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13 Odd and Creepy Real Things That Happened on Friday the 13th

Is Friday the 13th more superstitious and scary than other days of the year? These bizarre events all took place on Friday the 13th throughout history.

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On Friday, October 13, 1307 …

The French rounded up thousands of Knights Templars and tortured them as heretics. Some wonder whether this was the beginning of the whole Friday the 13th mythology (if it is a myth …). On a happier note, here are some lucky things that have happened on Friday the 13th.

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On Friday, November 13, 1829 …

Ten thousand people gathered to watch Sam Patch jump into New York’s Genesee River from atop the Genesee Falls. Only weeks earlier, he’d leaped off Niagara Falls and into the Niagara River and survived. He wasn’t as lucky this time. Find out the history behind these common superstitions.

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iStock/Galyna Andrushko

On Friday, October 13, 1972 …

A plane crashed in the Andes. Twelve people died instantly, and survivors resorted to cannibalism. You probably didn’t know these 13 things are considered bad luck.

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That same day in Russia …

One hundred and seventy-four people were killed when a Russian airliner crashed on landing near Moscow. Friday the 13th is just the start—here are more unlucky days around the world.

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iStock/Evgeny Sergeev

On Friday, August 13, 2010 …

A 13-year-old boy in Suffolk, England, was struck by lightning. The lightning reportedly hit at 1:13, or 13:13 in military time. The boy survived unharmed. Check out some bizarre origins of other everyday superstitions.

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On Friday, October 13, 2006 …

Nearly half a million people lost power when Buffalo, New York, and the surrounding suburbs were buried under 22 to 24 inches of snow. Western New York is used to a lot of snow, but 24 inches? In October?! Researchers still can’t explain these ancient mysteries.

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On Friday, October 13, 1989 …

The stock market fell a whopping 6.91 percent. At the time, it was the second-worst day in market history. But believe it or not, these are the eight days that are even more unlucky than Friday the 13th.

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iStock/Guillermo Perales Gonzale

On Friday, July 13, 1979 …

Bob Renphrey decided to stay in bed every subsequent Friday the 13th because of a spate of bad luck he’d suffered on that unlucky day, such as: walking through a plate glass door, getting fired, and putting his wife in the hospital after hitting her in the head with a stick meant for the dog. Another Friday the 13th saw his wife fall down a flight of stairs.

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On Friday, July 13, 1951 …

After days of record-setting rain fell in northeastern Kansas, swollen rivers poured over their banks, consuming the cities of Topeka, Lawrence, and Manhattan in the process. Scientists still can’t explain these ocean mysteries.

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On Friday, July 13, 1821 …

One of the scariest fellows ever was born: Nathan Bedford Forrest, a founder of the Ku Klux Klan.

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On Friday, January 13, 2012 …

The cruise ship Costa Concordia partially sank off the Italian coast after running aground, killing 32. Don’t miss these 16 of the strangest unsolved mysteries of all time.

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iStock/Igor Zhuravlov

On Friday, April 13, 2029 …

Asteroid 99942 Apophis is forecast to pass Earth a scant 18,000 miles away, closer than any of the satellites we’ve put into orbit.

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On every Friday the 13th …

The world’s economy apparently loses about $900 million because people are scared to work and travel on this date, says Donald Dassey, founder of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute. Next, read about these crazy conspiracy theories that turned out to be true.

Andy Simmons
Andy Simmons is a features editor at Reader's Digest.