Author Nadine Hays Pisani was born on a Friday. That would be otherwise unremarkable, but the day Pisani was born also happened to be the 13th of the month. Friday the 13's an inauspicious day according to some Western superstitions, and it's something that's followed Pisani her whole life.
"Whenever that comes up in conversation, I usually get one person who looks at me strangely, as if I exude bad luck," she says via email. “I've been at a blackjack table in Atlantic City where my friend, just for fun, announced to the crowd I was born on Friday the 13th. Players actually got up and walked away from the table.”
The superstitions surrounding the number 13 can be particularly problematic for people born on the 13th day of a month, and especially for those born on Friday the 13th. But is there any science behind that? Will a person born on the 13th really contend with a lifelong streak of bad luck – and encounter far more bad luck – than people who don't share the same birthdate?
British social scientists decided to find out. They examined whether being born on the 13th of the month, and particularly on a Friday, had a lifelong impact. Did people with the 13th as a birthday have more trouble finding employment, earn less money or encounter other disadvantages?