It’s Friday the 13th, a date that carries massive superstition across the globe. The basis of these superstitions vary as widely as the superstitions themselves, and the date is now synonymous with bad luck and slasher films. Hell, there’s even an official “phobia” name for it: friggatriskaidekaphobia (yes, we can pronounce that. No, not five times quickly). But one event seems to rise above the rest as the true beginning of the curse of Friday the 13th, and the reason we as a society view it as a day of bad luck.
The story of Friday the 13th involves money, blood and the church, as well as The Knight’s Templar, those bad-ass superhero bankers from the 1100-1300s. They were originally brought together to protect traveling Christians, but it just so happened that as they traveled from place to place, they ended up sorta kinda starting the first ever banking and chequing system (except, of course, that one guy from The Last Crusade who pissed off the wrong person and ended up in that cave in Petra guarding the Holy Grail for a millennium. Makes you wonder whose daughter HE macked up).
Dude, SOOOO not worth it.
So, just like money-grubbing modern day banks, the Templars quickly made a lot of money. A LOT. Enter France’s King Philip IV, who was the equivalent of The Knight’s Templar’s employer. Only he didn’t pay them. Ever. They worked on a sort of “I’ll pay you after I fund all the battles I’m going to make you fight” system.
“Are we done yet? Good, because this huge spiky crown is making my eyebrows look like a mustache.” “No it isn’t sir, that’s just how you look.”
Then one day, King Philip realized how much money The Templars had amassed. Having spent all his own money on the aforementioned battles, King Philip had a brilliant idea. Why not, he thought under the weight of his GIGANTIC crown (seriously, that thing is HUGE!) wipe out my enormous debt AND amass an outrageous fortune all at the same time? All it would take is a country-wide massacre!
In modern times, this would be the equivalent of mass corporate layoffs. Only, instead of giving you a severance package, they accuse you of heresy, torture you to get a confession and then burn you alive.
He could not do this and get away with it without the backing of the church, so he told Pope Clement V that the Templars practiced all this stuff that would piss God right off. You name it, they were said to have done it. Outraged, the Vatican gave the slaughter the green light.
Good job, Phil. Way to rat out those heretics.
But King Philip couldn’t kill them one at a time. It had to be all at once or he’d get an ass-kicking by a bunch of guys with some serious fighting skills. If it were modern day, organizing this type of coordinated killing would be easy.
In 1307 however, this proved a little trickier. So, the king sent a bunch of scrolls to his men a month in advance with strict instructions not to open them until the morning of Friday, October 13th.
So, the Templars were rounded up and either killed or put on “trial” to confess to all those chumped-up anti-God things they were supposed to have done. Only, the prosecution’s crown witness, Templar Grand Master Jacques De Molay, rescinded his confession and told everyone around the Notre Dame Cathedral that they were all innocent, confessions had been forced and that Philip IV had a bed wetting problem.
We may have made that last part up.
The Grand Master lived up to his uber-cool name in the end. The last thing he did before King Philip IV and Pope Clement V burned him at the stake was curse them both, telling them that by the end of the year, only six weeks away, The King and The Pope would both be dead.
Guess what – they totally died. Both of them. Grand Master indeed.
So, instead of being afraid of Friday the 13th or expecting “bad luck”, we recommend you withdraw your savings and shove it all inside your mattress. After all, the obvious moral of this tale is not that Friday the 13th is cursed, but the establishment of banking just may be.