Friday 13th and all that…

Image of the tractor pulled over by Guardia Civil officers in Teruel. Credit: Guardia Civil

FRANCE is stripped of its coveted triple-A credit rating.

The Italian cruise liner, Costa Concordia, runs aground with loss of life. Both events occurred this past Friday13th.

While President Nicolas Sarkozy of France doubtless regretted the human tragedy on the Concordia, I’m also pretty sure his mind was equally preoccupied by his own Friday 13th calamity.

Namely, the humiliating blow to his personal prestige – just 100 days before the first round of the French presidential elections – having staked his reputation on his handling of the economy.

Friday 13th: rumours and superstitions surround this date in history, regarding both the number 13 and the day Friday.

From a Norse myth (12 gods and their uninvited, 13 doom-laden guest), Biblical references (Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ, the 13th diner at the Last Supper), medieval dastardly deeds (on Friday 13th October 1307, King Philip of France arrested and put to death the revered Knights Templar for their Holy Grail secrets and wealth) to more modern times (Friday was the traditional day for public hangings in Britain with supposedly 13 steps leading up to the noose).

And how is fear of the number 13 demonstrated today? Some airports have no gate 13. Some planes have no row 13. Hotels regularly have no floor or room 13.

Now, this Friday 13th fear is just daft. For, if not the result of just plain old coincidence, some past ‘Friday 13th tragedies’ were actually planned to feed into the mythology.

I’m thinking here of the ‘Friday the 13th virus’ programmed to delete IBM computer files across Britain on that day in January 1989.

Bad luck had nothing to do with it. Pick any date in history and you’ll have a massive list of genocide, murder, rape, greed, natural disasters, fear and loss.

Bad things happen every day. It’s just that, if something happens on Friday 13th, it sticks in our minds because we’ve all been brainwashed to believe it’s bad luck. In fact, in some countries, like Italy, 13 is lucky.

And here in Spain, it’s Tuesday the 13th that’s considered unlucky, particularly for travel or getting married. Friday’s fine! If you’re still spooked by Friday 13th, you’re in for a whammy of a year! This was just the first of three for 2012 …

Photo credit: Practical Owl

Nora Johnson’s novels, Soul Stealer & The De Clerambault Code (www.nora-johnson.com) now available at Amazon.es in paperback and eBook (€0.99; Amazon UK: £0.77). Profits to Cudeca

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