There are several interesting stories about this, but what historical information do we have that would indicate the correct one?

  • Great question Ides of march Oct 26, 2011 at 1:54
  • 3
    How can there be "correct" folklore? Folklore is by definition a collection of myths.
    – John
    Oct 26, 2011 at 4:24
  • I concur, superstitions while they have a thread of truth are hard to nail down.
    – MichaelF
    Oct 28, 2011 at 18:00
  • To make it even more confusing, it's Tuesday the 13th in Spain. Why, oh, why.
    – fledermaus
    Oct 27, 2012 at 12:17

2 Answers 2


Superstitions are hard to nail down as to the source, but this one doesn't seem to go back far and from what I have been told, in the US, it originates or resonates from the Last Supper. Jesus had 13 at the dinner the night before he was killed. So if you take many of the following sources at face value:

  • 13 in numerology is unlucky because it's an incomplete number, these are numbers that contain a deprivation or basically numbers that are more focused on the earthly than the divine (this comes from Jewish numerology)
  • Friday's are bad due to multiple reasons (The Canterbury Tales notes it as a bad day), Jesus was crucified on a Friday, Stock Market crashes have occurred on Fridays...see the Wikipedia link for more
  • 13 is an unlucky number in Norse mythology
  • This seems to be an invention of the 19th Century

Places you can look: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friday_the_Thirteenth




  • Fridays are bad? Why?
    – Jose Luis
    Nov 10, 2011 at 13:11
  • 1
    Noted in the post...
    – MichaelF
    Nov 10, 2011 at 17:48
  • 2
    ©MichaelF please what is an incomplete number? BTW, my Mandarin teacher taught me that four (四, sì) is considered unlucky in China, because it sounds similar to dead (死, sǐ).
    – Drux
    Oct 28, 2012 at 13:19
  • The bias against the the known-history of the 13th and the Templars is.... unscientific. Oct 29, 2012 at 3:26
  • @Drux that is correct, the Japanese have the same superstition for 4 and 7, they have two pronunciations one that is close to Shi (death) and one that is different to avoid the superstition
    – MichaelF
    Oct 29, 2012 at 12:11

It is not actually a superstition as much as it is an historical event. The traditional association of Friday 13th comes from the Church's massacre of Knights Templar on Friday, October 13th, 1307.

The order was given by King Philip IV of France, due to a number of reasons. You can read about it in numerous books or get the quick and dirty from Wikipedia:


  • 6
    You've duplicated the now deleted bogus answer by JoeHobbit. This is wrong because this superstition didn't come up until 19th century. An event that happened some 500 years earlier couldn't have possibly caused it, so this definitely isn't the "historically correct version". Now if there were some novel or something else that popularized that event in the 19th century it might be a reason for this superstition. But there doesn't seem to be anything like this. Nov 15, 2011 at 10:26
  • @WladimirPalant source? The date of Philip's surprise attack on the Templar is well-documented. I know those whose family has passed title of knighthood since before the 13th C, and they attest the lore has been in their family since that day. That's anecdotal for anyone whose family does not carry these stories, but the only difference between this history and, say, D-Day stories, is the amount of exposed-people. Oct 29, 2012 at 3:24
  • This is the version that I've encountered in history textbooks as well. I'll bring it up to 0 until we have a reference for the bogus call (if it IS bogus, damn those Victorians for making such convincing stories!)
    – user3169
    Nov 28, 2012 at 6:30

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