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Friday the 13th is so famously unlucky that there’s even a phobia dedicated to it: friggatriskaidekaphobia.
Even if you personally don’t put stock in this fear, there are a lot of people who do. In 2010 CNBC reported that the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute estimated between $700 to $800 million dollars are lost every Friday the 13th in a normal year because people are afraid to shop, travel, and conduct business.
Still think it’s just a superstition? These events might be enough to convince even the most determined non-believer.
Buckingham Palace was bombed during WWII.
According to the New York Daily News, the German forces during WWII bombed Buckingham Palace on September 13, 1940. The bombs hit both the palace and its chapel.
Even scarier, the King and Queen were both at the residence at the time of the attack. Even though the event was traumatic, Queen Elizabeth merely stated she was “glad we have been bombed. Now I can look the East End in the face.”
March 13, 2020, could be considered the first official day of the pandemic in the US.
After a week of increasingly horrifying COVID-19 updates, President Trump declared a national emergency due to the pandemic.
Tupac Shakur died.
The murder of Tupac Shakur is one of the most famous unsolved cases in recent history. Some say he was taken out by his friend Suge Knight, others are convinced it was Christopher Wallace (aka the Notorious B.I.G.), while others still think the FBI conspired to kill Shakur in order to end the violent East Coast vs. West Coast feud.
The details we do know: Shakur was shot four times on September 7, 1996 in Las Vegas. He succumbed to his injuries six days later on Friday, September 13.
A British 13-year-old boy was struck by lightning on Friday the 13th, at 13:13.
While getting struck by lightning is definitely horrible, this incident actually ended up being a miracle. According to the Daily Mail, the unnamed teenager was struck by lightning while at an air show in England in 2010 and was treated only for burns on his shoulder. The hospital stated he was expected to make a full recovery.
Kitty Genovese, a Queens resident, was brutally attacked and murdered.
The murder of Kitty Genovese took place on March 13, 1964. According to the New York times, Genovese was assaulted and killed by Winston Moseley inside her apartment building. The crime is famous because, reportedly, 38 people heard the attack, and none of them called the police — making the “bystander effect” a household term.
It was later suggested that the reporting of the crime was inaccurate and greatly exaggerated. But no matter the specifics, an innocent woman died, which is truly tragic.
The Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Italy.
The Costa Concordia sank into the ocean on January 13, 2012. According to Vanity Fair, it became the largest passenger ship ever wrecked, with almost double the number of people on board than on the Titanic.
Thirty-two people died and the captain was convicted of manslaughter in 2015.
Kansas experienced record-breaking amounts of rain and flooding.
On July 13, 1951, the state of Kansas was hit with over 25 inches of rain. The cities of Manhattan, Lawrence, and Topeka were most affected, and over 2 million acres of land were damaged by the flood.
The storm also affected oil tanks, some of which caught on fire and exploded. There were passengers stuck on trains for four days. And, at its highest, the flooding exceeded previous records by 4 to 9 feet.
The people of Kansas were not wrong to call this day “Black Friday.”
The stock market experienced a “mini-crash” in 1989.
After the buyout of United Airlines fell through on October 13, 1989, the ripples were felt throughout the stock market, specifically the junk bond market.
According to CNBC, this resulted in a 7% sell-off in the Dow, and the S&P 500 lost 6%. Essentially, a lot of people lost a lot of money.
A flight through the Andes ended in disaster and death.
Uruguayan Flight 571 was headed towards Chile when it crash-landed in the Andes on October 13, 1972. In the following days, the survivors were reduced to hiding in the fuselage of the plane and eating deceased passengers, according to People.
The rescue efforts were called off only 10 days after the crash, so it was shocking when two men appeared 72 days later and alerted the authorities that there were 16 other survivors trapped in the mountains.
On that same day, another flight crashed in Russia.
At the time, the tragedy of Aeroflot 217 was the worst plane crash in Russian history. All 174 people on board the flight (including the 10 crew members) died when the plane crashed while trying to land due to bad weather.
It’s never been confirmed what the cause of the crash was — some speculate it was a lightning strike. The plane ended up just 3 miles away from the runway.
The Ku Klux Klan’s first Grand Wizard was born.
Nathan Bedford Forrest was born on July 13, 1821. Forrest first rose to fame as a Confederate general and was in charge of the infamous Fort Pillow Massacre, where he and his men allegedly killed over 200 unarmed Union soldiers that had surrendered (many of whom were Black).
Forrest is widely believed to have served as the KKK’s first Grand Wizard, though he would later decree that the organization should be demolished.
Computers fell victim to the “Friday the 13th Virus.”
On January 13, 1989, a computer virus swept through the UK. According to the LA Times, hundreds of computers were affected by the virus, which deleted personal files specifically on the unlucky date.
The virus also slowed computers down, but fortunately didn’t cross the Atlantic Ocean.
The Bhola cyclone hit Bangladesh.
The storm officially ended on November 13, 1970, but the effects are still being felt to this day. The Bhola cyclone is still the deadliest storm in the Bay of Bengal — the death toll is estimated to be from 150,000 to 550,000, according to NBC News. A specific district in Bangladesh lost over 45% of its population, Hurricane Science reports.
In addition to being deadly and extremely costly, the cyclone is credited with jump-starting a civil war. At the time of the storm, the area was called East Pakistan. The Pakistani mismanagement of the relief efforts are considered to be a huge event in the fight for Bangladeshi independence.
Swedish flight DC-3 vanished and was never heard from again.
According to National Geographic, a Swedish flight disappeared while flying over the Baltic Sea on June 13, 1952. And for 40 years, the Swedish government stuck by the story that the plane was merely performing training exercises.
However, National Geographic reported that in the ’90s it was leaked that the crewmembers were actually spying on the Soviet Union for NATO, even though Sweden was officially neutral during the Cold War. And Russia responded with its own confession: A Russian pilot told a Swedish diplomat that he had shot the plane down.
The city of Buffalo was hit with a freak blizzard.
It’s been called the “October Surprise.” From October 12 to October 13, 2006, western New York was hit with two feet of snow. Over 300,000 people were left without power, thousands of trees were damaged, and the governor of New York declared a state of emergency for the Buffalo region.
The Black Friday bushfires consumed Victoria, Australia.
The fires in Victoria from 1939 to 1940 were the culmination of a long, dry summer. But on January 13, 1939 the Black Friday bushfires consumed the area: 71 people died directly from the fire, another 438 from the resulting heatwave, and 575,000 hectares of land were burned to a crisp.
The ash that resulted from the two days of flames was intense. There were reports of it reaching as far as New Zealand.
Sam Patch plunged to his death in the Genesee River in 1829.
Sam Patch was America’s first professional daredevil. Throughout his life, he jumped from many great heights, including Niagara Falls twice.
So, when he decided to jump from the High Falls into the Genesee River, no one thought to be concerned. But it became apparent quickly that something was wrong. While some speculated that he was drunk, it’s never been known for sure what exactly happened to Patch when he jumped into the river. But on November 13, Patch jumped, and his body was found four months later.
In 2029, an asteroid will come extremely close to Earth.
According to NASA, an asteroid, 99942 Apophis., will come within 20,000 miles of the Earth on April 13, 2029. This might not seem like a big deal, but it’s actually extremely close in relation to space.
Although it’s not expected to actually hit our planet, the closeness of the asteroid could cause damage on its surface — the gravity of Earth might cause avalanches on Apophis.