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?