The daunting legend of Friday the 13th may have started with one superstitious man, but the day itself took on a legacy of fear. And while cult films like Friday the 13th certainly didn’t help matters, real people have reported terrible instances occurring on Friday the 13th over the years, and believers hardly think it’s a coincidence.
The murder of Susan Genovese
The story of Susan “Kitty” Genovese and its resulting media coverage became well known as both a gruesome Friday the 13th murder and psychological effect. In March 1964, 38 witnesses allegedly watched as Winston Moseley attacked Genovese. The New York Times reported that no one intervened because they were “tired” scared to “get involved” or “thought it was a lover’s quarrel.” The police believed there were opportunities to save Genovese.
While the facts of the case were murky (The NYT called its own reporting “flawed” and researchers uncovered significant inaccuracies) it’s confirmed that the date of the murder was indeed a Friday the 13th in Kew Gardens, Brooklyn. The murder (and the fact no one intervened) created the idea psychology classes call the “bystander effect” or “Genovese Syndrome.”
The Andes flight
While timid fliers avoid flying on Friday the 13th at all cost, the Aviation Safety Network (ASN) reportedly found that the rate of fatal plane crashes on Friday the 13 was lower than other dates. The plane crashes that have occurred on the infamous date hold mystery that superstitious believers are convinced is a result of bad luck.
Friday, October 13th, 1972 was the infamous date of two serious plane crashes, made even more terrifying by the fact it was October. The first flight was the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 carrying a rugby team from Uruguay to Chile. Of the 45 passengers on board, only 16 survived. Their story was retold in both the book and film Alive. It recounts the harrowing tale of the 72 days the survivors had to live through — and the drastic means they had to use to do so.
The Moscow-bound plane crashed into the ground and killed the 174 passengers on board.
The death of Tupac
Rapper Tupac Shakur was fatally shot on September 7, 1966, when a white Cadillac pulled up next to him and opened fire into his car. Shakur was shot twice in his chest, once in the arm, and once in the thigh. The fatal bullet was believed to be the one shot into his right lung. His bodyguard, Frank Alexander, drove him a mile before a bike patrol alerted the paramedics.
Shakur was put on life support and an induced coma. He died on Friday, September 13, 1996. The case of Tupac’s murder remains open despite new information released in the documentary Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G.
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