Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday 13th Superstition and The Knights Templar of the Order of Solomon's Temple of Zion

The Knights Templar escort Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem in an illustration from around 1800. Centuries after the Templars’ dissolution, Friday the 13th was erroneously attributed to their arrest. 
Knights Templar
Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon
Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Salomonici Hierosolymitanis
Seal of Templars.jpg
Activec. 1119–1312
AllegianceThe Pope
TypeCatholic military order
RoleProtection of Christian Pilgrims
Size15,000–20,000 members at peak, 10% of whom were knights[2][3]
HeadquartersKingdom of Jerusalem Temple MountJerusalem,
Kingdom of Jerusalem
Nickname(s)The Order of Solomon's Temple
PatronSt. Bernard of Clairvaux
Motto(s)Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam (Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy Name give glory)
AttireWhite mantle with a red cross
MascotTwo knights riding a single horse
The Crusades, including:
First Grand MasterHugues de Payens
Last Grand MasterJacques de Mo
The origins of superstitions can be hard to pin down. There are often several theories about how they started, and a bunch of people ready to debunk those theories. Friday the 13th is one such example.

If you read Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, you might remember learning that members of the Knights Templar—a medieval society—were arrested on Friday the 13th. Brown’s book helped popularize the belief that these arrests are the reason people fear the date. But although some of the Knights Templar were arrested on Friday, October 13, 1307, that isn’t the origin of the superstition.

Right now, the hottest take on Friday the 13th is that it wasn’t associated with bad luck until 1907, when a novel titled Friday, the Thirteenth was published. In his book on the number 13, author Nathaniel Lachenmeyer argues that before the 20th century, “13” had been an unlucky number, and “Friday” had been an unlucky day, but “Friday the 13th” wasn’t necessarily a concept.

Whether or not the superstitions began with that novel, it’s clear that a lot of  rationalizations for it—such as the Templar tale—are recent inventions. So, too are many of the other myths about these misunderstood knights.

Onward Christian Soldiers
“As far as the Templars went,” says Helen Nicholson, a medieval history professor at Cardiff University in Wales, the “evidence we’ve got shows them to be extremely boring Roman Catholics.”

The Knights Templar were a religious order of unmarried men, formed around A.D. 1119 to defend the Kingdom of Jerusalem and protect Christian pilgrims during the Crusades. Over the next two centuries, Christians donated their land and their money to the order (as was common with religious societies), making the knights powerful financiers.

The Templars continued passing around money and land until 1307, when the French King Philip IV, who was running low on funds, decided to go after theirs.

“The standard accusation against your political enemies in the early 14th century was to accuse them of being involved in heresy or magic,” Nicholson says.

A member of the Knights Templar displays his iconic uniform with a red cross on white background in this 1309 illustration. 

Quite unimaginatively, Philip IV chose heresy. And on Friday the 13th, he had some of the Templars arrested for it.

It’s important to note that the King of France, not Pope Clement V, accused the Knights Templar of heresy. Even so, the Pope disbanded the order since the whole heresy mess had defiled its name.

That’s where the conspiracy theories come in.

Everybody Wants Some
The quick, anticlimatic end to the Knights Templar “doesn’t fit into the sort of narrative humans like,” Nicholson says. Some people think that “it’s got to have a proper ending. So there must have either been a conspiracy … or the templars must have been evil.”

Overwhelmingly, pseudo-historians like to think there was a conspiracy theory—the Templars were doing something the church didn’t like, and that’s why the Pope disbanded them.

One common myth is that “the Templars were created by this organization called the Priory of Sion to excavate in Jerusalem and find information about the bloodline of Christ,” says John Walker, a history professor who is writing a book about Knights Templar myths. (One wonders how they would have performed the DNA tests.)

Other theories claim the Templars discovered treasure, or the Holy Grail, or some heretical secret (i.e. that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, or never rose from the grave). There are also theories about what happened to the Templars after they disbanded. One of the most popular legends says the Templars became the Freemasons—a rumor that was actually started by some of the Freemasons.

“I suppose people like to have a more glorious past for their organizations,” Walker says.

The false connection between the Knights Templar and the Freemasons was promoted by some early masonic groups around the 18th century, and theories about the Holy Grail and the Knights Templar have been around for a long time, too. But a lot of the conspiracies about heretical cover-ups are fairly modern. In fact, Walker isn’t sure where they came from before they were popularized in the 1980s pseudo-history book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail.

