Alton Towers Suspends Superstitious Ride on Friday 13th

Alton Towers Cancels Superstitious Ride on Friday 13th

It would appear that the superstitious fear of Friday 13th has pushed the managers at Alton Towers to temporarily close their recently opened ride, “Thirteen” on this auspicious day. I was contacted by a market research company that conducted a large scale phone poll of superstitious beliefs in 1,111 adults chosen at random from up and down the country. What they found was very similar to surveys undertaken by Gallup of the UK population over the past 10 year.

People are remarkably consistent with around two thirds saying that they had some form of superstitious belief with again the usual male-female split in the data. Half the males sampled (N=477) and three quarters of the females (N=634) said they had some superstitious belief. Also interesting was the finding that the youngest demographics of 16-24 years and 25-34 (75%) were more superstitious than the older groups of 45-54 and 55+ (60%). The least superstitious city surveyed was Belfast while the most was Glasgow. Finally, about half of the respondents thought their beliefs came from others but the most common source was, “I do not know, I just have them.”

However, to close a ride down is simply reinforcing the general perception that there is something to be feared. There again, estimates of the cost of lost business on Friday the 13th is said to be somewhere between $800-900 million in the US alone and as I previously blogged, more Californian Asians die on the fourth day of the month because the Chinese and Japanese words for the number 4 sound like the word for ‘death.’ We also know that sportsmen perform better when they are allowed to indulge their rituals so psychologically, superstitions work. Who am I to devalue the power of belief?

I understand that there has been some discussion about this on Facebook. I, for one, would quite willingly take the ride on Friday 13th. What about you?

10 Comments

Filed under General Thoughts

10 responses to “Alton Towers Suspends Superstitious Ride on Friday 13th

  1. In Japan many numbered parking lots skip number four, too. I have also seen high rises in the US that skips the thirteenth floor (though they cheat and call i 14th, rather than actually having nothing there at all, which would looks spectacular).

  2. Kirst D'Raven

    Thats ace.. Arent belief systems brilliant?

  3. jacarandamimosifolia

    Presumably, closing a ride on the thirteenth (that you’ve called ‘Thirteen’ to scare people) , in case it, er, scares people is simply a slightly silly PR stunt. People might even write about it and comment on it in blogs….The consistency of superstitious belief is clearly a gift to the PR industry!

  4. Are they expecting a mass slaying of Knights Templar or something?

  5. My daughter went on 13 the other day. She said it was ‘OK’. Damned with feint praise.
    Nice PR move by the theme park, I say.

  6. Solus

    If other people are so concerned that something might go wrong, I’d be more likely to avoid the ride just in case some nervous ride operator has a panic attack at the controls.

  7. Anonymous

    THAT IS STUPID

  8. Lisa the Lipstick

    this may have no relavance to this post exactly, but i was interested in your book Bruce. as much as i dread reading i will try and pick up a copy and make my way through it. i may be reading into this, but i am curious to see what you or anyone else thinks this sign might be about. anyway the sign is every day for over a year or so i have seen the word blind or watched a movie and a blind person is in it only to turn the movie off to hear a news report about a blind person. i woke up today and turned on my itunes and wouldn’t you know it the first song of over 7000 songs that played is called blind eyes by Fad Gadget. now some of you are probably like you are crazy some of you may think maybe it’s not literal and it’s saying i’m blind to the world of some sort. whatever the case i am superstitious to a point and i fear going blind. both my grandmothers did before they died, well one almost did and had cataracts. so again am i crazy and just focusing to much o this or is this some sort of cosmic sign or am i gonna go blind and the universe is warning me!!!!!! btw since i’ve been up and on line i’ve seen the word blind 3 times. not only that my ex girlfriend just told me she met a lesbian named Lisa who is blind. wtf now tell me that isn’t crazy!!!!!!! cheers

    • brucehood

      Dear Lisa,
      I think you may be pleasantly surprised how easy the book is to read and yet, I think it has something important to say. Your experience of the word blind sounds very strange…. all I can say is that our lives are punctuated by the weird and strange because that’s how our brains interpret. It’s not to say that there isn’t something there just that such experiences do not add up to much. If both your grandmothers went blind (and all of us lose some of our sight … the lens of the eye becomes more stiff as we age) then maybe there is some predisposition but I do not think that there is anything supernatural to worry about. Why not see an optometrist to alleviate your concerns?
      Best
      Bruce

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