Magic and Superstition...Must be Friday the 13th
July 12, 2012
Friday the 13th… Here at the North Oak Branch, we are celebrating it with Magically Spooky Friday the 13th! On, yes, Friday! We don’t let a little superstition get in the way of our fun here. In a fit of typical librarian curiosity, I decided to find out about Friday the 13th.
In an article by John Roach, I found that some people are paralyzed by fear, won’t get out of bed, fly in an airplane, buy stock, or even go to work! There is actually a phobia related to this called, "friggatriskaidekaphobia." Whew! That’s a mouthful isn’t it? So, is it the number 13 that is the culprit? Mr. Roach’s article points out the numerous instances that people refuse the number 13. There is a lack of a 13th floor in many buildings. Some houses choose 12 & ½ instead of 13. Even streets sometimes skip 13 and go straight to 14. This seems to make the case that it is the number 13’s fault. But, what about Friday? Is Friday really so bad? I mean, after all for many people, it is the last day of the work week. It is the start of the weekend, for goodness sake! Well, I found out that not only is Friday the day Christ was crucified, it is considered by many scholars to also be the day Eve tempted Adam with the apple and the day that Abel was slain by Cain.
Don’t think it is all about Christianity either. In an article by David Emery, he states that in pagan Rome, Friday was execution day (later Hangman's Day in Britain).
Amongst all of the myths and folklore, facts and fictions, we have still survived all of those BAD Friday the 13th’s. Of course, those of you that lived in Kansas City at the time of Friday the 13th, July 1951, may want to argue with me on that one! In the book, Black Friday the Thirteenth: the Day the Rains Came and Nearly Destroyed a Down by Richard C. Fisher, the author states that "July 13, 1951, will always be remembered as Black Friday." The Kaw River overflowed into the Argentine District causing devastation. It overflowed levees, flooded the Downtown Airport, and washed away squatters’ homes on the north side of the Missouri River.
Maybe, there is something to these superstitions. I think that I will just try to keep my chin up and celebrate it anyway! Why don’t you stop by and get your mind off of it, too?
North Oak Branch