“It was really after that was published that you get this widespread interest in myths about the Templars, particularly when the Internet started in the '90s,” says Walker. After that, The Da Vinci Code took up the Templar myths promoted in Holy Blood, Holy Grail—so much so that its authors sued Dan Brown for plagiarism. (They lost.)

“When you tell lies about history, you give people a false idea of how humans really behave, and how we got where we are now,” Nicholson says.

So yes, the Knights Templar are more interesting as protectors of an ancient secret, rather than single men who gave out loans. But if you tell the more sensational tale, you cover up the real story: that sometimes leaders are greedy, and they make false accusations. And sometimes people make things up to give recent phenomena like Friday the 13th a more profound, historical origin.

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th in the calendar
Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day in Western superstition. It occurs when the 13th day of the month in the Gregorian calendar falls on a Friday.

The fear of the number 13 has been given a scientific name: "triskaidekaphobia"; and on analogy to this the fear of Friday the 13th is calledparaskevidekatriaphobia, from the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning "Friday"), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning "thirteen").

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci
The superstition surrounding this day may have arisen in the Middle Ages, "originating from the story of Jesus' last supper and crucifixion" in which there were 13 individuals present in the Upper Room on the 13th of Nisan Maundy Thursday, the night before his death on Good Friday. While there is evidence of both Friday and the number 13 being considered unlucky, there is no record of the two items being referred to as especially unlucky in conjunction before the 19th century.
An early documented reference in English occurs in Henry Sutherland Edwards' 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini, who died on a Friday 13th:
He [Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring friends; and if it be true that, like so many Italians, he regarded Fridays as an unlucky day and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that on Friday 13th of November he passed away.

Rossini by Henri Grevedon
It is possible that the publication in 1907 of Thomas W. Lawson's popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth,contributed to disseminating the superstition. In the novel, an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th.
A suggested origin of the superstition—Friday, 13 October 1307, the date Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights Templar—may not have been put together until the 20th century. It is mentioned in the 1955 Maurice Druon historical novel The Iron King (Le Roi de fer), John J. Robinson's 1989 work Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of FreemasonryDan Brown's 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code and Steve Berry's The Templar Legacy (2006).

Tuesday the 13th in Hispanic and Greek culture

In Spanish-speaking countries, instead of Friday, Tuesday the 13th (martes trece) is considered a day of bad luck. The Greeks also consider Tuesday (and especially the 13th) an unlucky day. Tuesday is considered dominated by the influence of Ares, the god of war (Mars in Roman mythology). A connection can be seen in the Roman etymology of the name in some European languages (Mardi in French or martes in Spanish). The fall of Constantinople to the Fourth Crusade occurred on Tuesday, April 13, 1204, and the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans happened on Tuesday, 29 May 1453, events that strengthen the superstition about Tuesday. In addition, in Greek the name of the day is Triti (Τρίτη) meaning literally the third (day of the week), adding weight to the superstition, since bad luck is said to "come in threes".

Friday the 17th in Italy

In Italian popular culture, Friday the 17th (and not the 13th) is considered a day of bad luck.. The origin of this belief could be traced in the writing of number 17, in Roman numerals: XVII. By shuffling the digits of the number one can easily get the word VIXI ("I have lived", implying death in the present), an omen of bad luck. In fact, in Italy, 13 is generally considered a lucky number. However, due to Americanization, young people consider Friday the 13th unlucky as well.
The 2000 parody film Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth was released in Italy with the title Shriek – Hai impegni per venerdì 17? ("Shriek – Do You Have Something to Do on Friday the 17th?").

Social impact

According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day, making it the most feared day and date in history. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed. "It's been estimated that [US]$800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day". Despite this, representatives for both Delta Air Lines and now-defunct Continental Airlines have stated that their airlines do not suffer from any noticeable drop in travel on those Fridays.
In Finland, a consortium of governmental and nongovernmental organizations led by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health promotes the National Accident Day, which always falls on a Friday the 13th.

