Judas was the 13th guest to arrive at the last Supper. This painting is by Leonardo Da Vinci and is at the Convent of Santa Maria Dell Grazie, Milan Italy.
(RNN) - Today is the first of two Friday the 13ths to occur during 2013.
You may be one of the more than 21 million Americans who have a dreaded fear of this recurring day.
But even if you try to hide, will you truly be safe when a masked Jason Voorhees comes knocking at your door with his signature machete in hand? (Yet, there are only 12 Friday the 13th movies...)
Or are you one of the brave who laughs in the face of any impending doom that may occur?
Decide for yourself as you read these 13 facts about Friday the 13th:
1. The day of the week the 13th most often falls on is a Friday.
2. As many as 21 million Americans fear Friday the 13th, according to the North Carolina Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, NC. The fear of Friday the 13th is known as "paraskevidekatriaphobia." Experts like Dr. Donald Dossey say the phobia can be cured simply by learning to pronounce it.
3. Disdain for Friday the 13th is primarily linked to the Bible. Scholars say Jesus was crucified on a Friday. Judas, his betrayer, arrived as the 13th guest to the Last Supper meal. Friday and 13 are also linked to the two great sins in the Bible's Old Testament. Adam is said to have eaten the forbidden fruit on a Friday. His son Cain is believed to have murdered Abel on a Friday the 13th.
4. Thirteen's poor luck may have come about because it falls after the number 12, which numerologists view as a complete number, Dr. Thomas Fernsler told National Geographic. There are many famous 12s, including the 12 apostles, 12 tribes of Israel and 12 signs of the zodiac. The list goes on.
5. There are many age-old superstitions that surround Friday the 13th, according to Time. One says a family member will die as the result of cutting your hair.
6. Builders have a strong contempt for the number 13. Of the world's high rises, more than 80 percent lack a 13th floor, according to the National Geographic. The number is also frequently omitted from hospital and hotel rooms, streets and airline aisles and gates, according to the Huffington Post.
7. Italians apparently also dislike the number 13. It has been excluded from the Italian national lottery, the Huffington Post reports. Also, homes between the numbers 12 and 14 are addressed 12 1/2, according to the International Business Times.
8. The number 13 is often blamed for the misfortunes of Apollo 13 mission. The crew's liftoff occurred at 13:13 CST, according to NASA records. On April 13th, the mission was dealt a crippling blow when its No. 2 oxygen tank exploded. Jim Lovell, the crew's commander, saw the gas leaking out into space 13 minutes after the blast.
9. The 13th tarot card is appropriately named "Death." The card traditionally shows a skeleton riding a horse.
10. Famed rapper Tupac died on Friday, Sept. 13, 1996. To this day, sightings of the recording artist continue. Jason, the fictional villain of the Friday the 13th movie series, was also killed on Friday the 13th and walks among the undead.
11. Civil War veteran William Fowler formed New York's famed "Thirteen Club" in 1880 with the goal of improving the number's image, according to History.com. Five presidents - Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt - were among the club's membership, which exceed 400, according to Time.
12. Friday the 13th will occur at least once a year but never more than thrice. This year, there are two: September and December.
13. Appropriately, 13 was the sacred number of the Mayans inhabiting the Yucatan peninsula. "The days, years and ages were counted by periods of 13 numbers," John Lloyd Stevens noted in his famous Incidents of Travel in Yucatan.
Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved. Sources: History.com, Huffington Post, International Business Times, National Geographic, National Public Radio, NASA.
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