13 Amazing Things That Happened on a Friday the 13th

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iStock

If you believe Friday the 13th is a day marked only by bad luck and running from an evil hockey enthusiast at a defunct summer camp, it’s time to rethink the infamous date’s potential. Leave your triskaidekaphobia at the door and check out the noteworthy events that landed on the “unlucky” day. All the bad stuff is just a coincidence.

1. DINOSAUR EGG DISCOVERY // JULY 1923

While hunting fossils for the American Museum of Natural History at Mongolia’s Flaming Cliffs, an expedition team led by Roy Chapman Andrews discovered the first scientifically recognized dinosaur egg fossils. He had gone there to try to find the missing link between apes and mankind, so this was a doozy of a consolation prize.

2. WELCOME TO HOLLYWOODLAND // JULY 1923

Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

The same day that Andrews was digging up dino eggs, a giant group of letters was inaugurated in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, to signify a housing development owned by H.J. Whitley called Hollywoodland. Today, it’s one of the most recognizable landmarks even though it long ago lost its “land.”

3. TENNESSEE OUTLAWS EVOLUTION // MARCH 1925

It was an unlucky day for Darwin when the Tennessee Senate voted to prohibit Evolutionary Theory from public universities and schools. The law was deemed constitutional by the Tennessee Supreme Court during the famed Scopes Monkey Trial and wasn’t struck down until 1967.

4. THE BRITISH INTERPLANETARY SOCIETY // OCTOBER 1933

We may have landed people on the moon in 1969, but people have been dreaming of the stars since long before then. The British Interplanetary Society, the oldest space advocacy group in the world, was founded to boost public awareness of astronautics. Its most famous chairman? None other than Arthur C. Clarke.

5. HUGHES H-1 RACER SETS A WORLD AIRSPEED RECORD // SEPTEMBER 1935

Now residing at the National Air and Space Museum, the Hughes H-1 Racer spent an illustrious Friday the 13th in 1935 setting a world airspeed record (567 kph/352 mph). Designed by the legendary Howard Hughes and Richard Palmer, it was the last privately owned aircraft to break the world airspeed record.

6. THE FIRST HEAVY METAL ALBUM DEBUTS // FEBRUARY 1970

Marked by many music experts as the official birth of heavy metal, Black Sabbath’s eponymous album was released on an appropriately dangerous Friday the 13th in 1970. A remarkably good omen for everyone who wanted to board the crazy train.

7. RUGBY TEAM’S PLANE CRASHES IN THE ANDES // OCTOBER 1972

One of the more horrific things to have happened on this date, Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashed in the Andes Mountains while carrying the Old Christians Club rugby team. Over a quarter of the 45 were killed on impact, and it took until December 23 to rescue the surviving 16 who were forced to resort to cannibalism to stay alive.

8. MALTA BECOMES AN INDEPENDENT REPUBLIC // DECEMBER 1974

Sudika, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

The small country in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea declared its independence from the United Kingdom in 1964, but Queen Elizabeth remained the Head of State. In 1974, Malta Labour Party leadership declared the country a republic and installed a President (Sir Anthony Mamo) as the head of the government.

9. WE ALL GET TO PLAY SUPER MARIO BROS. // SEPTEMBER 1985

Undoubtedly one of the most famous video games of all time—and a mega-franchise-launcher and anchor for Nintendo—Super Mario Bros. was released on a fireball-throwing Friday the 13th. It makes sense; it’s a day when many superstitious people refuse to go outside.

10. THE STOCK MARKET MINI-CRASH // OCTOBER 1989

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Maybe it’s just Octobers that are unlucky for the stock market. Sixty years after the Black Tuesday crash that ushered in the Great Depression, the major markets experienced some serious turbulence after an aborted United Airlines merger tanked the junk bond market. Like a black cat crossing your path in a golden parachute, the mini-crash was a harbinger of the 1990s recession.

11. FINLAND’S ACCIDENT DAY // 1995

Since 1995, Finland has designated one Friday the 13th every year as a national Accident Day with the aim of raising awareness for workplace and road safety. It’s a clever idea to use the superstitious day as an opportunity to be extra vigilant. Plus, because of its capital’s airport code and a particular daily flight demarcation, Finland also offers a Flight 666 to HEL every Friday the 13th.

12. NASA ANNOUNCES EVIDENCE OF WATER ON THE MOON // NOVEMBER 2009

After studying data collected and relayed by the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS), NASA chose a Friday the 13th to share evidence that the moon isn’t as desolate as we thought it to be. The robotic spacecraft studied particles in the debris plume created by its launchable upper stage impacting with the Cabeus crater, opening the door for more research and a new understanding of our only permanent natural satellite.

