Beginning in the year 1118, the mission of the monastic militant knights was to protect Christian pilgrims along the path from France and Western Europe to Jerusalem during the Crusades. The Templars started a banking system protecting the currency of the pilgrims in transit. They later expanded their banking system in Europe, amassed a huge fortune and became politically powerful.
Because of the Crusades and the wars with England, France was almost bankrupt — sound familiar? Phillip owed the Templars a huge debt and didn’t have the money to pay them. With the help of Pope Clement V he devised a plan to discredit the Templars, murder the knights as heretics and steal their money. Beginning at dawn on Oct. 13, 1307, all the Templars throughout France were arrested by the king’s men. Friday the 13th has been considered unlucky ever since. Unlucky for the Templars, that is. The Vatican is still collecting interest on its cut of the banking system as a reward for the knights’ treason.
In modern times, Hubert Humphrey and Benny Goodman died on Friday the 13th and Al Capone was sentenced to prison on that unlucky day.
Fridays have been considered unlucky since the day Christ died. Why they call it Good Friday is beyond me, but I’m sure there is a really good explanation for it.
Soothsayers advise us not to take trips or begin new projects on a Friday. Many disasters have occurred on a Friday and the stock market still remembers a “black Friday” when it crashed.
Triskaidekaphobia, so much for being sesquipedalian, is the fear of the number 13 and its affiliated superstitions. It also has roots in Christianity: There were 13 seated at the Last Supper and Judas was the 13th person to arrive at the gathering of Jesus and his 12 Apostles. They conveniently forgot about Mary Magdalene being at the side of Christ for the celebration of eternal life.
Sometimes the number 13 is just ignored. Public buildings do not have a marked 13th floor. In San Francisco, Funston Avenue replaces 13th Avenue between 12th and 14th avenues. And after two drivers were killed driving cars marked 13 in Formula 1 racing, the number 13 is no longer used. However, there are some people who believe the number 13 is lucky. Sports figures Ozzie Guillen, Dan Marino, Wilt Chamberlain, Chris Mullin, Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan and Yao Ming are just a few who have worn the number 13 at one time in their career. So much for superstition.
Fortune-tellers, using the tarot cards, identify the number 13 with death. The card depicts the grim reaper using a scythe to cut the heads off sinners, nonbelievers and the profane. That would give anyone a phobia unless they were the heads of politicians.
Numerologists warn us that if you have 13 letters in your name it should be changed because it is a sign of ultimate doom. Madmen and killers Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted (Theodore) Bundy, Jack the Ripper (real name unknown) and, ironically, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden had names containing 13 letters. I don’t think changing their name would have mattered. They were destined to be doomed.
As luck would have it, our two most powerful Republican leaders in Nevada also have 13 letters in their name: William Raggio and Gov. Brian Sandoval.
Raggio protected mining and insulated gaming from higher taxes at the expense of minimum wage earners and refused to support a lottery for education at the expense of our children during his 20 years of dedicated service to special interest groups.
Raggio’s puppet, Sandoval, with his mantra of “no new taxes,” would rather see the crash of our university, reduction in K-12 funding, elimination of negotiated union contracts and the weakening of our public health and safety systems while still protecting the cash cows for politicians, gamming and the mining industry.
According to some believers in the occult of superstition, unless Sandoval changes his name, Nevada could be doomed. But unless he balances the budget with some increased taxes, he could be lost in a political vacuum with his mentor Raggio, never to be seen again.
David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist. The polemics of his articles can be discussed at email@example.com. His website is www.thefarsidechronicles.com.