1.13.2006

Today Could Be Your Lucky Day!

But...Y'Know...Probably Not



Do You Feel Unlucky, Punk?

from Sploid

Nervous people around the world are hoping today's dreaded Friday the 13th passes without incident.

Those who
fear Friday the 13th have been given their own special little psychological disorder by the ever-helpful drug pushers and shrinks of the medical industry. It's called Paraskavedekatriaphobia, and if you're a big enough sucker you purchase treatment for what we used to call feeling unlucky.

And it truly is an unlucky day, if only because we believe it so. Suspicious people often refuse to make business deals or travel on Friday the 13th.

According to a TV psychologist who sells books about holiday superstitions, some
$750 million is lost each Friday the 13th in the United States, all thanks to the 20 million or so Americans who fear the day.

There has never been an F-13 fighter in America, and the U.S. Navy won't launch ships on the cursed day.

Adolf Hitler and Victor Hugo reportedly
hated Friday the 13th. And Napoleon, Herbert Hoover, Mark Twain, Richard Wagner and Franklin Roosevelt all had a general dislike of the number 13, known as triskaidekaphobia. That phobia is the reason so many hotels and apartment buildings skip the 13th floor altogether.

But why is the particular combination of Friday and the 13th day of the month so treacherous for so many people?

The number 13 is unlucky in many Western cultures. One explanation goes back to the
Norse gods we still honor each week with Thor's day (Thursday), Odin or Woden's day (Wednesday), and Freya's day (Friday).

Norse mythology says all 12 main gods were having a drunken dinner up at Valhalla when the troublemaker Loki
crashed the party. He was the 13th guest. Next thing you know, he got the blind god Hod to throw some mistletoe at this other god, Balder. Like a Benihana chef slinging a shrimp, Hod killed Balder...who was Freya's beloved son. That's why it's bad luck to have 13 people at a table.

Christians believe Jesus had 12 disciples, and it all went bad because there were
13 people (Jesus was the 13th) at the Last Supper. Tradition says Jesus was executed on a Friday, the not so good "Good Friday."

But the most notorious historical example of the day's rotten luck was the crackdown on the Knights Templar on Friday, October 13,
of the year 1307.

That's when the scheming king of France, Philip the Fair, had the famous knights arrested on
charges of heresy. Those who didn't escape were imprisoned and then tortured by the Roman church's inquisitors, who were able to extract terrible confessions from the knights.

Enough torture will make people agree to anything, and many Templars were suddenly admitting the same crimes against the Christian faith: They worshipped a
bearded, horned head called the Baphomet, they were homosexuals, they trampled and spit upon the cross of Jesus.

Even if they did perform such acts - not that there's anything wrong with it - Philip was far more interested in their money and power. By the 14th Century, the
Knights Templar were the most powerful organization in all of Europe. A private army and navy with a special blessing from the Vatican, the Knights owned huge estates all over Europe and the Middle East. They also invented banking and soon had financial control over the popes and kings who supposedly ruled the lands.

While the order's grand master,
Jacques de Molay, was eventually burned at the stake with other Templar leaders, most Templars escaped to distant countries and other chivalrous orders.

The next Friday the 13th will come later this year...on October 13.



Have. Nice. Day.

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