Hurray! It’s Friday the 13th!
I can sense the confusion and gentle scowls. Why is today something to celebrate? Well, for one thing, it’s Friday if you’ve all forgotten, and the millennia of superstition around this day gives me some especially interesting things to show you.
People fear the number 13 like it’s some cursed number, bound to result in unpleasant events. And they’d be right. Many awful things have happened on this day, or simply in relation to 13; however, looking on the bright side, that means there are plenty of interesting books out there that can give us a fix for our curiosity.
To celebrate this Friday, the Thirteenth, here are 13 books to test your luck with. To up the ante, I’ve mixed in some especially unlucky books–books that are believed to be cursed–books that might actually kill you. If you’re not brave or stupid, those books are marked by the following symbol: ∆•!
Friday, the Thirteenth – Thomas W. Lawson
Starting with a light-weight in terms of scary, this short novel follows the clever maneuvers of a Wall Street broker who uses the superstition of Friday, the Thirteenth to get ahead in the cutthroat world of stocks. The only problem is that he’s creating a panic in the process–perhaps the most realistic unlucky event we could reasonably expect. No one can be sure, though…
∆•! The Lesser Key of Solomon – Aleister Crowley
Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘too good to be true’ ? This book is the perfect example of that. Though it has an ominous title and contains some pretty creepy images, it is a supposed instruction manual of magic. According to the YouTube channel The Finest, the book can teach one to summon demon servants, to attain the power of invisibility, and even to brew love potions. I know what you’re all thinking, (“I wish I had a copy of this in middle school”) but trust me when I say that the consequences of simply possessing one are enough to outweigh any childish wishes this book can fulfill. It is believed that this book can bring about “certain doom” in anyone’s life, as stated by The Finest. For those of you who won’t be reasoned with, the Amazon link is on the title. Enjoy your doom!
The Inferno: The Divine Comedy – Dante Alighieri
Despite not being cursed, this book is cameoed by one of the starters of the unlucky 13 superstition. Judas, the infamous betrayer, as he’s being gnawed by the teeth of Satan as punishment. Follow the 13th century poet Dante Alighieri as he descends into the nine rings of Hell under the careful guidance of the Ancient Roman poet Virgil. Within the pages of this account of one-third of the Christian afterlife, you’ll see many familiar faces through history. If you’ve got a taste for the macabre, this book should feel like a walk in the park.
∆•! Tomino’s Hell – Yomota Inuhiko
When writers are feeling heavy with emotions, they turn to poetry to console themselves. Tomino’s Hell is an extreme case of this. It details the story of a boy and his misery after the loss of his sister. We’ve all heard our fair share of sad stories before, but what sets this one apart from the others, as you’ve been clued in by the symbol, is that it is cursed. According to The Finest, reading this poem out loud is tantamount to ensuring something happening to you that is of equal hardship to that of Tomino. To make things a bit more real, one YouTube commenter wrote that, after reading the poem out loud, they experienced breathing difficulties and choking as they were falling asleep. They survived… at least until the last comment they wrote. If you want to listen to some daredevil read it aloud for you, the link is on the title.
The Stand – Stephen King
Whether Stephen King planned it or not, the catalyst of one of his most famous works began on Friday the Thirteenth. That’s my theory, anyway. Sometime in early June, 1980, (which had a Friday the Thirteenth) a strain of human-engineered flu virus was released into the world, killing all but a fraction of 1% of the population. Amid the “new normal,” a host of characters migrate across a United States of rotting corpses. Some are called by dreams of a 108-year-old woman in Boulder Colorado. Others… they are summoned by a shadowy figure residing in Las Vegas. Though this book does not explicitly reference Friday the Thirteenth, what could possibly be more unlucky than human civilization being wiped out by illness?
Friday the Thirteenth Novelizations
There are numerous films in the Friday the Thirteenth movie franchise. If you’ve had trouble keeping track of them all, allow me to make things a bit harder. There are also novels… lots of them. If you couldn’t get enough of Jason’s murder rampages in the theatre, there’s plenty more of that for you to enjoy in paperback form.
∆•! The Grand Grimoire – Joseph H. Peterson
In this age of information-overload, we’ve all been warned about the consequences of reading invalid sources. Perhaps the greatest way to screw up in that regard is to read a book that, according to The Finest, “is believed to have been written by a man possessed by the Devil.” The downside of reading this book, as you might have already guessed, isn’t simply the faulty foundation of misinformation. That seems harmless compared to a book that is believed to have the capacity to summon demons. The real catchall of reading it is that the devil will “supposedly” possess your soul. Is it worth it for the sake of curiosity? I don’t think so, but knock yourself out.
Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors – Piers Paul Read
On Friday, October 13, 1972, a plane traveling above the Andes Mountains of South America crash-landed. Stranded in the frozen wastes of the high peaks, the passengers did the only thing they could to survive: eating the bodies of those among them that died. The book Alive tells their story in crisp detail, allowing you to immerse yourself in one of Friday the Thirteenth’s darkest real-world manifestations.
The Templars – Dan Jones
Looking at the history of this unlucky day, one event that stands out: Friday the Thirteenth, 1307, when the Knights Templar were rounded up and tortured to death by the French. And it’s not like these knights were just some “knights”; they were among the most powerful, wealthy, and legendary in history (because, if you have anything to do with the Holy Grail, you’re automatically a legend). If you’re a history buff or are simply curious about the political and religious intrigue that these guys got involved in, then this book is for you.
∆•! The Book of Soyga – Jhon Dee
Have you ever been in one of those moods where you’re browsing the internet for the answer to something that probably doesn’t matter? Did you feel as though you were going insane? I know I have. But someone who’s taken that experience to a height rarely achieved was Jhon Dee, a scholar who, according to The Finest, “devoted his entire life to decoding it.” The effort proved so taxing on his mental health that he supposedly summoned an angel to help him finish it. Despite his whole life revolving around the book, he was unable to finish the last 36 pages, and it’s a good thing too, as whoever succeeds will die within 3 years. He still went insane, though…
The 13th Guest – Ruth S. Daigneaul
If you’re looking for something not quite so graphic or risky for your soul, this pick might be for you. It involves a group of twelve, residing in a mansion, attempting to summon a spirit. What do you know? When you ask for a 13th guest, a 13th guest is what you get.
Unlucky 13: Women’s Murder Club Series – James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
In every expansive series, there are a few numbered additions that stand out. For instance, 1, 2, 5, and 10. Then, there’s 13. Just as this unlucky day keeps popping up each year, sometimes things in the past return when we’d least like them to. That’s exactly what happens to Lindsay Boxer when she is given a photo of a psychopathic killer who is apparently out walking. It’s a game of cat and mouse from there.
13: The Story of the World’s Most Notorious Superstition – Nathaniel Lachenmeyer
While multiple items have been 13-focused on this list, they don’t provide a big-picture look at why this number is so evil. If you’re curious, Lachenmeyer delves deep into the history behind the superstition that has the world enthralled.