Today is Friday the 13th. It’s not as scary as giant centipedes or, say, the future of health care in this country, but if you’ve got paraskevidekatriaphobia, it’s still a little spooky.
Both Fridays and the number 13 have a centuries-old tradition of being unlucky, according to Snopes, but the hubbub about Friday the 13th didn’t really get going until the 20th century.
Here are 13 completely random facts about Friday the 13th to help you get through the day.
1. In 1908, a U.S. Senator from Oklahoma tempted fate by submitting 13 bills on Friday, March 13th.
2. You’re going to see a Friday the 13th at least every 14 months. That’s the way the math works. On the other extreme, there can be up to three Friday the 13ths in a year. (There are two this year.)
3. Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro was born on Friday, Aug. 13 in 1926. It didn’t appear to have affected his luck … he lived to be 90 and survived many assassination attempts.
4. On Friday Aug. 13, 1521, Hernán Cortés captured Cuauhtémoc, the ruler of Tenochtitlán, This turned out to be bad luck indeed for the Aztec Empire.
5. On Friday Nov. 13, 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote the line “in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Not so much bad luck as truth, but it seems appropriate.
6. President Franklin D. Roosevelt refused to travel on the 13th, no matter what day it fell on. Turns out he just had triskaidekaphobia.
7. In Paris, a quatorzième is a professional who will join a strange dinner party that happens to have an unlucky 13 guests.
8. Thomas W. Lawson published his novel “Friday the Thirteenth” in 1907. The book was about a stockbroker trying to take down Wall Street on … you guessed it, the titular day.
9. Tupac Shakur died in Las Vegas on Friday, Sept. 13, 1996, days after being shot multiple times.
10. Pop singer Taylor Swift probably isn’t sweating it today. She considers 13 to be her lucky number. She was born on Wednesday the 13th in December 1989 — but that just allowed her to turn 13 on Friday the 13th.
11. Jason Vorhees from the “Friday the 13th” movies? He was originally going to be named Josh.
12. Black Sabbath released their debut album on Friday, Feb. 13, 1970. Look what happened to Ozzy Osbourne.
13. Friday the 13th is a great day to get married or book a flight … if you are driven by bargains more than superstition. There are enough people who refuse to do either on those days, that it creates a buyer’s market.