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The Superstitions behind Friday the 13th

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by Gabi Carter, Genna Waldron, and Emily Stumpf

Friday the 13th is one of the biggest superstitions that America has, while interviewing many people some were not sure where the superstition originated.

Although 13 has been considered unlucky for many years, many do not know why. There are a lot of reasons. One being when  the Code of Hammurabi was made it did not include, and still doesn’t include the number 13. Also the number twelve is a number of completion; hence 12 months, a clock goes up to the number 12, and most things come in dozens. It is said that if you have a party that contains 13 guests, it is likely that one of the guests will die that year. Lastly, many hotels do not have a 13th floor nor do many airports have a gate thirteen because of the superstition.

Friday is believed to be an unlucky day of the week because it was the execution day of many criminals for a number of years. Many people also believe that the bad luck associated with Friday because of many unfortunate biblical events in history happened on a Friday.  

Calendar picture  First Friday the 13 of 2017  Pic credit: Gabi Carter

Calendar picture
First Friday the 13 of 2017
Pic credit: Gabi Carter

Some MHS students and teachers believes in superstition

Black Cats

Sophomore Jon Hunt 

“…if a black cat walks across your path, you’ll have bad luck.”

Like Hunt, many people believe that black cats are a symbol of bad luck, but they don’t know where this superstition comes from. As it turns out, old homeless ladies started the superstition in Europe during the middle ages. These ladies were thought to be witches, and their alley cats, some of them black, were accused of witchery through association.

Locker with the number 13

Sophomore Austin Morris

“…every locker that has a thirteen on it is going to blow up.”

This superstition is not well-known. However, six adults and five children were killed in a fire in Philadelphia on May 13, 1985, so Morris may be onto something.

Stepping on a crack

Sophomore Cambree Ivie

“…stepping on a crack will break your mother’s back.”

Though many believe along with Ivie that this is an old nursery rhyme, the saying originated in the mid-20’s. The saying has been twisted since that time but it was used for segregation during the time where African Americans had no rights.

Horseshoe above the door

Senior Kelsie Stowers 

“… the horseshoe above the door, like a good luck sign.”

A popular superstition that originated for a blacksmith and a man who believed he was the devil. It is said that the man who believed he was the devil came to the blacksmith asking for him to put horseshoes upon his feet, causing the, “devil,” much pain the blacksmith chained the devil up and made the devil promise that he would never enter a place with a horseshoe above the door, which brings the good luck.


Junior Hunter Lewis

“Ghosts, I believe in ghosts.”

Lewis is not the only one, 42% of an Americans believe in ghosts. Though ghosts are not much of a superstition and rather a belief, the concept of the ghost came from the ancient idea that a person’s spirit still exists separately from his or hers body, and may continue to exist after the person dies.

White Lighters

Junior Alexis Navarrete

“….. I don’t know if (you) guys have ever heard this one, but white lighters are bad luck.”

This superstition is not well known, but originated when Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrex, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain all died at the age 27. Each one of their autopsies reported that a white lighter was in all of their pockets, causing the superstition.  

Salty Superstitions

Senior Cole Hymas 

“ ….. Throwing salt over your shoulder, it’s just bad luck.”

Hymas has a different superstition than others, just spilling salt brings bad luck, but throwing it over your shoulder reverses that bad luck.


Sophomore Josh Baylie 

“ …. If you see a magpie on the left side of the road, you have to salute three times, say Bob’s your uncle three times and cross your heart.”

In Yorkshire magpies are associated with witchcraft and you should make a sign of the cross to ward off evil, hence Baylie’s words in which you have to cross your heart.  

Cross Country Boxes

Sophomore Spencer Stutz 

“ So, in cross country if you go into another person’s box before the race, you’ll do bad in that race.”

Superstitions and rituals are important to many members of the cross country team as with any other sports. There may be some who believe in them and some that don’t, but for good luck, the cross country runners just stay in their own box.


Sophomore Ashley Fisher 

“ Oh demons… I had demons in my room and I probably cried, like one night me and (Sophomore) Issy Carter were sleeping on my bed and all the sudden the sheets came off, I started crying and it was a demon and I’ve seen them in my room when I wake up.”

Like Ashley, some people may believe in demons, and others don’t. Demons came around in the movies and now some believe.

Shattering Mirrors

Senior Caleb Barzee 

“I believe it’s bad luck if you shatter a mirror.”

The superstition about mirrors were thought to hold the key to the future, to break one was to shatter your own future.

Football Flags

Teacher Mr. Reeser

“ Well I don’t believe it anymore cause they lost the bowl game, but I always play, I always show my Boise state flag on my house on game days so that they will do better.”

For football some put a flag outside of their door for good luck.

Knocking on Wood

Teacher Ms. Ross 

“Umm if I say something that I don’t want to happen, I need to knock on wood.”

The very popular superstition knocking on wood first came about ruckus pagan European raised to chase away evil spirits from their homes and trees or to prevent them from hearing about and ruining a person’s good luck.

Friday the 13th

Friday and 13 have different reasons why they are unlucky, the reason behind Friday the 13th superstition began in 17th century. The day was first outlined as an unlucky day to take a trip or have a major change in your life (marriage, birth of a child, etc.). As time went on, a famous Italian man died on Friday the 13th and many people started to recognized a correlation between Friday and 13. Years went by and people no longer thought of the day as any other, but as the most unlucky day of the year.


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The Superstitions behind Friday the 13th