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Friday the 13th: Just another normal day

By Ryan Whelchel

Today is one of the most notorious days in superstition, Friday the 13th.

This year there is only one Friday the 13th, while in 2002 there was one in September then again another in December. The occurrence usually occurs one to three times a year. There are many stories as to why the number thirteen is unlucky, and why Fridays in general are unlucky.

Jeff Turner of the Clayton County Police Department says, "To my knowledge nothing is run differently."

"Believe it or not nothing out of the ordinary happens," at the hospital, according to Yolanda James, spokeswoman for Southern Regional Medical Center.

Americans believe that the number 13 is unlucky. You won't find many 13th floors in tall buildings. And then there was that really scary movie "Friday the 13th" which had kids from Clayton County and other areas screaming and loving it.

But in other civilizations the number can be seen as a sign of good luck and good fortune. In ancient Egypt during the time of the pharos, Egyptians believed that life was a spiritual ascension that required 13 stages. Twelve stages during life, and a 13th stage was brought forth in the afterlife. So the number 13 meant death. But just because it meant death, it did not mean anything bad. It meant something glorious for you have transcended to the afterlife. To the Egyptians the number 13 represented transformation, but seeing that a civilization that based a level of happiness on the number 13 died out, people only interpret it as another bad sign of the number. The Chinese also believe that the number 13 has a good luck quality about it.

But Americans are not alone in believing that the number is unlucky. Vikings and Hindus had a similar belief that it was unlucky for 13 people to gather together in one place. Another more popular story relates to the Bible. During "The Last Supper," there were actually thirteen guests, one of the apostles betrayed Christ giving way to his arrest and crucifixion.

In other Bible stories Friday was the day that Adam was tempted by Eve to bite the apple, ejecting them from the Garden of Eden. The Great Flood was also started on Friday, God tongue-tied the builders of the Tower of Babel on a Friday, the Temple of Solomon was destroyed on a Friday, and Christ was crucified on a Friday.

In Britain over a hundred years ago, the leader decided that he would end all the superstitions. So he hired a crew on a Friday, named the ship H.M.S. Friday, sailed on Friday, launched the ship on Friday, and hired a captain by the name of Jim Friday. The ship's maiden voyage was on a Friday. The ship was never heard of again after the voyage.

Also in Britain and in Rome, it was customary that Friday's were execution days. It has been said for a long time that Fridays were unlucky, and so was the number 13. So what could be worse than combining the two?

One report on what is thought to be the actual beginning of Friday the Thirteenth was that the Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques Demolay (a faction that was created after the Crusades to protect travelers journeying to Jerusalem), was arrested on Friday the 13th. The faction seemed to have grown too powerful in the views of the Pope and the King and had Demolay arrested. He was burned at the stake seven years later for "heresy." Before he died he prophesized the death of the King and the Pope within that year, in which they both did die.