With a quick apology to Kane County triskaidekaphobes: Happy Friday the 13th!
Tomorrow (Friday, Nov. 13, 2020) marks the second Friday the 13th in 2020. According to earthsky.org, they came in March and November because 2020 is a leap year of 366 days that starts on a Wednesday.
As if 2020 wasn’t tough enough, right?
According to an excellent National Geographic article, there are a number of reasons Friday the 13th scares us.
One is that people — even those who claim not to be superstitious — are more likely to notice bad things that happen on that day, reinforcing the notion that Friday the 13th is jinxed.
Psychologists and numerologists note that 13 is a prime number, and the first prime number after 12 — a number associated with order and comfort. Twelve eggs in a dozen, 12 months in the year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles of Jesus … You get the idea.
Thomas Fernsler, an associate policy scientist in the Mathematics and Science Education Resource Center at the University of Delaware in Newark, says 12 is considered a complete number and 13 is just “a little beyond completeness.”
“The number becomes restless or squirmy,” he noted, ironically, in 2013.
Locally, we have a few reasons to be concerned about the number 13.
As noted in the Kane County History PDF, on the night of March 13, 1890, Kane County lost one of its most historic buildings — the Kane County Courthouse — when it burned to the ground. It should be noted, however, that was a Thursday, according to a quick Google search. The good news is that a few years later, the historic courthouse still standing on Third Street was built at a cost of $195,000.
The 13th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, was made up of many soldiers from Kane County, although it’s difficult to discern how many died in battle.
In Aurora, Jennings Terrace (retirement community) burned down Friday, March 13,1959. Four people died. But on the other hand, ground was broken for present building March 13, 1960. That building was formerly Jennings Seminary, an institution of higher learning founded 1858. (Thanks to the Aurora Historical Society for that Friday the 13th reference!)
This year’s first Friday the 13th — March 13, 2020 — was the day the White House issued its Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak.
- Know of any other significant 13s or Friday the 13th events in Kane County history? Email Rick Nagel at email@example.com.
13 Reasons People Worry About Friday The 13th
SOURCE: University of Delaware magazine
1. The number suffers from its position after 12, which numerologists consider a complete number, encompassing the number of months in a year, signs of the zodiac, gods of Olympus, labors of Hercules, tribes of Israel, apostles of Jesus, days of Christmas and eggs in a dozen.
2. The first person to die in a car accident was killed in New York City on Sept. 13, 1899.
3. The British Navy is notoriously afraid of Friday the 13th. Nonetheless, it built a ship named Friday the 13th. On its maiden voyage, the vessel left dock on a Friday the 13th and was never heard from again.
4. The ill-fated Apollo 13 launched at 13:13 CST on 4/11/70. The sum of the date’s digits is 13. The explosion that crippled the spacecraft occurred on April 13.
5. Many hospitals have no room 13. Some tall buildings have no 13th floor. The numbers on the rooms and elevators jump from 12 to 14.
6. Quarterback Dan Marino wore No. 13 throughout his career with the Miami Dolphins. Marino is said to be the best quarterback who never won a Super Bowl.
7. Butch Cassidy was born on Friday, April 13, 1866.
8. President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 guests at a meal.
9. Superstitious diners in Paris can hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest.
10. Woodrow Wilson considered 13 his lucky number, but he may have been wrong. The first sitting president to leave the country, Wilson arrived in Normandy, France, on Friday, Dec. 13, 1918. He returned from Europe with a treaty he couldn’t get Congress to sign. He toured the U.S. to rally support for the treaty and, while traveling, suffered a near-fatal stroke.
11. The seals on the back of a dollar bill include 13 steps on the pyramid, 13 stars above the eagle’s head, 13 war arrows in the eagle’s claw and 13 leaves on the olive branch.
12. Fidel Castro was born on Friday, Aug. 13, 1926.
13. Mark Twain once was the 13th guest at a dinner party. A friend warned him not to go. “It was bad luck,” Twain later told the friend. “They only had food for 12.”
- National Geographic: Friday the 13th Is Back. Here’s Why It Scares Us.
- MovieWeb: Canceled Friday the 13th Remake Would’ve Seen the Death of Jason
- University of Delaware Messenger