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For Find Out Friday Week 13- Friday the 13th

I always confuse Friday the 13th with the plot line from Nightmare on Elm Street. I usually blend together the stories and characters into one film that I don’t quite remember seeing when they first came out. I know Friday the 13th came out originally in 1980, which was an entire year before I was born. Growing up I saw bits and pieces when I wasn’t suppose to as my older cousins were watching. I never actually saw the entire series until 2012 when N.Y.C. was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy and I was home from work for an entire week, as my building was flooded. No movie was scarier than that life experience.

I am now remembering how one of my older, wiser, cousins’ thought it was funny when we were all playing in his basement to put on the Jason mask, shut the lights, and terrify me. Perhaps that is why my wires are crossed about these films.

Last night strangely enough, as I was thinking about writing this blog, I was in the car and passed by a street sign that made me immediately remember Jason’s last name!

I realize that they are spelt differently, however his full name is Jason Voorhees. The timing of things sometimes is so random.

Anyways now I have once again straightened the facts out. I know Wes Craven didn’t work on the Friday movie series and Freddy Krueger was either an alleged child rapist who may have been produced as a result of his mother’s rape. Jason drowned at the camp where he subsequently began killing people. Oh by the way- spoiler alert. Each of these movies and the many titles they produced have created a very lucrative horror film industry.

As I was thinking about the upcoming Halloween weekend it dawned on me that I never truly knew why the date, Friday the 13th was supposed to bring such bad luck. I know that most, if not all, hotels do not have a thirteenth floor. I learned that in the strangest way possible when I was fourteen. I was in Orlando, Florida on a family vacation and the only ride I cared about was The Tower of Terror. They did an awesome job on the details. You begin in a car going through the hotel as the story of its last known guests is being told. You find out what happened the last time someone went on the thirteenth floor and then before you know it you are being dragged up and down so fast the trees outside feel too close for comfort. I could have gone on that thing more than once but the same could not be said for my dad. His hands were shaking so bad when we got off he could barely light his cigarette. For my fellow Tower lovers be ware this ride is closing permanently on January 2, 2017.

I hate to be a Debbie Downer but technically speaking buildings always have a thirteenth floor if there is even one more floor past twelve. They just are not labeled as such. That my dear friends is just mere trickery. Although within the building I work we do not have one technically either.

I wanted to know where this urban legend began and if at one point there were enough people skeptical that led to this nationwide paranoia.

Dr. Simon Bronner of Penn State University believes:

 “Friday the 13th is just a convenient milestone for people who are looking to trace bad luck to a certain cause—but there’s nothing special about the date itself. After all, the number 13 is apparently considered lucky some countries, like Italy, he adds.” For Italy is it Friday the 17th (which can’t be right because I am half Italian and my birthday falls on the 17th) that is forewarned. For Greeks it is Tuesday the 13th.  However I do not know the stories behind those legends.

Dr. Phil Stevens, from the University at Buffalo told Time Magazine:

“While folklore historians say it’s tough to pinpoint exactly how the taboo came to be, many believe it originates from the Last Supper, and the 13 guests who sat at the table on the day before the Friday on which Jesus was crucified.”

Charlotte Alter also published a piece in Time about this topic. She writes:

“The first specific written reference to Friday the 13th as an unlucky day was in an early-20th century novel by Thomas W. Lawson, called Friday, the 13th. Ironically, a ship named after Lawson was caught in a storm and shipwrecked on the night of Friday the 13th, 1907.” That certainly was unlucky.

If you want to figure out how many Friday the 13ths are in a year you don’t have to take out a calendar and start counting. “Any month that starts with a Sunday will contain a Friday the 13th, and there can be as many as three of them a year.” In 2015 there was in fact a total of three. But 2016 only had one this past May.

There are several well know celebrities born on the thirteenth that may think the date is pretty lucky, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen for example. Ironically enough it was also Alfred Hitchcock’s birthday and name of his first film.

To play devil’s advocate here one very good thing that happened on a Friday the 13th was when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law regulations that made gender discrimination illegal. The day was October 13, 1967.

But I suppose it was those behind the movie Friday the 13th that have had the best luck with this so called day of terror. In today’s currency they made approximately $738 million dollars. Not too shabby. It interests me to think they may have religion to thank for promoting the horror that people apparently couldn’t stay away from. Another spooky film where religion and horror meet is The Exorcist. Consider a double header and as Dateline says “don’t watch alone”.

In closing I hope as always that this week’s Find Out Friday was informative and particular festive for the season.

I will be off next weekend so you will have to wait two weeks for the next Find Out Friday post. Hopefully that will give you all a chance to start submitting some ideas for the future.

Have a happy and safe Halloween and be grateful today is Friday the 21st.

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