Smile Politely

It’s Friday the 13th…are you superstitious?

A black cat resting on a wooden deck.
Julie McClure

Today is Friday the 13th. And not just any Friday the 13th…it’s Friday the 13th in October. You know what THAT means.

Really though, do you? Does it actually mean anything? Does it just have an extra spooky vibe? Or do we need to be extra cautious in our actions lest we upset the gods of superstition? If you take a look at the actual origins of the superstition surrounding Friday the 13th, various traditions attached misfortune to Friday and to the number 13 separately, then a Victorian author merged them into one with a novel called Friday, the Thirteenth. The notion took on a new connotation of spookiness in addition to unluckiness with the movie Friday the 13th (though I suppose it’s pretty unlucky to be murdered at a summer camp). Side note: I rewatched this recently with my teens and it is so incredibly dumb. It was, however, extremely scary when I was 10 and had no business watching it.

I’m not a very superstitious…

…but I am sort of fascinated by superstitions and legends and lore, generally. I found this 2010 article from The Quadrangle, which detailed a project by a group of students in a Folklore as Communication class in which they investigated legends and lore at U of I. Perhaps you’ve heard of some of them, such as the ghost in the English Building or it being good luck to rub Abe Lincoln’s nose in Lincoln Hall before an exam. This alumni blog post dives into some of the spookier campus lore.

Do you have any superstitions? Or knowledge of specific campus or community legends? We’d love to hear about them in the comments. You can also email us at [email protected].

Whether you do or not, I hope you have a Friday the 13th free from calamity.

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