The Very Dark History of Friday the 13th

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A knight of the Templar. Warrior Monk, Friday the 13th
A knight of the Templar. Warrior Monk.

Today is Friday the 13th. There will be two Friday the 13ths in 2023, the other being in October. The last one was in May 2022 (the only one in 2022). There will be three in 2026, the maximum possible. A year can’t have no Friday 13ths.

Not that we at SnowBrains suffer from ‘friggatriskaidekaphobia,’ irrational fear of Friday the 13th…

Wait, why is Friday the 13th unlucky again? Is Friday the 13th unlucky?

It’s potentially safer to drive on Friday the 13th, according to the Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics, which found that:

“Fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays, because people are preventatively more careful or just stay home.”

What’s interesting is that almost no one knows where the Friday the 13th lore comes from.


There are a handful of sources, but these two are our favorites:

Knights of the Templar being burned at the stake by the French, Friday the 13th
Knights of the Templar being burned at the stake by the French on Friday the 13th, 1307.

#1 = Knights of the Templar:

The Knights of the Templar were a military group founded in 1118 in Jerusalem that lasted for two centuries. They were charged with protecting pilgrims along the road from Europe to Jerusalem. These knights created a revolutionary banking system that protected pilgrims’ finances. This banking system was successful and eventually expanded throughout Europe.

King Philip IV of France ended up owing a considerable sum to the Knights and got pissed off and jealous about his debt and the Templar’s success. Thusly motivated, he devised a plan to exterminate all the Knights of the Templar in a single day. The day chosen was Friday, October 13, 1307. Philip sent his plan to all the King’s men and Bailiffs throughout France a month beforehand with orders not to read the plans until dawn on Friday the 13th.

With Pope Clement V’s backing, Philip accused the Knights of such horrible offenses that no one would come to their aid. They were accused of religious heresy: essentially, they had spit and stepped on the cross, performed acts of homosexuality, and denied Christ.

friday 13th, knights of the templar
The Knights of the Templar Cross. Supposedly, this is what the Palisades Tahoe Ski Patrol cross is modeled after.

The plan was executed well, and every Knight of the Templar was arrested, their properties were taken, medieval torture techniques were used to acquire their confessions, and finally, they were burned at the stake.

Desiring to humiliate the Templars further, Philip decided to have Jacques De Molay, the Grandmaster of the Templars, admit to heresy at a large public gathering. Jacques, instead, used the public forum to apologize to the people and explain what had happened to the Templars.

The Grandmaster’s final words before being burned at the stake were used to curse King Philip IV & Pope Clement V and state that they would both be dead by the end of the year. Both men did meet their demise before the year’s end, which adds even more clout to the powerful lore of  Friday the 13th.

Via this fantastic story, Friday the 13th is considered one of, if not the unluckiest day in history.

We love this Knights of the Templar story. These guys were burly lifelong warriors. They had 72 strict behavioral clauses to follow, including not being allowed to hang out with women, not even women in their own families—kind of the Samurai of the West. We learned about this long ago, and this story still resonates with us.

The former Palisades Tahoe Ski Patrol cross. This cross was only used there. Current Palisades Tahoe and other patrols use a standard + symbol.

#2 = Frigga – Norse Goddess-Witch of Love & Fertility

We’ll allow Charles Panati, the author of “Panati’s Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things,” to explain this one:

The actual origin of the superstition, though, appears also to be a tale in Norse mythology. Friday is named for Frigga, the free-spirited goddess of love and fertility. When Norse and Germanic tribes converted to Christianity, Frigga was banished in shame to a mountaintop and labeled a witch. It was believed that every Friday, the spiteful goddess convened a meeting with eleven other witches, plus the devil — a gathering of thirteen — and plotted ill turns of fate for the coming week. For many centuries in Scandinavia, Friday was known as “Witches’ Sabbath.

frigga, norse goddess, Friday 13th
Frigga, the Norse goddess of love and fertility.

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5 thoughts on “The Very Dark History of Friday the 13th

  1. I thought Sq**w was a BAD and that using it isn’t allowed? Why does Snowbrains continue to use this derogatory word? Shame on this website for not respecting the native women of this land that the WHITE man took it from them.

  2. “Earth is currently experiencing its 2nd Friday the 13th since November and there will be another one in January. ” I think you mean “another one in October”

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