The idea of Friday the 13th brings many of the same superstitious connotations that also surround black cats, walking under ladders and broken mirrors.
And although there are several theories about where the Friday the 13th superstitions come from, one in particular stands out as the most probable, as well as the most interesting.
The Knights Templar
Many of us are vaguely aware of the Knights Templar: many movies and TV shows have researched and covered topics regarding the mysterious organization of knights originally created by the Vatican to protect Christians traveling through the Holy Lands. These knights originally began their careers as a small group of monks, but eventually expanded and became known as fierce warriors.
As the organization grew, the Templars began excavating the temple of King Solomon, long rumored to hold some of the most desired treasures on the planet, including the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail. Perhaps this is why the group became extremely wealthy, allowing them to travel far to build churches and expand their influence. Eventually, the group became one of the most wealthy and powerful organizations in both Europe and the Middle East.
Friday The 13th
King Philip IV of France turned to the Templars and asked for their help in paying off some of his debts, which were great after borrowing funds to finance a war in England. After the group refused the king, though, he turned to his friend, Pope Clement V, who, along with the rest of the Vatican, was growing concerned with the Templars' influence. This resulted in a declaration that all Templars in France be arrested on Friday, Oct. 13, 1307. The arrests allowed the king and the Vatican to claim ownership of everything the Templars possessed, both money and land.
Although the Templars did receive trials, their fate was already decided: every member of the group was found guilty of heresy, along with other crimes. Their sentence was death, although torture wasn't entirely ruled out first. Many Templars were even burned at the stake.
Part of the Friday the 13th legend states that the last Grand Master of the Templar order, Jacques de Molay, shouted a curse on the heads of both King Philip IV and Pope Clement V just before he burned to death. That curse seemed to work: both the king and pope died of mysterious causes within months after that.
The legends of the Knights Templar remain popular today, although it's believed that if they do exist, they do so in secrecy. Some legends even believe that the Freemasons of today have their roots with the medieval order. Friday the 13th superstitions also remain, with many people doing their best to banish bad luck before it happens.