17 Facts About Friday the 13th and the Number 13

November 6, 2009 by  
Filed under Weird News

If you fear Friday the 13th, then it hasn’t been a good year, has it? Next week’s unlucky day is the THIRD one this year.  This triple whammy comes around only once in every 11 years.

Here are some more facts about the infamous day, courtesy of
Thomas Fernsler, a math specialist at the University of Delaware who has studied the number 13 for more than 20 years and Donald Dossey, a folklore historian and author :

  1. The British Navy built a ship named Friday the 13th. On its maiden voyage, the vessel left dock on a Friday the 13th, and was never heard from again.

  2. The ill-fated Apollo 13 launched at 13:13 CST on Apr. 11, 1970. The sum of the date’s digits (4-11-70) is 13 (as in 4+1+1+7+0 = 13). And the explosion that crippled the spacecraft occurred on April 13 (not a Friday). The crew did make it back to Earth safely, however.

  3. More than 80 percent of high-rises lack a 13th floor. Many airports skip the 13th gate. Hospitals and hotels regularly have no room number 13.
  4. Fear of Friday the 13th — one of the most popular myths in science — is called paraskavedekatriaphobia as well as friggatriskaidekaphobia. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13.
  5. One of the earliest recorded incidents relating to Friday the 13th refers to the massacre of the Knights Templar on Friday, October 13, 1307.
  6. Butch Cassidy, notorious American train and bank robber, was born on Friday, April 13, 1866. Fidel Castro was born on Friday, Aug. 13, 1926.
  7. President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 guests at a meal. Napoleon and Herbert Hoover were also triskaidekaphobic, with an abnormal fear of the number 13.
  8. Parisian diners superstitious of the number 13 can hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest.
  9. According to Smithsonian Magazine “fear of the #13 costs American a billion dollars per year in absenteeism, train and plane cancellations,  and reduced commerce on the 13th of the month.”
  10. Ancient Romans regarded the number 13 as a symbol of death, destruction and misfortune.
  11. A witches coven has 13 members.
  12. Tarot Card number 13 is the Death Card, depicting the Grim Reaper.
  13. 13 people, Christ and his 12 disciples, were in attendance at the last supper.  Judas was reportedly the 13th to arrive. This is where the Christian belief ties in, making Friday a believed unlucky day, as the crucifixion occurred on a Friday.
  14. A baker’s dozen consists of 13 for a reason. The origin of the term is disputed. One theory has its roots in the 13th century where the baker’s dozen is related to the severe punishments which existed in England for bakers who shorted their customers; out of fear of accidentally violating the law, bakers threw an extra loaf in to make sure that the lot of bread would be of the proper weight.
  15. Mark Twain once was the 13th guest at a dinner party. A friend warned him not to go. “It was bad luck,” Twain later told the friend. “They only had food for 12.”
  16. The number 13 suffers from its position after 12, according to numerologists who consider the latter to be a complete number — 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 days of Christmas and 12 eggs in a dozen.
  17. The seals on the back of a dollar bill include 13 steps on the pyramid, 13 stars above the eagle’s head, 13 war arrows in the eagle’s claw and 13 leaves on the olive branch. So far there’s been no evidence tying these long-ago design decisions to the present economic situation.

Moon over Amtrack Event

July 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Weird News

A bizarre tradition in Laguna Niguel marked it’s 30th anniversary this month. “Moon over Amtrack,” which started as a bar bet way back in 1979, has had thousands of people show up for the event in past years, but a recent crackdown (no pun intended) subdued, but didn’t eliminate, this year’s “showing.” About 400 folks turned out.

moon3

moon1Here are some interesting FAQ’s from the event’s website:

Must I “moon”, or can I just watch? No, You can watch.

I’m obese, is it O.K. if I moon? Yes yes, please “moon” with us. We need people like you for the extra high intensity mooning you can provide.

Can I decorate my butt? Yes, that’s O.K.

Is Amtrak associated with this? NO, neither Amtrak nor Metrolink have anything to do with this “show” except operate the trains.

Can I photograph or video the people and this event? Yes. Permission is required only of the people in your photography.

For more info, visit: http://www.moonamtrak.org

Aging Superheros Exhibit

July 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Weird News

So, you’ve probably been wondering what an aging superhero looks like? Well, wonder no more. Superman has to use a walker, Wonder Woman needs liposuction and Catwoman is constantly catnapping. Kind of sobering that while super, they are not immortal.

elderly-superheros

The elderly superhero exhibit is the work of La Maison Rouge.

Rodent Fashion Accessories

July 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Weird News

Tired of the mass produced fashion accessories on QVC or Home Shopping Network? Then look no further. Reid Peppard in the UK is offering one of a kind rodent wear to complete your unique look. From guinea pig hair combs and white rat purses for the ladies to mouse bow-ties and cufflinks for the men, she is part taxidermist/ part fashion designer/ part macabre visionary. Order now before the Halloween rush. Bonus to all you web merchant wannabes out there… she is seeking distributors!

guinea pig SMALL IMMouse-Rat Cufflinksrat pouch SMALL IM

Largest Gathering of People Wearing Underpants

July 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Weird News

red-hearts-boxersOn Sunday, June 7th, 146 men braved an unseasonably cold day and broke the Guinness Book record for largest gathering of people wearing underpants. The previous record of 116 was broken in Twickenham Stoop, just outside of London and home of the Harlequins rugby team. The event was organized by Cosmopolitan magazine (who have never shied away from asking men to strip for good causes) and the funds raised went to Everyman, the male cancer charity who work tirelessly to build awareness of testicular and prostate cancer. Rather appropriate, eh?

This record should not be confused with Aussie Shane Crawford’s record of most underpants worn at the same time (which is 180 if you are wondering). Want to see what someone looks like wearing 180 pair of underpants? Wait no more:

Spokane’s Exploding Squirrels

July 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Weird News

caddyshack-murrayThe Finch Arboretum is being overrun by ground squirrels, and Spokane Parks and Recreation is bringing in some heavy artillery.

The agency is using a special machine called the Rodenator Pro (and no, we’re not making this up) to detonate many of the estimated 100 to 150 squirrels tearing up the grounds ala Carl Spackler (Bill Murray), the gopher-hating groundskeeper from “Caddyshack.”

The Rodenator Pro pumps propane and oxygen into the tunnels of squirrels, then sends an electric spark that causes an explosion. The shock waves kill the squirrels and collapse their tunnels – but in a humane way, the agency said.

Spokanimal, which is a local animal shelter and Humane Society chapter, was caught by surprise by Monday’s announcement. “You’re kidding,” Director Gail Mackie said when she learned the news. “That borders on cruelty.”

Mackie said she would investigate the practice.

The parks department is warning area residents that it plans to blast squirrels all week, and to not be alarmed by noises that sound like gun shots. Parks officials said police have already been called to the arboretum by people who heard the explosions.

Timing is crucial. Parks officials said they want to detonate their prey before the animals start reproducing.

Parks officials said ground squirrels have been a minor problem for years, but their population is, well, exploding.

The squirrels dig tunnels and holes that people can trip on or fall into, the agency said. They eat new tree roots, can spread disease and are spreading to neighboring yards.

Gas bombs were tried in the past, but were not effective, the agency said.

Enter the Rodenator, a product whose workings have been captured on numerous YouTube videos. The company is based in Midvale, Idaho, and promises on its Web site that its product is effective against the “saber-toothed gopher.”

Here’s a look at the Rodenator in action:

via: KOMO News

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