13. A BUNCH OF GREAT BIRTHDAYS

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Throughout the years, plenty of people have shrugged off being born under a bad sign to become noteworthy in multiple fields (and even score some Nobel Prizes for their mantel). People born on Friday the 13th include Nate Silver, jazz clarinetist George Lewis, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Steve Buscemi, Christopher Plummer, novelist Georges Simenon, playwright Samuel Beckett, WWII hero-turned-actor Neville Brand, and poet Wole Soyinka.

14 Retro Gifts for Millennials

Ravi Palwe, Unsplash
Ravi Palwe, Unsplash

Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996, which means the pop culture they grew up with is officially retro. No matter what generation you belong to, consider these gifts when shopping for the Millennials in your life this holiday season.

1. Reptar Funko Pop!; $29

Amazon

This vinyl Reptar figurine from Funko is as cool as anything you’d find in the rugrats’ toy box. The monster dinosaur has been redesigned in classic Pop! style, making it a perfect desk or shelf accessory for the grown-up Nickelodeon fan. It also glows in the dark, which should appeal to anyone’s inner child.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Dragon Ball Z Slippers; $20

Hot Topic

You don’t need to change out of your pajamas to feel like a Super Saiyan. These slippers are emblazoned with the same kanji Goku wears on his gi in Dragon Ball Z: one for training under King Kai and one for training with Master Roshi. And with a soft sherpa lining, the footwear feels as good as it looks.

Buy it: Hot Topic

3. The Pokémon Cookbook; $15

Hop Topic

What do you eat after a long day of training and catching Pokémon? Any dish in The Pokémon Cookbook is a great option. This book features more than 35 recipes inspired by creatures from the Pokémon franchise, including Poké Ball sushi rolls and mashed Meowth potatoes.

Buy it: Hot Topic

4. Lisa Frank Activity Book; $5

Urban Outfitters

Millennials will never be too old for Lisa Frank, especially when the artist’s playful designs come in a relaxing activity book. Watercolor brings the rainbow characters in this collection to life. Just gather some painting supplies and put on a podcast for a relaxing, nostalgia-fueled afternoon.

Buy it: Urban Outfitters

5. Shoebox Tape Recorder with USB; $28

Amazon

The days of recording mix tapes don’t have to be over. This device looks and functions just like tape recorders from the pre-smartphone era. And with a USB port as well as a line-in jack and built-in mic, users can easily import their digital music collection onto retro cassette tapes.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Days of the Week Scrunchie Set; $12

Urban Outfitters

Millennials can be upset that a trend from their youth is old enough to be cool again, or they can embrace it. This scrunchie set is for anyone happy to see the return of the hair accessory. The soft knit ponytail holders come in a set of five—one for each day of the school (or work) week.

Buy it: Urban Outfitters

7. D&D Graphic T-shirt; $38-$48

80s Tees

The perfect gift for the Dungeon Master in your life, this graphic tee is modeled after the cover of the classic Dungeons & Dragons rule book. It’s available in sizes small through 3XL.

Buy it: 80s Tees

8. Chuck E. Cheese T-shirt; $36-$58

80s Tees

Few Millennials survived childhood without experiencing at least one birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. This retro T-shirt sports the brand’s original name: Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre. It may be the next-best gift for a Chuck E. Cheese fan behind a decommissioned animatronic.

Buy it: 80s Tees

9. The Nightmare Before Christmas Picnic Blanket Bag; $40

Shop Disney

Fans of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas will recognize the iconic scene on the front of this messenger bag. Unfold it and the bag becomes a blanket fit for a moonlit picnic among the pumpkins. The bottom side is waterproof and the top layer is made of soft fleece.

Buy it: Shop Disney

10. Toy Story Alien Socks; $15

Shop Disney

You don’t need to be skilled at the claw machine to take home a pair of these socks. Decorated with the aliens from Toy Story, they’re made from soft-knit fabric and are big enough to fit adult feet.

Buy it: Shop Disney

11. Goosebumps Board Game; $24

Amazon

Fans that read every book in R.L. Stine’s series growing up can now play the Goosebumps board game. In this game, based on the Goosebumps movie, players take on the role of their favorite monster from the series and race to the typewriter at the end of the trail of manuscripts.

Buy it: Amazon

12. Tamagotchi Mini; $19

Amazon

If you know someone who killed their Tamagotchi in the '90s, give them another chance to show off their digital pet-care skills. This Tamagotchi is a smaller, simplified version of the original game. It doubles as a keychain, so owners have no excuse to forget to feed their pet.