Rate of accidents

A study in the British Medical Journal, published in 1993, concluded that there "is a significant level of traffic-related incidences on Friday the 13th as opposed to a random day, such as Friday the 6th, in the UK."[19] However, the Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics (CVS) on 12 June 2008 stated that "fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays, because people are preventatively more careful or just stay home. Statistically speaking, driving is slightly safer on Friday the 13th, at least in the Netherlands; in the last two years, Dutch insurers received reports of an average 7,800 traffic accidents each Friday; but the average figure when the 13th fell on a Friday was just 7,500."[20][21]


The following months have a Friday the 13th:
January1905, 1911, 1922, 1928, 1933, 1939, 1950, 1956, 1961, 1967, 1978, 1984, 1989, 1995, 2006, 2012, 2017, 2023, 2034, 2040, 2045, 2051, 2062, 2068, 2073, 2079, 2090, 2096A, AG
February1903, 1914, 1920, 1925, 1931, 1942, 1948, 1953, 1959, 1970, 1976, 1981, 1987, 1998, 2004, 2009, 2015, 2026, 2032, 2037, 2043, 2054, 2060, 2065, 2071, 2082, 2088, 2093, 2099D, DC
March1903, 1908, 1914, 1925, 1931, 1936, 1942, 1953, 1959, 1964, 1970, 1981, 1987, 1992, 1998, 2009, 2015, 2020, 2026, 2037, 2043, 2048, 2054, 2065, 2071, 2076, 2082, 2093, 2099D, ED
April1900, 1906, 1917, 1923, 1928, 1934, 1945, 1951, 1956, 1962, 1973, 1979, 1984, 1990, 2001, 2007, 2012, 2018, 2029, 2035, 2040, 2046, 2057, 2063, 2068, 2074, 2085, 2091, 2096G, AG
May1904, 1910, 1921, 1927, 1932, 1938, 1949, 1955, 1960, 1966, 1977, 1983, 1988, 1994, 2005, 2011, 2016, 2022, 2033, 2039, 2044, 2050, 2061, 2067, 2072, 2078, 2089, 2095B, CB
June1902, 1913, 1919, 1924, 1930, 1941, 1947, 1952, 1958, 1969, 1975, 1980, 1986, 1997, 2003, 2008, 2014, 2025, 2031, 2036, 2042, 2053, 2059, 2064, 2070, 2081, 2087, 2092, 2098E, FE
July1900, 1906, 1917, 1923, 1928, 1934, 1945, 1951, 1956, 1962, 1973, 1979, 1984, 1990, 2001, 2007, 2012, 2018, 2029, 2035, 2040, 2046, 2057, 2063, 2068, 2074, 2085, 2091, 2096G, AG
August1909, 1915, 1920, 1926, 1937, 1943, 1948, 1954, 1965, 1971, 1976, 1982, 1993, 1999, 2004, 2010, 2021, 2027, 2032, 2038, 2049, 2055, 2060, 2066, 2077, 2083, 2088, 2094C, DC
September1901, 1907, 1912, 1918, 1929, 1935, 1940, 1946, 1957, 1963, 1968, 1974, 1985, 1991, 1996, 2002, 2013, 2019, 2024, 2030, 2041, 2047, 2052, 2058, 2069, 2075, 2080, 2086, 2097F, GF
October1905, 1911, 1916, 1922, 1933, 1939, 1944, 1950, 1961, 1967, 1972, 1978, 1989, 1995, 2000, 2006, 2017, 2023, 2028, 2034, 2045, 2051, 2056, 2062, 2073, 2079, 2084, 2090A, BA
November1903, 1908, 1914, 1925, 1931, 1936, 1942, 1953, 1959, 1964, 1970, 1981, 1987, 1992, 1998, 2009, 2015, 2020, 2026, 2037, 2043, 2048, 2054, 2065, 2071, 2076, 2082, 2093, 2099D, ED
December1901, 1907, 1912, 1918, 1929, 1935, 1940, 1946, 1957, 1963, 1968, 1974, 1985, 1991, 1996, 2002, 2013, 2019, 2024, 2030, 2041, 2047, 2052, 2058, 2069, 2075, 2080, 2086, 2097F, GF
This sequence, given here for 1900–2099, follows a 28-year cycle from 1 March 1900 to 28 February 2100. The months with a Friday the 13th are determined by the Dominical letter (G, F, GF, etc.) of the year. Any month that starts on a Sunday contains a Friday the 13th, and there is at least one Friday the 13th in every calendar year. There can be as many as three Friday the 13ths in a single calendar year; either in February, March and November in a common year starting on Thursday (such as 2009, 2015 or 2026) (D), or January, April and July in a leap year starting on Sunday(such as 2012) (AG).
The longest period that can occur without a Friday the 13th is fourteen months, either from July to September the following year being a common year starting on Tuesday (e.g., between 2001–02, 2012–13, and 2018–19), or from August to October the following year being a leap year starting on Saturday (e.g., between 1999–2000 or 2027–28).
Each Gregorian 400-year cycle contains 146,097 days (365 × 400 = 146,000 normal days, plus 97 leap days). 146,097 days ÷ 7 days per week = 20,871 weeks. Thus, each cycle contains the same pattern of days of the week (and thus the same pattern of Fridays that are on the 13th). The 13th day of the month is slightly more likely to be a Friday than any other day of the week.[22][23] On average, there is a Friday the 13th once every 212.35 days (compared to Thursday the 13th, which occurs only once every 213.59 days).
The distribution of the 13th day over the 4,800 months is as follows:
Day of the weekSundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday
Number of occurrences687685685687684688684

