This film is part of Free

Friday the Thirteenth

On the eve of Friday the 13th the camera captures Cornish thoughts about superstitions.

News 1963 2 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


Friday the thirteenth may have been popularised by twentieth century authors and religious claims linking thirteen to the Last Supper or the Knights’ Templar but many cultures have long-held superstitions, especially for New Year’s Day or days of the year relating to the change of seasons. Reporter Terry Fleet questions if people are superstitious and the responses pay tribute to superstitions that are all but gone such as not washing or sweeping on high or holy days.

Washing clothes, blankets or whites on New Year’s Day or other holidays were thought to wash away a loved one or to sweep away good luck for the rest of the year. The superstition of not to walk under ladders or the modern day equivalent of scaffolding seems obvious, something may fall on you! The word for fear of the number thirteen comes Greek, triskaidekaphobia and for fear of Friday the thirteenth, take a breath and say paraskevidekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia but don’t bother doctors about it, they are bound by the hippocratic oath (whereby they agree to uphold ethical standards, also from Greek). Friday 13 occurs from one to three times every year and for some carries with it the luck of the devil.