Buy it: Amazon

13. SNES Classic; $275

Amazon

The SNES Classic is much easier to find now than when it first came out, and it's still just as entertaining for retro video game fans. This mini console comes preloaded with 21 Nintendo games, including Super Mario Kart and Street Fighter II.

Buy it: Amazon

14. Planters Cheez Balls; $24

Amazon

Planters revived its Cheez Balls in 2018 after pulling them from shelves nearly a decade earlier. To Millennials unaware of that fact, this gift could be their dream come true. The throwback snack even comes in the classic canister fans remember.

Buy it: Amazon

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10 Great Gifts for Teens

Fjallraven/Polaroid
Fjallraven/Polaroid

If it’s been a few years since you were a teenager, you might be feeling at a loss when it comes to finding the perfect gift for the teen in your life. But you don’t have to worry—we’ve culled the internet to figure out what’s cool these days, and we found 10 items to suit any teen (and any price point).

1. Fjällräven Kånken Mini Classic Backpack for Everyday; $70

Fjällräven/Amazon

Fjällräven’s Kånken backpack was originally introduced in 1978 as an affordable and comfortable bag for Swedish schoolchildren, but it recently took off as a trend among American high schoolers and college students. With 43 different color options, chances are you’ll be able to find the perfect trendy backpack for the teen in your life.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Hydro Flask Standard-Mouth Water Bottle; $30–$35

Hydro Flask/Amazon

Hydro Flasks aren’t only trendy, they’re sturdy and environmentally friendly. Plus, they keep hot drinks warm and icy drinks cool for an absurdly long amount of time. The standard-mouth water bottle is currently available on Amazon in 17 different colors, but the brand also offers tumbler cups and coffee mugs depending on your niece/nephew/cousin/friend/child’s preference.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Polaroid Originals OneStep+ Bluetooth-Connected Instant Film Camera; $140

Polaroid Originals/Amazon

Teens can kick it back old school with this Polaroid camera that hides some surprisingly contemporary features. Using a special app, users can fine-tune their camera settings to suit their personal tastes. Plus, this camera makes it possible to capture two scenes in a single frame, so it's that much easier to create uniquely artsy Polaroid pics.

Buy it: Amazon

4. 4th-Generation Echo Dot with Clock; $60

Amazon

Tech-wise, the fourth-generation Echo Dot is almost identical to its third-generation predecessor. But the updated spherical design seems poised to make the Echo Dot a worthy contender for traditional alarm clocks—the speaker face shows the time and it even includes a tap-to-snooze function for drowsy sleepers.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Bubble Tea Kit; $38

Uncommon Goods

Part of the reason bubble tea is so popular is that it’s customizable—and what could be more customizable than making it yourself? This kit, made by an Atlanta-based couple, comes with two reusable straws and enough supplies to make up to eight servings.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

6. Mixtape Card Game; $20

Uncommon Goods

This party game challenges players to find the perfect songs to suit specific prompts. Some cards might prompt players to use Spotify or Youtube to search for the songs with the best guitar solos, while other cards call for participants to play their “favorite slow dance love jam from junior high.” This game is sure to be a hit at any high school sleepover or house party—or, in true 2020 style, at any digital hangout or Zoom meeting.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

7. Giant Flour Tortilla Throw Blanket; $18-$35

Mermaker/Amazon

This goofy double-sided blanket turns any human into a giant-size burrito, and it comes in four different sizes to suit any height. One reviewer even went so far as to say that “once you wrap yourself in it, you will be convinced that you are a burrito.”

Buy it: Amazon

8. The Cup of Destiny; $22

Shelter Harbor Press/Amazon

Here’s a prediction: Your hunt for the perfect gift is almost over. This kit is ideal for the teenager who is fascinated by the supernatural and loves exploring new ideas. Included, you’ll find a 96-page illustrated instruction book along with a cup and a saucer marked with patterns and symbols.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Wreck This Journal: Now in Color; $9

Penguin Books/Amazon

This journal is not intended to be pretty. It’s made for messiness and exploration and a little bit of chaos. Artistic-minded teens will love filling out pages that prompt them to catalog various stains or poke holes through the paper. Reviewers say it’s not only a source of creative inspiration, though—it’s also a stress reliever. And considering that the middle-school and high-school years aren’t exactly known for being relaxing, this journal could be a welcome reprieve from the daily pressure of managing homework and a social life.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Therapy Dough; $15

Uncommon Goods

Some teens focus better and relax more easily when they have something to fidget with. If the teen in your life fits that description, this therapy dough may be the perfect gift for them. Each 4.5-ounce container is infused with essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, orange, or pine, making relaxation smell delicious (and all natural!).

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

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