Good vs. evil…especially on Friday the 13th

Published 5:23 pm Tuesday, December 17, 2019

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Well, I made it safely through December 13, 2019. Why am I specifically signaling out that particular day, other than the fact it was a wet, cold day and the police scanner on my desk at work was buzzing with calls for motor vehicle wrecks? Because it was a Friday and the 13th day of the month to boot!

Why is Friday the 13th deemed unlucky? It is said that Christ was crucified on Friday and the number of guests at the party of the Last Supper was 13, with the 13th guest being Judas, the traitor.

All calendar years have at least one Friday the 13th. Most have two….and there are the rarities of three taking place in a single year.

What are the chances of back-to-back years with only one Friday the 13th? The last time that happened was 1993-94. It will occur again in 2021-22.

What about two such Fridays occurring in the months of September and December (like it was this year)? That’s pretty commonplace as I only had to search back to 2013 to find two such dates in those particular months.

And what’s all the fuss about black cats, particularly if they cross your path on Friday the 13th.

According to ancient Egyptian lore, the Goddess Bast was a black, female cat. Christians, wanting to rid society of all traces of other religions, convinced the ignorant that black cats were demons in disguise and should thus be destroyed. Being demons, a black cat crossing your path would create a barrier of evil, cutting you off from God and blocking the entrance to heaven.

It’s deemed as bad luck if a bat flies into your house (on Friday the 13th or any other date for that matter). Ditto for an owl hooting three times; three butterflies flying together; glancing at the new moon over your left shoulder; finding a five-leaf clover; putting a shirt on inside out; hearing a rooster crow at night; cutting your nails on a Friday and putting a hat on a bed.

But what about good luck? Knocking on wood came from a belief that good spirits lived in trees. Thusly, by knocking on anything made from wood, we could call upon these spirits for protection against misfortune.

While a bat making its way into your house is bad luck, a robin performing that same feat is considered good luck, as is finding a frog in your home.

Good luck superstitions also include sneezing three times before breakfast; cutting your hair during a storm; sleeping facing south; finding a ladybug on you and picking up a piece of coal that has fallen in your path.

According to those who believe in such things, if a bee enters your home, it’s a sign that you will soon have a visitor. If you kill the bee, you will have bad luck, or the visitor will be unpleasant. If a swarm of bees settles on your roof, it’s an omen that the house will burn down.

If you sweep trash out the door after dark, it will bring a stranger to visit. If someone is sweeping the floor and sweeps over your feet, you’ll never get married.

A horseshoe, hung above a doorway, will bring good luck to a home. In most of Europe, protective horseshoes are placed in a downward facing position, but in some parts of Ireland and Britain people believe that the shoes must be turned upward or ‘the luck will run out.”

A horseshoe hung in the bedroom will keep nightmares away.

I’m going to keep thinking good thoughts. Maybe I’ll hit the lottery on Friday, March 13, 2020!

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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