Humor Selections for Friday June 13th, 2008

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Although Friday the 13th isn't a genuine holiday...

..., it does cause commotion. Every year will have at least one Friday the 13th fall in one of the months, with a maximum of 3 times (months) that it will occur in a year. Which months it will fall on is part of it's mystical uncertainty and surprise. And, Friday the 13th doesn't really have any official symbol or color to go with it.

How the Fear of Friday the 13th Began...

It is surprising how subtle superstitions and folklore creep into our lives even in this new millennium and all our technology. We, civilized folk, like to think we are beyond such silly things. But are we really?

According to ancient maritime tradition, no voyage should ever begin on a Friday because sailors felt that if it did, that voyage would have back luck. Even Lloyds of London (famous insurance company) in the 1800's refused to insure any ship sailing on a Friday the 13th. Sailing tales tell of many captains who tried to defy this silly fear by sailing on Friday, only to find their ship not in good shape after a day or two (or never heard from again!).

If some ocean liners were scheduled to leave on the 13th (regardless of the day of the week) captains would actually come up with excuses to delay leaving port until after midnight when it was technically the 14th. The US Navy today will not launch a ship on any Friday the 13th. And, many of us will not travel by any means on Friday the 13th. Some won't even leave their homes!

Other superstitions are: That it is bad luck to be born on a Friday, marry on a Friday, accept (or begin) a new job on a Friday, clip your nails on a Friday or visit the sick on a Friday. If you change your sheets on a Friday, you will not sleep well. Some criminals pray that they don't get sentenced on a Friday as they feel the consequences will be even worse for them.

Doesn't this make you wonder about today's phrase, "TGIF" (Thank God It's Friday) if Friday is suppose to be so terrible?

And, what about dying on a Friday? As if some of us have a choice in that matter even?

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A few quirks about Friday the 13th
  • According to a poll in USA Today in 1992, 2 out of 5 people in the US believed that cars built on a Friday have more mechanical problems because workers are more careless on those days.
  • French socialites (quatorziens = fourteeneers) would make themselves available as emergency guest fill-ins for dinner parties which held 13 names so they could be the 14th guest.
  • Many theatre managers will refuse to open a new show on a Friday, esp. if it is the 13th.
  • Some ball players feel it is bad luck to play a game on a Friday.
  • Threats of computer viruses run amuck on Friday the 13th often needlessly scaring many users.
  • Many businesses (or their CEOs) dislike beginning a new venture on a Friday, starting on a business trip or even signing a contract on any 13th of any month, esp. if it's a Friday the 13th.
  • Otis Elevator Company says that 90% of skyscrapers (and many big hotels) have no 13th floor.
  • Many hospitals, hotels, office complexes, etc. have no Room 13.
  • Universal Studios in California has no studio lot 13.
  • Many airlines, sports arenas and auditoriums eliminate a "seat 13" or even a row 13.
  • The airport in Fresno, CA doesn't have a Gate 13.
  • And, many folks will not have 13 as a house number so the Post Office gives them 12 1/2. And in France to replace the number 13, they use 12 two times as 1212.

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When discussing how bad 13 is, we have to think of 12 first

Some people feel that the number 13 goes back to biblical times because there were 13 at the table of the Last Supper, with Judas being the 13th of course. It actually goes even further back than that. One anthropological theory is that early man was comfy with the obvious and feared the unknown. They counted using all 10 fingers and then 2 feet which equaled 12. (I have no clue why they didn't count their toes too.) Anyway, after 12, well Duh? So they feared 13.

In ancient Greek and Roman numerology, the number 13 for fortune telling meant a sign of destruction. (You'll have to go to a numerology site to see why.) In early Rome, witches gathered in groups (covens) of 12. So the 13th one was said to be the evil one.

According to Norse Mythology, there were 12 gods gathered for dinner when suddenly the 13th guest, named Loki, (who was uninvited) popped in. He is said to be cruel, mischievous and for some, even evil. He also has red-hair.

The Viking's hangman noose had 13 knots, and so they considered 13 to be unlucky.

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We all hate Mondays, so why not hate it?  Just how did Friday get this bad rap?

In Nordic mythology, Frigga is the Goddess of Friday. She isn't mean or evil. Actually she is married to Odin, the father of all gods. She is also the mother of Balder, the god of goodness. But, because her main activity was to stay in her home and weave golden threads and make multi-colored clouds, I guess that's how you get the "staying in on Fridays" connection? 

Ancient manuscripts imply that Eve gave Adam that infamous apple on a Friday and some say it was a Friday the 13th. But, this is just a guess and not proven at all!  

Another biblical reference is the rumor that it was on Friday that Cain slew his brother Abel. And, the crucifixion, as we know, fell on a Friday. For the Druids, Friday was the night of the "Witch's Sabbath."

