Although the unlucky origins of "Friday the Thirteenth" are historically unclear, one historian suggests that the superstition became widespread after a Boston millionaire wrote and published a novel in the early 20th century. The man was Thomas W. Lawson, and he was well-known in Boston as a stockbroker, copper magnate, businessman, and even U.S. Senate candidate. In 1907, he published Friday, the Thirteenth, which tells the story of a stockbroker who uses the day to create a stock market crash. The story was a precautionary tale about stock market manipulation, but it's also one of the earliest instances of the day being considered unlucky.
The story doesn't end there. Lawson was known for several other ventures, including his namesake: the giant seven-masted schooner, named, appropriately, the Thomas W. Lawson. The ship was the largest pure sailing vessel ever built, but ultimately crashed and wrecked in a storm. The date? It was the night of December 13, 1907 (a Friday).
Not unlucky: over sixty Boston-area museums and cultural venues will open their doors for free this summer in a series of "Free Fun Fridays."