Unlucky for some: 13 notable deaths on Friday the 13th

One theory goes that the composer Rossini's death sparked modern superstition over the date. But he wasn't the only notable figure to die on this mysterious day
  • @steveanderson87

It's a date that inspires dread when it's seen looming ahead on calendars in the Western world, but there are few pieces of historical evidence as to why Friday 13th is considered so unlucky.

It may be a simple mixture of the two widely-held superstitions that Friday is an unlucky day and 13 the unluckiest number, but folklore gives us little more clues than that.

Forget references in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, which puts the day's notoriety down to the arrest of hundreds of Knights Templar (the military order of the Catholic Church) on Friday 13 October 1307 by King Philip IV's forces in France, which has been widely disregarded by experts as a modern day invention.

One of the earliest known references to the date is from Henry Sutherland Edwards' biography of the Italian composer Giachino Rossini, who died on a Friday 13, which read:

"He [Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring friends; and if it be true that, like so many Italians, he regarded Fridays as an unlucky day and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that one Friday 13th of November he died."

But Rossini isn't the only notable figure to have died on Friday 13th. Click here or 'VIEW GALLERY' above for a list of 12 others to pass on the mysterious date.