Friday the 13th
 Jason forgot to check his shoes. Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext Collection/Sportsphoto

  1. While touring an exhibition of Faberge eggs at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art on Friday 13 December 1995, Joshua Dudley received a phone call telling him he had inherited a $3m estate from a deceased uncle. His celebratory dance resulted in $4m in damages.
  2. Walking home from work at a Starbucks in Connecticut on Friday 13 September 2011, Jennifer DeCarlo ducked into an alleyway to avoid the black cat that had darted across her path only to find herself face-to-face with the rabid dog the cat was fleeing.
  3. On Friday 13 May 1980, a dangerous psychopath stalking a group of teenagers through an abandoned summer camp dramatically burst in on two young lovers only to realize too late that he’d left the house that morning wearing mismatched shoes.
  4. In order to buy her husband a gold chain for his beloved pocket watch, Dana Hamilton of Rye, New York sold her luxurious hair to a local wigmaker. That evening, Friday 13 October 1972, she returned home to discover that her husband had sold his watch to buy a pearl necklace for his secretary, with whom he was having an affair.
  5. Tawny Wetzel, a researcher investigating the correlation between Friday the 13th and emergency room visits, was attacked and killed by hornets on Friday 13 January 1977.
  6. On Friday 13 March 2014, bank robber Brendan O’Malley was caught by police after his getaway car sprung four simultaneous flat tires.
  7. Pennsylvania resident Sean Adams found out he’d received his dream job at the Hershey factory in Pennsylvania on Friday 13 April 2013 within moments of falling down an abandoned well, where his body was found several weeks later.
  8. While vacationing in the Cayman Islands on Friday 13 April 1988, a woman named Holly Poulin stumbled across a buried chest filled with pirate pornography.
  9. Racing to knock on a nearby wooden post on Friday 13 November 1912 in order to counteract having mentioned that it had been years since he’d had the flu, superstitious Chicagoan Joel Kabot stepped on a crack and broke his mother’s back.
  10. In Texas, death row inmate Justin Bartlett was granted a reprieve on Wednesday 11 January 1992 just before he was due to be executed, but then he passed away two days later due to food poisoning incurred during his last meal.
  11. While preparing a lecture on fatalism and external locus of control for his students on Friday 13 February 1993, psychology professor Claiborn Phillips was struck by lightning a record 13 times in row.
  12. En route to a hotly anticipated first date on Friday 13 October 2011, Tanner Braaten of Camden, Delaware, slipped on an ice patch and split the seat of his pants. Determined not to be late, Braaten ran into a nearby shopping mall to buy a replacement pair without paying heed to numerous signs warning that the mall was due for demolition that afternoon. After miraculously escaping the mall moments before controlled demolition charges leveled it, Braaten made it to the date on time. The story of how he split his pants and his brush with death charmed his date, who found herself smitten with him, leading her to send him an annoying and frankly stifling number of text messages and invitations to hang out over the next two weeks.
  13. Due to an ill-timed sneeze on Friday 13 November 2015, a film editor in Los Angeles, California accidentally permanently deleted the middle third of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. 

No comments:

Post a Comment