Whether you are superstitious or not and even if you feel yourself completely unaffected by Friday 13th (thirteenth), the real route of the superstitions and reasons for it being deemed unlucky have little to do with myths or heebee geebee! The real reason stems from the Middle Ages and is connected to a mass arrest of The Knights Templar on 13th October 1307.
The Knights Templar
The order of the Knights Templar is synonymous with the crusades of the Middle Ages. This section of the Middle Ages details the emergence of the Religious knights, their achievements, accomplishments and their decline the 13th October 1307 when Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master of the Knights Templar, and 60 of his senior knights were arrested in Paris. This day is remembered in history – it is the reason Friday 13th is deemed to be unlucky.
This piece of history is mentioned as a ‘historical fact’ in the Bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code!
This historic event was the decimation of the Knights Templar, the legendary order of “warrior monks” formed during the Christian Crusades to combat Islam. Renowned as a fighting force for 200 years, by the 1300s the order had grown so pervasive and powerful it was perceived as a political threat by kings and popes alike and brought down by a church-state conspiracy, as recounted by Katharine Kurtz in Tales of the Knights Templar (Warner Books, 1995):
On October 13, 1307, a day so infamous that Friday the 13th would become a synonym for ill fortune, officers of King Philip IV of France carried out mass arrests in a well-coordinated dawn raid that left several thousand Templars — knights, sergeants, priests, and serving brethren — in chains, charged with heresy, blasphemy, various obscenities, and homosexual practices. None of these charges was ever proven, even in France — and the Order was found innocent elsewhere — but in the seven years following the arrests, hundreds of Templars suffered excruciating tortures intended to force “confessions,” and more than a hundred died under torture or were executed by burning at the stake.
It is recorded that the French King (Philip IV) owed so much money to The Knights Templar. They were an organisation of great wealth and clearly he was not too happy about that!
Now whether or not it is a day that is deemed unlucky at any other given time, is an unanswered question. Is it not true to say that any day in history that a catastrophic event takes place is unlucky – take 9/11, 7/7 for instance! I doubt that Jacques de Molay chose Friday 13th because he thought it an unlucky day – but if you were one of the Knights Templar it would certainly have been an unlucky day and for those who remembered this day thereafter the phrase “Unlcuky for some” was perhaps said as a feeling of fortunate exclusion.
My Nana was born on this day: 13th January (Sunday), my Niece was born on 13th August (Wednesday) and my Sister married on January 13th (Saturday). I’m sure none of these thought/think of it as an unlucky day when it appears on a Friday.