Students reveal Friday the 13th superstitions

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A full moon, often associated with Halloween and ghosts, is pictured on a dark night. Friday the 13th lands in October this year, prompting BYU students to consider what superstitions and paranormal activities they believe in. (Pexels)

Friday the 13th is a date long associated with misfortune and superstition. Several BYU students weighed in on if this date lives up to its spooky name and if they believe in the paranormal.

In Christian tradition, the superstition surrounding Friday the 13th stems from 13 men being present at the Last Supper, with Judas Iscariot being the last guest to arrive as well as Friday being the day of Christ’s crucifixion. The 1980s horror film series “Friday the 13th” also contributed to the superstition surrounding the infamous day.

The next Friday the 13th in October will not happen again until 2028.

Although not everyone may subscribe to Friday the 13th superstitions, some students across BYU campus believe in spooky superstitions and paranormal encounters.

“Almost every BYU student I’ve talked to about it seems to believe in ghosts, and seems to have had an experience with it of some sort,” Kaden Gunn, a sophomore studying neuroscience from West Jordan, Utah, said. 

When asked why, Gunn said he believes it is because the majority of students are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — although he himself is more skeptical of the stories. Gunn’s friend Luke Albrechsten, a freshman studying cybersecurity from Billings, Montana, claims to have had supernatural encounters of his own.

“On my mission I had a couple strange experiences … that it would be really hard for me to not believe in ghosts,” Albrechsten said.

Albrechsten served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico City, Mexico, and said a lot of his friends who also served missions in Latin America have echoed his belief in the paranormal.

Alena Dixon, a 23-year-old grad student studying speech pathology from Henderson, Nevada, had her own experience with the paranormal two years ago while living at the local Centennial Apartments.

“Every night I have this lamp I would turn on before my big light just because it’s nighttime and I’m getting ready for bed … The lamp sat on my roommates desk, same place, every single night … My roommate goes out of town for COVID, so she’s gone for like a month, and randomly every single night I wake up to a thud around two or three in the morning, and it’s my lamp from her bed that has fallen to the floor,” Dixon said.

Although Dixon was confused, she returned the lamp to her roommate’s desk and went back to bed.

The strange activity started becoming more consistent, with the thudding sound and the lamp being knocked off the desk several times throughout the night. The disturbance would always occur first between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.

“I was like ‘This is getting weird.’ So I was like, I’m going to test it this time,” Dixon said.

Dixon took the lamp and set it on a different desk in the room farther back near the wall. Then, she surrounded the lamp with pencils and a bouncy ball — objects that would roll off the desk with the lamp if there was any type of vibration causing the fall.

“I probably should’ve been more freaked out, but it was finals week, and I was too tired to even care. Some ghost murders me in my sleep, I don’t even care,” Dixon said jokingly.

Dixon said she did not wake up to a thud that night, but around 2 to 3 a.m., she woke up to find the lamp neatly placed on the ground, with the cord pulled tight so it was on the verge of being unplugged. The pencils and bouncy ball she placed on the desk were left untouched. On top of that, Dixon had been locking her bedroom door every night. When she told her roommates the next morning, they were unsettled. 

“The next day we meet with our neighbors at Centennial … and all of a sudden one of them goes ‘Okay I have a serious question for you guys … have you guys noticed any like paranormal activity recently, but mainly like in the night — early morning hours?’ And all of us were just like ‘Um,’” Dixon said.

Dixon’s next-door neighbor then shared her own suspicious experience. Every night, around 2 to 3 a.m., she would be up studying in her living room when she would hear the doorknob to the front door rattle. She would then hear disembodied footsteps move through her apartment as if someone were walking from the front door down the hallway. After, she would hear the footsteps travel to Dixon’s neighboring apartment.

After sharing their uncanny experiences, Dixon and her roommates decided to have their apartment blessed. Dixon said all paranormal activity ceased after the blessing, and she has not experienced anything like it since. 

Mia Smith, an exercise science major from Phoenix, Arizona, said she thinks most BYU students believe in spirits because they are familiar with spirituality and religion. When asked about the significance of Friday the 13th being in October, Smith said she is excited for another opportunity to get “get spooky” this Halloween season. 

There is a variety of ways BYU students can “get spooky” on this uncanny holiday, such as visiting local haunted houses, getting lost in a corn maze or swapping ghost stories over a canyon campfire.

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