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

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

Bloody note on a typewriter that says "Friday the 13th..."
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Odd Friday the 13th occurrences

It’s a day when people avoid walking under ladders and crossing black cats. It’s also the namesake of a classic horror movie franchise. We’re, of course, talking about Friday the 13th. Many consider Friday the 13th unlucky, a superstition that can truly affect someone’s actions on that date. And sure, while some lucky things have happened on the date, some odd (and even creepy) events have taken place. Below, you’ll find real things that actually happened on Friday the 13th. Were these events tangled in fate, or simply eerie coincidences? You decide.

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Burning Templar in the 14th century
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On Friday, Oct. 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 …). An interesting piece of history trivia indeed.

Genesee Falls
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On Friday, Nov. 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 (which has a massive tunnel underneath it, by the way) and into the Niagara River and survived. He wasn’t as lucky this time.

Andean Plane Crash Wreckage
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On Friday, Oct. 13, 1972 …

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

Aircraft to Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport
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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.

Panoramic view of lightning against sky at night
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On Friday, Aug. 13, 2010 …

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

Buffalo, New York Friday the 13th Snow Storm
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On Friday, Oct. 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.

Markets Stabilise After Turbulence Last Week
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On Friday, Oct. 13, 1989 …

The stock market fell a whopping 6.91%. At the time, it was the second-worst day in market history. Definitely an unlucky day for those investing in stocks.

back of red white yellow ambulance
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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.

High Water Street Flooding
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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.

Cruise Ship Costa Concordia Runs Aground Off Giglio
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On Friday, Jan. 13, 2012 …

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

A comet, an asteroid, a meteorite falls to the ground against a starry sky. Attack of the meteorite. Meteor Rain. Kameta tail. End of the world. Astranomy.
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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.

Various American Dollar Bills
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On every Friday the 13th …

The world’s economy apparently loses about $900 million because people are afraid 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 is a longtime editor at Reader’s Digest, where he’s edited and reported on national interest, dramas and humor. He is the author of Now That’s Funny! featuring his most popular, funniest writings on all things America, some exclusive and all-new, some taken from the award-winning pages of Reader’s Digest. He also wrote, That Reminds Me of a Joke ..., a collection of gags and hilarious true stories taken from the news. In a past life, Andy graduated from Kenyon College and was an editor at National Lampoon Magazine.