Missouri Daily Life

The full moon rises beyond a tall building Wednesday, Aug. 14, in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

As musician Stevie Wonder once crooned, “When you believe in things that you don’t understand, then you suffer. Superstition ain’t the way.”

Despite Stevie’s warning, some folks give in to ages-old superstitions that come along with a daunting date like Friday the 13th. The unlucky day capping off the second week of September this year is accompanied by a full Harvest Moon. Lucky us.

To top that off, the Harvest Moon will reach its peak at 11:33 p.m., central time. Check out the number appearing in the middle of that peak time. Coincidence?

Whether coincidence or old wives’ tales, some locals admit that the thought of crossing the path of a black cat or stepping on a sidewalk crack gives them an uneasy feeling. Larissa Czyzewski of Sigel was born on Friday the 13th in October 1995, but she doesn’t see that as a bad omen.

Czyzewski’s father, Ed Boswell, thinks otherwise, according to Czyzewski.

“I like to say it’s a great day, but my dad is super superstitious and used to joke that I was bad luck,” Czyzewski said.


Larissa Czyzewski and her father, Ed Boswell, on Larissa’s wedding day.

Czyzewski said her dad has several superstitions that don’t just attach themselves to Friday the 13th. Boswell will go out of his way to avoid black cats, will not sit with his back to a door or window and must exit through the door he entered.

In addition to that, Czyzewski said her father refuses to enter through the front door of a home and leave out of the back door of the home. He also finds it unlucky to wear one shoe or sock or walk around with one shoe or sock, and Czyzewski said he believes it’s bad luck to put shoes on a table.

Czyzewski’s due date back in 1995 was just the icing on the cake for her father, but he nearly dodged the proverbial unlucky bullet — Czyzewski was originally due on Nov. 4 but was born three weeks early.


Larissa Czyzewski holds her Dad, Ed Boswell’s, hand in this photo taken when Czyzewski was 4 years old.

Czyzewski could not confirm the origins of her father’s superstitions, but said she is unafraid of these same bad luck signs.

Czyzewski said her father will likely be home Friday, and that’s where he’ll stay. She said one of his superstitions is staying inside and not going out on a Friday the 13th.

Superstitions like Boswell’s date back to Biblical times, according to History.com. An article on the site said that in Christian tradition, 13 guests attended the Last Supper, which was the day before Jesus’ Crucifixion. Christian superstition says that having 13 people at a table is a bad omen.

A full moon on a Friday the 13th is the worst fear of an emergency medical responder, according to paramedic Brittany Loy of Watson.

Loy will be working Friday, her first Friday the 13th on the job. Loy described medics as the most superstitious people she knows.

“I’m nervous but excited for Friday. I’ve probably worked a 13th before, but not as a medic,” Loy said.

Among some of the superstitions of medics are having their pillow cases open face down, not polishing their boots and not saying “the Q” word (or “quiet” for those non-medic people ... sorry Brittany!)

Others have recalled past Friday the 13ths and nights lit by full moons when they had to deal with the strange behavior of others. LeeAnn Sapp of Effingham worked for the Greyhound bus company from 1982 to 1985, during which she had several experiences with passengers on full moon nights and Friday the 13th dates.

“Passengers that came into the post house were hungry, sleepy and worn out from traveling. However, during a full moon, we experienced passengers who were hyper, laughing, extra friendly and very messy,” Sapp said.

Sapp said passengers would also spend more money than usual on days of full moons.

So, take Stevie Wonder’s advice or leave it. Just remember to avoid walking under ladders, spilling salt or breaking a mirror because if any of these instances happen, you may stumble into things you don’t understand.

Kaitlin Cordes can be reached at kaitlin.cordes@effinghamdailynews.com or 217-347-7 151 ext. 132.


Kaitlin Cordes covers Effingham County, police and courts and sports features for the Effingham Daily News. She earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University. Cordes is a native of Effingham.

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