No fears for Friday 13th from homeowners

It may be regarded as one of the unluckiest days of the year, but it seems that superstitious associations do not put off homeowners from moving on Friday 13th, with Yorkshire Building Society seeing a spike in the average number of mortgage completions on that day.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 13th January 2017, 12:01 am

The figures showed that on the eleven Friday 13ths which have occurred since 2011, six have seen a higher-than-average number of Society customers moving house on that day.

The data therefore indicates that this spooky superstition, thought to originate from either the Bible or Norse mythology, holds little sway with 21st century homeowners.

However, borrowers may have demonstrated some signs of paraskevidekatriaphobia, or fear of Friday 13th, last year; as the Society saw a 40 per cent drop in the average number customers completing their mortgage on Friday, May 13, 2016.

Phobia experts say that paraskevidekatriaphobia sufferers may not feel able to leave the house, travel or go to work on Friday 13th, with major life events like moving home or getting married simply out of the question.

Charles Mungroo, Mortgage Product Manager at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “The data clearly shows that home-owners will not let Friday 13th superstition stop them from moving.

“Our analysts have found that there was little discernible pattern for Friday 13th moves over the past five years, which means the date has little influence on our homeowners’ decisions.

“It would therefore appear that old wives’ tales about the day being unlucky are being ignored by contemporary homeowners. We wish everyone moving into their new home the very best of luck – whether it takes place on Friday 13th or not.”

Fun facts about Friday 13th:

The origins of the day being branded unlucky are unclear. It’s commonly believed this has Biblical origins, with both Adam and Eve banished from the Garden of Eden and Jesus crucified on a Friday, and Judas, the 13th apostle, betraying Jesus.

Historians have also traced the fear back to a Norse myth about a dinner in Valhalla, Norse heaven. Twelve gods were invited, but a thirteenth crashed the affair and wreaked havoc, thus tarnishing the number 13 ever after.

There’s also a theory among mathematicians that 13 suffers from its position after 12, which is regarded as a complete number in many cultures, representing the months in a year, the signs of the zodiac, the gods of Olympus, labours of Hercules, tribes of Israel, apostles of Jesus and days of Christmas.

An irrational fear of Friday 13th may be more common than one would expect - American folklore historian Dr Donald Dossey estimates there are a potential 21 million US sufferers of the phobia, with symptoms ranging from mild anxiety to full-out panic attacks. Dr Dossey has estimated that up to £523 million is lost every Friday 13th, because people who believe the day is unlucky avoid travelling, going to work or, in some cases, leaving the house.

A 1993 study in the British Medical Journal found that Friday 13th really is unlucky for some, with data suggesting that the risk of hospital admission as a result of a traffic accident could increase by up to 52 per cent.

Famous people born on Friday 13th include former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (October 13th, 1925), Cuban leader Fidel Castro (August 13th, 1926) and US outlaw Butch Cassidy (April 13th, 1866).

The association of 13 with bad luck can be seen throughout Western culture – some airports, including JFK in New York, have no Gate 13; many hospitals omit a room 13; and it’s common for tall buildings to miss out the thirteenth floor – lift manufacturer Otis claim that 85 per cent of US buildings do not have a floor 13.

US president Franklin Roosevelt was a famous triskaidekaphobic, refusing to travel on the thirteenth day of the month or to hold dinner parties with 13 guests. Superstitious hosts in France can hire a professional fourteenth guest called a quatorzieme.