So, if you mix the two items: evil 13 + ominous Friday together, you get a day that for some feel is a guaranteed dismal day.

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Friday the 13th Phobia...

Some people have the Friday the 13th phobia only slightly where they simply refuse to travel. And yet, others will literally call in sick and not even go to work that day. Is this why you're home and reading this page? (wink!>

We all have fears. It's when those fears determine our actions (or non-actions) that determines the seriousness of a phobia. I don't want to dwell much on this because the fear of Friday the 13th and it's symptoms is pretty much the same as any other extreme fear. For those who want advice and help, I suggest checking out other phobia websites or local support groups.

But the basic low-key symptoms are nervousness, giggles and constant comments about the day, what's going on, mentioning 13's etc. More serious symptoms are having a real intensive panic attack (hyperventilation, dizziness, sweats, rapid heartbeat) to an actual heart attack for some! Some people won't even get out of bed for a day they are so afraid of Friday the 13th. Others limit their phobia to 1 activity they refuse to do, such as write a check, go to a doctor, eat in a restaurant or drive a car (they walk!).

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Good Fridays & other 13 Stuff...
  • According to the Irish, "It is good to die on Friday, be buried on Saturday and get prayed for on Sunday." 
  • Whether something is lucky or unlucky is all how you want to view it.
  • On Friday, September 13, 1939, Igor Secorsky invented the helicopter.  
  • On Friday, July 13, 1900, Teddy Roosevelt laid the cornerstone for the new county courthouse in New York.
  • On Friday, September 13, 1814 Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star Spangled Banner". This is a good thing for our country, but not necessarily for all our ears (depending on who sings the song).
  • On Friday, September 13, 1857, Milton Hershey was born. And, thus gave us Hershey chocolate!
  • And, many couples choose on purpose to marry on a Friday the 13th just to defy the divorce ratio in the United States!
  • But, what is bad to one country isn't to another...
  • In Japan the number 3 is considered unlucky. And in Madagascar the number 6 is unlucky. Yet, in China, they think 3 and 9 are lucky. On the other hand, the Turks don't like 13 so they literally removed it from their vocabulary.

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For those who are in need of some protection there are silly rituals and cures galore...

... to protect them on Friday the 13th. A few of them are:

  • Walk around your house 13 times on Friday the 13th.
  • Hang your shoes out the window. (My guess is the smell will drive all the evil away!)
  • Sleep with a mirror under your pillow for the first 3 Fridays before Friday the 13th comes. You are suppose to dream of your true love on Friday the 13th then also.
  • Walk around the block with your mouth full of water. If you do not swallow it, you will be 100% safe on Friday the 13th.

and finally there's always 13th century age-old Aristotle cure...

  • Wear and/or eat garlic!

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That peculiar phase of superstition which has regard to lucky or unlucky, good or evil days...

... is to be found in all ages and climes, wherever the mystery-man of a tribe, or the sacerdotal caste of a nation, has acquired rule or authority over the minds of the people.

All over the East, among the populations of antiquity, arc to be found traces of this almost universal worship of luck. It is one form of that culture of the beneficent and the maleficent principles, which marks the belief in good and evil, as an antagonistic duality of gods. From ancient Egypt the evil or unlucky days have received the name of "Egyptian days.' Nor is it only in pagan, but in Christian times, that this superstition has held its potent sway. No season of year, no month, no week, is free from those untoward days on which it is dangerous, if not fatal, to begin any enterprise, work, or travel. They begin with New-Year's Day, and they only end with the last day of December. Passing over the heathen augurs, who predicted fortunate days for sacrifice or trade, wedding or war, let us see what our Anglo-Saxon forefathers believed in this matter of days. A Saxon MS. (Cott. MS. Vitell, C. viii. fo. 20) gives the following account of these Dies Mali - "Three days there are in the year, which we call Egyptian days; that is, in our language, dangerous days, on any occasion whatever, to the blood of man or beast. In the month which we call April, the last Monday; and then is the second, at the coming in of the month we call August; then is the third, which is the first Monday of the going out of the month of December. He who on these three days reduces blood, be it of man, be it of beast, this we have heard say, that speedily on the first or seventh day, his life he will end. Or if his life be longer, so that he come not to the seventh day, or if he drink some time in these three days, he will end his life; and he that tastes of goose-flesh, within forty days' space his life he will end.'

In the ancient Exeter Kalendar, a MS. said to be of the age of Henry II, the first or Kalends of January is set down as 'Dies Mala.'

These Saxon Kalendars give us a total of about 24 evil days in the 365; or about one such in every fifteen. But the superstition 'lengthened its cords and strengthened its stakes; 'it seems to have been felt or feared that the black days had but too small a hold on their regarders; so they were multiplied.

