10 genuinely terrifying things that have happened on Friday 13th
In many places around the world, Friday 13th is recognized as being an unlucky day.
The more superstitious among us will spend the whole 24 hours avoiding black cats, steering clear of public transport or any sort of risky car journey, and generally living in fear that the world is about to end or something. But, as it turns out, they might have a legitimate reason for being wary about today. After all, some significantly nasty stuff has happened over the years...
1. On June 13th, 1952, a crew of eight people aboard a Swedish military plane went missing.
What's more, when two other planes went to look for the missing flight, they were shot down by the Soviet airforce. Eventually, however, it transpired that the Soviets shot down the original plane too.
2. On January 13th, 1939, 36 people were killed by bushfires in the Victoria province of Australia.
This came to be known as the "Black Friday" fire, the death toll of which accounted for more than half of the 71 people killed that month by natural fires.
3. On November 13th, 1829, a daredevil leapt to his death from the Genesee Falls.
10,000 people had gathered to watch the spectacle being performed by Sam Patch, who had successfully jumped off the Niagra falls only a few weeks earlier.
4. On October 13th, 1972, a flight carrying 45 people crashed in the Andes.
After 72 days, 16 people were discovered still alive in the mountains. They had survived by eating the bodies of those who had been killed on impact and the weaker passengers who had succumbed to the cold.
5. On March 13th, 1964, Kitty Genovese was brutally murdered in public, and nobody called for help.
Approximately 38 people are believed to have witnessed the murder, which took place over half an hour, but everyone assumed that someone else would come to her aid. This is now known as the "bystander effect" or "Kitty Genovese syndrome".
6. On November 13th, 1970, the deadliest cyclone in history hit Bangladesh.
The Bhola cyclone killed at least 300,000 people, most of whom were women, children, and the sick or elderly.
7. On January 13th, 2012, a cruise ship partially sank and killed more than 30 people.
The Costa Concordia had only set off on its journey hours before, but it lost power and tipped over with more than 4000 people onboard.
8. On September 13th, 1940, Buckingham Palace was bombed in the blitz.
Five bombs hit the palace that night, wounding two people and killing one. The King and Queen were in the palace at the time, but were not hurt.
9. On October 13th, 1989, the stock market crashed catastrophically.
It was the second worst day in American market history.
10. On Friday 13th, 2010, a 13-year-old boy was struck by lightning at 1:13 pm (13:13).
Amazingly, he survived the incident unscathed.
For those of us who aren't superstitious, though, Friday 13th can actually be a pretty good day to travel, with flights costing around five percent less on average. Plus, it's a great time to get a "13" flash tattoo. Based on those two things alone, I'd say that today is actually luckier than any other - so go figure.