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Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday the 13th

Leave it to a writer to create a myth that dogs us to this day.  It’s often believed the Friday the 13th publication of Bostonian Thomas W. Lawson’s popular novel by the same name contributed immensely to the creation of the myth. 

In the book, an unscrupulous stockbroker (a profession Lawson had in addition to his writing career) chooses that day to bring down Wall Street. 

Lawson, who was intensely superstitious, had made certain – as a promotional move – to not only name the book Friday the Thirteenth but also to release it on that day.  He chose Friday, Dec. 13, 1907.  Ironically that also was the day that the only 7-masted schooner ever built, the Thomas W. Lawson (in which Lawson had invested heavily) was wrecked off the coast of Sicily.  The triumph of his book being published was quickly tempered by news that the ship had gone down just hours after the book made its appearance.  And, of course, that only added to the superstition of the day – particularly because of Lawson’s superstitious attitude about it. 

The mystique surrounding that combination of events led to the book becoming immensely popular and spawning dozens, if not hundreds, of other stories that led to an ongoing phobia about the day.   Up until that day in 1907 there is little, if any, mention of Friday the 13th being a day of which to beware.    The power of the pen.  Happy Friday the 13th.
Thomas W. Lawson, the man and the ship

P.S.  If you're a Friday the 13th advocate -- and many people are -- this is one of those lucky years when they come in back-to-back months.  Friday, March 13th, is just around the corner.
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