Ooh, Interesting! Fascinating Facts - The 13 Club Dinner Parties

December 02, 2016

We provide entertainment to dinner parties every single week; corporate parties often include a sit down dinner or buffet and it’s great chance to allow workers to let down their hair, relax and possibly even network with a few of their clientele. What we don’t ordinarily do however, is provide event entertainment to dinner parties focused around The 13 Club. They died out sometime around the 1920s despite the fact that five original members were either the current, past or future President. Intrigued? Read on!

The idea for The 13 Club or The Thirteen Club depending on how you want it to look is based around the fear of the number 13. It’s a common phobia that many people have but like many superstitions, it’s also completely irrational. Though nobody quite knows why there is a fear surrounding the number 13, the superstition continues to this day. Various hotels refuse to have a 13th floor (it goes 12 then 14 in the largest), whilst Ireland changed their entire car registration system in 2013 in order to avoid having to use the number.

In the 1880s, a man named William Fowler had decided enough was enough in regards to this nonsense and decided to confront various superstitions head on. The fear of the number 13 or triskaidekaphobia as it’s also known was so ridiculous to Fowler that he opted to invited twelve guests to dinner. As host, he would be the thirteenth person to enjoy the meal and as the superstition goes (which even got a mention in Harry Potter) the first person to get up from the table would be the first person to die. Sinister!

Having lived a long and fruitful life up until this idea, where he has seen the number 13 in all walks of life, Fowler invited a number of friends to his anti-13 gathering and went above and beyond the call of duty by including various other superstitions at the meal. It took place on Friday 13th January at 7.13pm and guests actually had to walk under a ladder to get to their seat. Salt was spilled and duly ignored, whilst their forks were crossed into the shape of an ‘X’. It’s fair to say that Fowler left no stone unturned in his bid to host the scariest private party of all time.

The result?

Every man at the table enjoyed a pretty good twelve months and nobody died. In fact, they decided to continue the tradition by meeting on the 13th every month, superstitions be damned! By 1887, the Thirteen Club had amassed a bit of a cult following and 400 members were counted in their ranks. By the end of the 19th century, it wasn’t just a male thing either; ‘Ladies Clubs’ had popped up for women to enjoy and the whole thing was in danger of getting out of control.

…And then the idea simply vanished. By the 1920s, the fad was no more. Thirteen Clubs had ceased to be and nobody quite knows why. There was no real victim of the number 13 except, it seems, The 13 Club itself. Strange. Would they even work in the modern world? Perhaps not, after all how often can you convince 12 of your friends to be free at the exact same time? Still, if somebody does want to hold one, we have a whole host of entertainment options for your guests to enjoy!



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By Henry Fosdike