Friday the 13th ushers in rare full moon

News Photo by Julie Riddle Alicia Glick, Haley Glick, and Christine Skuse pause in the pickle aisle of the Alpena Walmart to contemplate whether superstitions surrounding Friday the 13th might be worth worrying about.

ALPENA–A full moon and a day drenched in superstition may — or may not — have made Friday just a little more interesting than any other day in Northeast Michigan.

Friday the 13th has long been seen by the superstitious as a day of bad luck, an omen akin to walking under a ladder, spilling salt, or breaking a mirror.

With a story-laden history full of natural disasters, bombings, airplane crashes, and more, the day is linked culturally to the expectation that something bad will happen.

As if the date were not enough to induce the heebie-jeebies, Friday also ushered in a full moon, long connected to images of werewolves and accused of causing erratic behavior and eerie happenings.

Technically, in the Eastern time zone, this weekend’s moon didn’t become full until 12:33 a.m. early this morning, according to NASA. All the same, a full-moon Friday the 13th is a rare event, not expected to happen again for another 30 years.

Did the collision of celestial and earthly calendars make a difference to activity in Alpena and the surrounding area?

Probably not.

Local police were alert for unusual behaviors and extra activity Friday, but weren’t expecting anything too out of the ordinary to occur, Deputy Mike Lash of the Alpena County Sheriff’s Office said.

Full moons and superstitious days, despite their reputations, don’t really make a difference in public behavior or cause an uptick in crime, Lash reported, although “it’s kind of fun to think about.”

Scholarly studies published in the British Medical Journal, American American Journal of Psychiatry, and other respected publications indicate an increase in traffic fatalities on Friday the 13ths, especially among women, and an increase in hospital admissions on those days.

One study summarizes its findings with a dire warning: on Friday the 13th, “The risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52%. Staying at home is recommended.”

Other studies, by other scholars, in the same respected publications, disprove those findings, showing that the 13th Friday is no more or less unlucky than any other day.

Haley Glick, Alicia Glick, and Christine Skuse, all of Lincoln, shopped for dried beans at the Alpena Walmart Friday afternoon. They had barely thought about the superstitions surrounding the day, Skuse said, although Haley learned about this weekend’s extra-special full moon – a micro moon, specialists call it, rare for its small size as well as the date on which it falls – in her Alcona Community Schools classroom.

The women agreed that they weren’t particularly superstitious about the day, but the confluence of the two events was a little unsettling.

“If I were walking down the road knowing it were Friday the 13th and there was a full moon and I saw a black cat…” Skuse said, pausing to shake her head,

“You might go, “Uh-oh,’” Alicia Glick finished for her. “It’s a little creepy.”

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693, jriddle@thealpenanews.com or on Twitter @jriddleX.


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