lot of events surrounding this date were not ill-fated at all. For example, the band “Black Sabbath” (wasn’t that Ozzie Osborn’s band?) released their debut album on Friday, February 13, 1970. Five of the twelve (and forgive me, but it’s hard to believe we have tolerated twelve) movies in the “Friday the 13th” series were released on Friday the 13ths (great marketing strategy), and the 13th book in “A Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snickets (a/k/a Daniel Handler) was released on October 13, 2006.
One of the things I did discover was that back on October 13, 1307, Templar Grand Master, Jacques de Molay and several other Templar Knights were arrested by King Philip of France. It is said they were tortured to death (truly an unlucky day for them). This event is believed to have been popularized in Dan Brown’s novel, “The Da Vinci Code”.
One of the other things I found interesting is that in other countries this superstition is not believed. In Spanish speaking countries, for example, it is Tuesday the thirteenth that is considered to be unlucky. The Greeks also believe this to be an unlucky day. In Italy it is Friday the 17th which is considered unlucky.
There was an actual study done in the US which said that 17 to 21 million people are affected by the fear of this day. Now, you may be wondering what all this may have to do with writing. Let us suppose our character is of a highly suspicious nature. For example, if any of you have read “Memoirs of a Geisha” you may recall they did nothing without first consulting the stars to find out if it was a lucky day or not. How could a characters beliefs and superstitions impact their actions or inactions? Not only their beliefs in such things as certain days being lucky or unlucky, but superstitions even beyond that? Would they be fearful of smashing a mirror or walking under a ladder? Could they be fearful of black cats? This could open many doors for a twisted … er … I mean cleaver writer’s mind.
How do you feel about Friday the 13th? Do you have any other superstitions? This author would like to know … and perhaps you may find one of them in my next book … bwahahahaha ….