'Astronomers say that six days of the year are perilous of death; and therefore they forbid men to let blood on them, or take any drink; that is to say, January 3rd, July 1st, October 2nd, the last of April, August 1st, the last day going out of December. These six days with great diligence ought to be kept, but namely [mainly?] the latter three, for all the veins are then full. For then, whether man or beast be knit in them within 7 days, or certainly within 14 days, he shall die. And if they take any drinks within 15 days, they shall die; and if they eat any goose in these 3 days, within 40 days they shall die; and if any child be born in these 3 latter days, they shall die a wicked death. Astronomers and astrologers say that in the beginning of March, the seventh night, or the fourteenth day, let the blood of the right arm; and iii the beginning of April, the 11th day, of the left arm; and in the end of May, 3rd or 5th (lay, on whether arm thou wilt; and thus, of all the year, thou shalt orderly be kept from the fever, the falling gout, the sister gout, and loss of thy sight.' Book of Knowledge, b. 1. p. 19.

Those who may be inclined to pursue this subject more fully, will find an essay on 'Day-Fatality,' in John. Aubrey's Miscellanies, in which he notes the days lucky and unlucky, of the Jews, Greeks, Romans, and of various distinguished individuals of later times.

In a comparatively modern MS. Kalendar, of the time of Henry VI, in the writer's possession, one page of vellum is filled with the following, of which we modernise the spelling:

These underwritten be the perilous day's, for to take any sickness in, or to be hurt in, or to be wedded in, or to take any journey upon, or to begin any work on, that he would well speed. The number of these days be in the year 32; they be these:

  • In January there be 7: 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 10th, and 15th.
  • In February be 3: 6th, 7th, and 18th.
  • In March be 3: 1st, 6th, and 8th.
  • In April be 2: 6th and 11th.
  • In May be 3: 5th, 6th, and 7th.
  • In June be 2: 7th and 15th.
  • In July be 2: 5th and 19th.
  • In August be 2: 15th and 19th.
  • In September be 2: 6th and 7th.
  • In October is 1: 6th.
  • In November be 2: 15th and 16th.
  • in December be 3: 15th, 16th, and 17th

The copyist of this dread list of evil days, while apparently giving the superstition a qualified credence, manifests a higher and nobler faith, lifting his aspiration above days and seasons; for he has appended to the catalogue, in a bold firm hand of the time ‘Sed tamen in Domino confide.' (But, notwithstanding, I will trust in the Lord.) Neither in this Kalendar, nor in another of the same owner, prefixed to a small MS. volume containing a copy of Magna Charta, &c., is there inserted in the body of the Kalendar anything to denote a 'Dies Mala.' After the Reformation, the old evil days appear to have abated much of the ancient malevolent influences, and to have left behind them only a general superstition against fishermen setting out to fish, or seamen to take a voyage, or landsmen a journey, or domestic servants to enter on a new place--on a Friday. In many country districts, especially in the north of England, no weddings take place on Friday, from this cause. According to a rhyming proverb, 'Friday's moon, come when it will, comes too soon.' Sir Thomas Overbury, in his charming sketch of a milkmaid, says. 'Her dreams are so chaste, that she dare tell them; only a Friday's dream is all her superstition; and she consents for fear of anger.' Erasmus dwells on the 'extraordinary inconsistency' of the English of his day, in eating flesh in Lent, yet holding it a heinous offence to eat any on a Friday out of Lent.

The Friday superstitions cannot be wholly explained by the fact that it was ordained to be hold as a fast by the Christians of Rome. Some portion of its maleficent character is probably clue to the character of the Scandinavian Venus Freya, the wife of Odin, and goddess of fecundity But we are met on the other hand by the fact that amongst the Brahmins of India a like superstitious aversion to Friday prevails. They say that 'on this day no business must be commenced.' And herein is the fate foreshadowed of any antiquary who seeks to trace one of our still lingering superstitions to its source. Like the bewildered traveller at the cross roads, he knows not which to take. One leads him into the ancient Teuton forests; a second amongst the wilds of Scandinavia; a third to papal, and thence to pagan Rome; and a fourth carries him to the far east, and there he is left with the conviction that much of what is old and quaint and strange among its, of the superstitious relics of our fore-elders, has its root deep in the soil of one of the ancient homes of the race.

From Robert Chambers 'The Book of Days'

This is a car advertisement from Great Britain - Download Video

When they finished filming the ad, the film editor noticed something moving along the side of the car, like a ghostly white mist. The ad was never put on TV because of the unexplained ghostly phenomenon.

Watch the front end of the car as it clears the trees in the middle of the screen and you'll see the white mist crossing in front of the car then following it along the road......Spooky!

Is it a ghost, or is it simply mist? You decide.

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