The 13 Most Notorious Friday the 13ths in History

Whether you’re superstitious or not, these days were undeniably unlucky.

Friggatriskaidekaphobics, take note: Statisticians at the Dutch Centre for Insurance (CVS) have established that Friday the 13th is actually safer than an average Friday. They claim that rates of accidents, fires, and thefts all decrease when the 13thof a month falls on a Friday. This fact comes as little consolation, however, to folks caught up in one of the following disasters. So much for the comfort of statistics!


Crusaders were captured: Friday, October 13th, 1307


On Friday, October 13th, 1307, thousands of Crusaders were imprisoned. Members of the Knights Templar were accused of heresy, blasphemy, and homosexuality. Many later died from torture, carried out by the officers of the French King Philip IV. Freemasons consider this the first example of Friday the 13th being associated with bad luck and tragedy.


The fall of the Aztec Empire: Friday, August 13th, 1521


On Friday, August 13th, 1521, Conquistador Hernan Cortez captured Cuauthemoc, the ruler of Tenochtitlan, claiming the city for Spain in an event that historians agree marked the end of the Aztec Empire.


Evolution declared illegal in Tennessee: Friday, May 13th, 1925


On Friday, May 13th, 1925, the state of Tennessee declared it unlawful to teach the study of evolution. School kids were only allowed to be taught biblical stories of the creation of man.


The “Good Friday” Earthquake in Alaska: Friday, March 13th, 1964

4-good friday earthquake

On Friday, March 13th, 1964, the largest recorded seismic event to ever hit North America killed 131 people near Prince William Sound. Doesn’t sound like a very “Good Friday” to me!


Killer cyclone in Bangladesh: Friday, November 13th, 1970


A cyclone killed an estimated 500,000 people in Bangladesh on Friday, November 13th, 1970. To this date, it remains one of the most catastrophic natural events the world has ever seen.


Andes’ plane crash: Friday October 13th, 1972


On Friday, October 13th, 1972 Uruguayan Flight 571 crashed into the Andes Mountains with 45 people on board, including the Uruguayan Rugby team. Only 16 people survived the ordeal, which lasted over 2 months and included a fatal avalanche; survivors had resorted to cannibalism to stay alive. The saga was memorialized in a book called Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors (written by Piers Paul Read in 1974) and the American film Alive (directed by Frank Marshall in 1993).


“Jerusalem” computer virus cripples Great Britain: Friday, January 13th, 1989


On Friday, January 13th, 1989 the “Jerusalem” computer virus (which launches automatically every Friday the 13th), crippled computers across Britain. In the days before back-up systems were the norm, incredible amounts of data were lost forever.


Market crash: Friday, October 13th, 1989


On Friday, October 13th, 1989, the Dow Jones experienced the second largest drop that it had ever experienced (at the time). This event was nicknamed the Friday the 13th mini crash.


Major earthquake in Turkey: Friday, March 13th, 1992

9-turkey earthquake

On Friday, March 13th, 1992 a 6.7 magnitude earthquake originating on the North Anatolian Fault, struck Eastern Turkey. The quake killed almost 500 people and injured more than 2,000.


Death of a hip-hop pioneer: Friday, September 13th, 1996


On Sunday, September 7th, 1996, West Coast rap pioneer Tupac Shakur was shot several times in Las Vegas as he left a boxing match with Death Row Records founder Suge Knight. He died six days later on Friday the 13th.


Costa Concordia sinking: Friday, January 13th, 2012


On Friday, January 13th, 2012, the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia wrecked off the coast of Isola del Giglio. Despite listing dangerously on its starboard side, an evacuation order was not given until over an hour after impact. This delay and the unorganized evacuation process that followed lead to the death of 32 passengers.


The 13th chapter of the Friday the 13th movie franchise hits theaters: Friday, May 13th, 2016


Depending on your definition of “notorious”, this date may or may not belong on this list. On Friday, May 13th, 2016, the 13th chapter of the Friday the 13th movie franchise is set to hit theaters. Will horror fans be pleased, or will riots ensue? Time will tell.


Asteroid to buzz Earth: Friday, April 13th, 2029


It’s never too soon to start worrying about the future, right? On Friday, April 13th, 2029, Asteroid 99942 Apophis is forecast to pass Earth at a closer distance than any of our satellites. The ramifications of this event are currently unknown, but I’m not exactly looking forward to it.


Does Friday the 13th freak you out? Sound off in the comments section!

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