It’s Friday the 13th! Here’s what’s behind the superstition

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Friday the 13th is perhaps one of the most universally despised dates of all time.

In fact, tens of thousands of the U.S. population could suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia - a fear of the infamously unlucky Friday the 13th.

Many see the date as so unlucky, they insist on staying home that day.

The Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute estimates that the U.S. economy loses approximately $850 million each Friday the 13th as many refuse to travel, have surgery, buy or sell a home, or get married.

Fearing a loss of business, several hotels skip floor number 13, going from 12 to 14.

Some airlines also eliminate row number 13, while some airports skip the 13th gate.

So, how did the superstition begin?

Many theories exist but the most commonly agreed-upon answer dates back to biblical times, when the apostle Judas, the apparent 13th guest at the Last Supper, later betrayed Jesus Christ with a kiss to the cheek.

MILAN,ITALY - MAY 24: A photo released 24 May 1999 showing Leonardo da Vinci's 'The Last Supper' after restoration in Milan's Santa Maria delle Grazie church. The public will again be abto view the fresco 27 May 1999 after 21 years of restoration works. Some art critics claim the painting has been damaged by the restoration. (Photo by: AFP/Getty Images)Jesus is also said to have been crucified on a Friday, and it is believed Friday is also the day Eve offered Adam the forbidden fruit.

More recently, many horrible events have taken place on Friday the 13th, such as the Chilean 1972 plane crash in the Andes when survivors had to eat dead passengers to survive the two months they spent on the mountain before their rescue.

The Costa Concordia cruise ship overturned in Italy in January of 2012, killing 30 people on board, while terror attacks in France claimed the lives of 130 people in November of 2015.

GIGLIO PORTO, ITALY - JANUARY 14: The cruise ship Costa Concordia lies stricken off the shore of the island of Giglio, on January 14, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit a sandbank. At least 3 people have been confirmed dead and another 50 are unaccounted for. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)
Costa Concordia/Getty Images

Economically, "Black Friday" is not just a major shopping day, it is also the term given to the October 13th, 1989 crash of the U.S. stock exchange.

On Friday the 13th in September of 1996, rapper Tupac Shakur died after being shot multiple times in Las Vegas.

INDIO, CA - APRIL 15: A holographic image of Tupac Shakur is seen performing during day 3 of the 2012 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Field on April 15, 2012 in Indio, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)
Tupac Shakur/Getty Images

Film director and producer Sir Alfred Hitchcock was born on Friday the 13th in 1899, but his first film failed. It was called "Number 13."

Several famous dignitaries reportedly suffered from triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13, including Napoleon and former U.S. Presidents Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt, who refused to host 13 people at his dinner table.

However, singer Taylor Swift says 13 is her lucky number.  "I was born on the 13th, I turned 13 on Friday the 13th, my first album went gold in 13 weeks, my first number one song had a 13 second intro," Swift told MTV in 2009.

Pagans also believe the number 13 is lucky, as it corresponds to the number of annual full moons.

And some positive sides to Friday the 13th, if you don't mind the unlucky stigma the date carries, weddings are sometimes less expensive. (Just in case it doesn't work out, divorce attorney rates do NOT go down on the 13th.)

Friday the 13th comes back for another visit in October.

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