It only shows up twice on the 2017 calendar, but in a matter of hours, you will have gotten through both of this year’s Friday the 13th appearances and hopefully avoided any bad luck that’s associated with this spectacularly spooky day.
Regardless of your beliefs, it’s common knowledge that plenty of people are legitimately afraid of Friday the 13th, whether they’re mildly superstitious or suffer from a full-fledged case of the fear of the number 13.
There’s an actual name for that particular phobia, and the thought of trying to pronounce it correctly is about frightening as the fear itself: friggatriskaidekaphobia.
Anyone have luck successfully saying that out loud? We totally failed, but since the next Friday the 13th won’t occur until April 13, 2018 (coincidentally 26 weeks away, which is a multiple of 13 aka the scariest calculation we’ve ever done), we have time to work on learning to spell and pronounce that spine-chilling word before it becomes a hot topic of discussion again next spring.
While unbothered, fearless souls are nonchalantly boarding flight number 666 without a care in the world, superstitious people are holed up inside, afraid to make contact with certain dark-colored felines, tossing salt over their shoulders and counting down the minutes left in this dreadful day.
Those are just a few strange ways people have protected themselves from Friday the 13th bad luck.
1Avoiding black cats.
We’re not sure if unfollowing all those cat accounts on social media will keep you safe from the wrath of this most unlucky day, but people have definitely been known to try and prevent unfortunate mishaps by avoiding black cats on Friday the 13th.
Despite people going out of their way to not cross paths with these felines, who supposedly house the souls of dead witches, at least one animal shelter is encouraging the exact opposite behavior by inviting people to adopt black kittens today.
2Not walking under ladders.
Honestly, this is a really bad idea to some people any day of the year, but superstitious people go to extreme lengths to avoid walking under ladders on Friday the 13th to keep bad luck at bay. According to Psychic Library, its superstitious origins date back to medieval times where the ladder symbolized the gallows where people were hanged. Therefore, walking beneath it somehow suggests that the person will die by hanging.
Whether you believe it or not, maybe don’t push your luck by walking under ladders today or ever.
3Taking extreme precautions around mirrors.
Superstitious beliefs aside, there’s something inexplicably creepy about watching a mirror fall to the ground and shatter into a million tiny pieces. Interestingly enough, breaking a mirror is the top Friday the 13th superstition, The Telegraph reports.
4Avoiding opening an umbrella indoors.
If you’re somewhere in the middle of a rain storm, don’t be surprised if you see people waiting until they step outside to open their umbrellas. They could be gauging whether it’s necessary to use one, or they could be intentionally avoiding bad luck. According to Woman’s Day, the history of this common superstition has something to do with an insult to the sun gods, which dates back to when umbrellas were commonly used as protection against sun. The site also notes that some believe that opening an umbrella indoors when it’s meant to protect your from storms is akin to thumbing your nose at guardian spirits, which will cause them to leave you vulnerable and more prone to bad luck.
5Avoiding the number 13.
Apparently, the fear of this number has mostly Western and religious ties. History.com reports that it’s specifically related to the fact that Jesus’ infamous betrayer Judas was the last and 13th guest at the Last Supper; the cite also notes that most high-rise buildings in the U.S. don’t have a 13th floor. As a result, this supposedly terrifying two-digit number has become synonymous with bad luck so people avoid traveling, working, getting married or buying a house on the 13th.
6Carrying a rabbit’s foot.
We’re just as confused as you are: What makes a rabbit’s foot lucky? Here’s Scientific American‘s take on using a rabbit foot as a protective token:
7Avoiding cracks in the pavement.
So, let’s get this straight: You spend the entire day looking down at the sidewalk while walking, with the expectation that nothing bad will happen. That sounds exhausting and counterproductive, but hey, no one ever claimed these superstitions were logical, so…
The Daily Mail cited research that showed nearly half of all the adult subjects avoided cracks in the pavement to thwart bad luck.
We’re not sure how to feel about all of this superstitious stuff, but to remain on fate’s good side, we feel like stopping this list at the lucky number seven is a great parting gift to leave you with.