Alton Towers defied our superstitious fears earlier this month by refusing to close its famous TH13RTEEN roller coaster on June’s Friday 13th.
The unnerving ride, which aims to instil fear of both a physical and psychological nature, opened in 2009 on the site of the old Corkscrew roller coaster. It is situated in the park’s Dark Forest section along with speed-defying Rita.
TH13TEEN was closed for a day in 2010 when Alton Towers bosses believed many visitors would be deterred from riding it on the superstitious Friday 13th. But this year, bosses made the U-turn decision to keep the coaster open so that braver visitors could ride if they wanted to.
Theme park bosses said: “It was just during August 2012 that [the ride was] closed, and it was renamed FOURTEEN for the day.”
TH13TEEN is renowned for being the UK’s first free-fall drop roller coaster and is based around the discovery of an unearthed crypt on an ancient burial site.
Its home – Dark Forest – is designed as a supernatural area of the park that has supposedly been taken over by by the recent excavation.
According to a recent survey by insurance firm MoreThan.com, around 31.6 million Brits are openly superstitious, with 1.5 million following superstitions ten times a day or more. 14 percent admitted they placed even more importance on old wives’ tales than visiting their own GP.
One in ten of the UK population said in addition that they would not ride a roller coaster on Friday 13th. One particularly superstitious construction worker who helped to build TH13TEEN had to stop work due to his fear of the number. He later sought help from a hypnotherapist to help him overcome his condition.
Surprisingly, 49 percent of us don’t know where our superstitions come from, but this doesn’t stop these older-than-time tales from having a significant impact on people’s lives today. Almost two thirds of people in the West Midlands have admitted they are nervous about going out on a Friday 13th, and a third even go as far as changing their daily routine.
Other common superstitious beliefs include walking under ladders and breaking mirrors, both of which are believed to bring bad luck. Touching wood, meanwhile, is widely believed to be lucky.
On the grand scale, the most superstitious age group is said to be 16 to 34 year olds. 74 percent of women are superstitious compared to just 50 percent of men, and Glasgow and Nottingham seem to be the most superstitious cities in the UK, while Manchester and Sheffield are the least.