Friday, 13 November 2015

Friday the 13th: is it really unlucky?

On Friday, 13th November, 1970, the deadliest storm in history devastated Bangladesh, with some estimates putting the number killed at as high as a million. And that was just one of the disasters that happened on this feared date.

On Friday, 13th October, 1307, scores of members of the elite military Knights Templar order, who had played a crucial role in the Crusades, were arrested by Philip IV of France and accused of heresy, blasphemy and vice. After the authorities extracted confessions by torture, the order was dissolved in 1312.

On Friday, 13th November, 1972, a Fairchild FH-227D on charter from the Uruguayan Air Force crashed in the Andes. 29 of the 45 people on board died. It took more than two months to rescue the remaining 16, some of whom had to survive by eating the dead. Their story was told in the feature film, Alive.

Then on Friday, 13th January, 2012, the Italian cruise ship, Costa Concordia, (pictured) struck a rock and capsized off a little Tuscan island with the loss of 32 lives. All nasty things to happen, but statistically enough to brand Friday the 13th as any worse than any other date? Well, funnily enough, a study in the British Medical Journal in 1993 apparently concluded that you might expect a higher than average rate of road accidents on Friday, 13th.

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