6 Real Life Friday the 13th Horror Stories

For most modern thinking adults, Friday the 13th is a myth; it’s a day that we give a mental nod at but continue our day as the norm. Although some people choose to stay inside due to their fear of the day and number combination, called “friggatriskaidekaphobia”, the rest of the civilization throws the myth of Friday the 13th in the b.s. bucket that also holds Zeus and the ever-discriminated against black cats.
It’s pretty safe to say the vast majority of people have lived through numerous Friday the 13ths without so much as a splinter, but for other unlucky people, Friday the 13th held some very bad news indeed.

1. November 13, 1987 – Bob Renphrey

There’s no man who ever lived that was as suspicious of Friday the 13ths as Bob Renphrey. Bob was a retired bus driver who had a run of bad luck for every single Friday the 13th during the early 1990’s. His stream of bad luck incidents run from falling in a river, crashing a motorcycle, writing off four cars, and accidentally hitting his wife in the face with a stick that he was throwing to his dog. After those incidents, Bob resolutely stayed in bed every Friday the 13th until he passed away in 1998. His wife, Betty, decided to have him buried on March’s Friday the 13th as a tribute to his long-standing war with that date, but alas, the 13 got the last word – all undertakers were booked solid.

2. January 13, 1939 – Australia’s Black Friday

The summer of 1939 in Australia was one of the hottest they’d seen in a long time. The ground was dry and flowing water was a rare sight to see. The drought was severe enough to have people on water watches. Then on Friday, January 13th, several groups of people disregarded Smokey the Bear and left their fires burning. It wasn’t one person or even one group of people that were responsible for the following disaster, but the event was certainly initiated by people. From there, the fires spread across acres and acres of land, destroying over 60 sawmills, and killing over 70 people. 1,000 houses were lost, almost 5 million acres of land were torched, and even today, over 70 years later, Australia’s land feels the lack of fertilization and moisture that was caused by that wildfire.

3. October 13, 2006 – New York Snowfall

New York City’s average snowfall is about 2-4 feet in a year. Spread out over a few months, that’s not a bad rate at all, but one October morning, Buffalo decided to throw a very cold party. During the evening of October 12th, and well into the afternoon, 2 feet of snow buried Buffalo, New York. If you don’t think that’s a lot of snow, then first off, you haven’t lived in a snow state, and secondly, here are some stats to break that down for you. 80%-90% of the roads in New York were pronounced impassable, and a driving ban was issued. Three people died, two in car-related accidents, and one by being crushed by a falling snow-logged tree. Hundreds of trees snapped, 400,000 people were left without power and were expected to run out of water as pipes going into the city were shut off.

4. November 13, 1829 – Niagara Falls Daredevil

Sam Patch was a daredevil with style; his trick was diving off the Niagra Falls and bouncing right back up “to the huzzas of the multitude”. He was so sure of his ability to bungee the waterfall, in fact, that he ran an ad in the local newspaper: Antimasonic Inquirer. In the ad, he also initially planned on forcing his trained bear to follow him in the leap as well, a sight that would draw a crowd from any era, and this stunt had an expected audience of 6,000 to 7,000 people.
On the day of, however, Sam Patch’s form was – patchy – to say the least, and he was swiftly swallowed by the water. There were only a few moments of suspense before people realized that something was indeed very, very wrong and the crowd slunk away.

5. August 13, 1976 – Daz Baxter

Although Daz never had quite the rivalry with the date as Bob Renphrey, Daz did prefer staying in bed on Friday the 13ths to minimize hazards. Well, if that excuse flies with your boss, why not take a day for yourself? As Daz was settling down into his comfy bed to enjoy his day of safety, he heard a strange sound – perhaps a creaking or a breaking sound. Shortly after this suspicious sound, the entire apartment block collapsed, and he tumbled down six stories to his death. Unlucky choice, or revenge of the date? Depends on your view; Bob Renphrey would agree that the day simply had it out for poor Daz Baxter.

6. October 13, 1972 – Rugby Team

When the Uruguayan Rugby Team left on their flight for Chile, the only thing on their mind was crushing the Old Boys Club in a game, due to a storm, they stayed the evening of the 12th in Argentina before departing in the afternoon of the 13th; despite the all-clear that the pilot received, the sky was still cloudy and the air full of turbulence. One mistake after another seemed to happen as the pilot was attempting to descend; air control gave him the wrong directions, he couldn’t see until the was facing the mountain directly, and the engine refused to gain altitude, causing the plane to crash two or three times into the mountain, instantly killing 12 people by the time the plane settled on the side of the frost-bound cliff. The team had packed rations for an 11-minute plane ride, and as the week stretched on, the food swiftly ran out, and the survivors turned to cannibalism.

Whether you’re a Bob who lives in fear of Friday the 13th, or a Sam Patch, who would do anything to flaunt your disbelief, the mixture of an allegedly unlucky number and the best day of the week is undeniable in its popularity in American culture. And whether or not you have personally experienced bad luck on a 13th Friday, remember that it’s still possible, and take care!

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