The 13 Worst Friday the 13ths in History

Friggatriskaidekaphobics, take note: Statisticians at the Dutch Centre for Insurance (CVS) have established that Friday the 13th is actually safer than an average Friday. They claim that rates of accidents, fires, and thefts all decrease when the 13th of a month falls on a Friday. This fact comes as little consolation, however, to folks caught up in one of the following disasters. So much for the comfort of statistics!

Crusaders Were Captured: Friday, October 13th, 1307


On Friday, October 13th, 1307, thousands of Crusaders were imprisoned; members of the Knights Templar were accused of heresy, blasphemy, and homosexuality. Many later died from torture, carried out by the officers of King Philip IV of France. Freemasons consider this the first example of Friday the 13th being associated with bad luck and tragedy.

The Fall of the Aztec Empire: Friday, August 13th, 1521


On Friday, August 13th, 1521, Conquistador Hernan Cortez captured Cuauthemoc, the ruler of Tenochtitlan, claiming the city for Spain in an event that historians agree marked the end of the Aztec Empire.

The Kansas Floods: Friday, July 13th, 1951

3-Kansas Flood

28 people died and half a million others were displaced in Topeka, Lawrence, and Manhattan, Kansas when record-breaking rains caused the Verdigris and Marais Des Cygnes rivers to crest. It remains the single most severe flooding event ever to afflict the Midwest, causing damages estimated at $935 million (the equivalent of $6.4 billion today).

The “Good Friday” Earthquake in Alaska: Friday, March 13th, 1964

On Friday, March 13th, 1964, the largest recorded seismic event ever to hit North America killed 131 people near Prince William Sound. Doesn’t sound like a very “Good Friday” to me!

Killer Cyclone in Bangladesh: Friday, November 13th, 1970


A cyclone killed an estimated 500,000 people in Bangladesh on Friday, November 13th, 1970. To this date, it remains one of the most catastrophic natural events the world has ever seen.

Andes Plane Crash: Friday October 13th, 1972


On Friday, October 13th, 1972 Uruguayan Flight 571 crashed into the Andes Mountains with 45 people on board, including the Uruguayan rugby team. Only 16 people survived the ordeal, which lasted over 2 months and included a fatal avalanche; survivors eventually resorted to cannibalism to stay alive. The saga was memorialized in a book called Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors (written by Piers Paul Read in 1974) and the American film Alive (directed by Frank Marshall in 1993).

Russian Plane Crash: Friday October 13th, 1972

7-Russian Plane

It must have been an especially dangerous time for flying: The very same day Uruguayan rugby team crashed in the Andes, an Ilyushin-62 airplane carrying 164 passengers and 10 crewmembers from Paris crashed near Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in Russia killing everyone on board. To this day, the exact cause of the accident hasn’t been conclusively determined; still, some experts theorize the pilot may have lost control of the plane following a lightning strike.

“Jerusalem” Computer Virus Cripples Great Britain: Friday, January 13th, 1989


On Friday, January 13th, 1989 the “Jerusalem” computer virus (which launches automatically every Friday the 13th), crippled computers across Britain. In the days before back-up systems were the norm, incredible amounts of data were lost forever.

Market Crash: Friday, October 13th, 1989

9-stock market

On Friday, October 13th, 1989, the Dow Jones experienced the second largest drop ever (at the time). This event was nicknamed the “Friday the 13th Mini Crash”.

Major Earthquake in Turkey: Friday, March 13th, 1992

10-Turkey earthquake

On Friday, March 13th, 1992 a 6.7 magnitude earthquake originating on the North Anatolian Fault, struck Eastern Turkey. The quake killed almost 500 people and injured more than 2,000.

Death of a Hip-Hop Pioneer: Friday, September 13th, 1996


On Sunday, September 7th, 1996, West Coast rap pioneer Tupac Shakur was shot several times in Las Vegas as he left a boxing match with Death Row Records founder Suge Knight. He died six days later on Friday the 13th.

Costa Concordia Sinking: Friday, January 13th, 2012


On Friday, January 13th, 2012, the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia wrecked off the coast of Isola del Giglio. Despite listing dangerously on its starboard side, an evacuation order was not given until over an hour after impact. This delay and the unorganized evacuation process that followed lead to the deaths of 32 passengers.

Asteroid to Buzz Earth: Friday, April 13th, 2029


It’s never too soon to start worrying about the future, right? On Friday, April 13th, 2029, Asteroid 99942 Apophis is forecast to pass Earth at a distance closer than any of our satellites. The ramifications of this event are currently unknown, but I’m not exactly looking forward to it.


The human mind naturally searches for patterns over long periods of time, whether they’re telling or not. Considering the magnitude of recorded history, and the innumerable examples of tragic events, it’s inevitable that disasters will coincide with a specific date. Still, it’ll be a long time before Friday the 13th sheds it’s nefarious reputation—if ever!

How will you be spending this Friday the 13th?


If you can’t get enough of me here at Pop Horror, follow me on Twitter @josh_millican for quality horror articles worthy of your attention.

About Joshua Millican

Josh Millican is the Director of Community at CryptTV and has been blogging for over 5 years. You can follow Josh on Twitter @josh_millican.

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