Table for 13

How superstitious are you? Did you want to go back to bed when you realized that today is Friday the 13th? Would you turn down a job if it meant working on the 13th floor? Would you change your route if you saw a black cat cross your path? Strangely, black cats are considered good luck in the United Kingdom. And not everyone believes in those old superstitions. Whether you do or not, you'll appreciate the story of how the Savoy Hotel in London confronted a superstition and in the process gained its mascot.

The story of Kaspar, the Savoy cat, began in 1898 when another table of thirteen didn’t end very well. Woolf Joel, a South African businessman who often stayed at the Savoy hotel, had a dinner party for some friends. There was supposed to be fourteen of them, but at the last minute one of them was unable to attend. This reduced them to a party of thirteen – an unlucky number. They enjoyed their meal, but at the end, one of the guests brought up the superstition that the first one to leave a table of thirteen would die within a year. They all laughed a bit nervously, then Mr. Joel, the host, got up saying that he didn’t believe in superstitions and that he would gladly be the first to leave.

He left for Johannesburg the next day where he was shot and died within a few weeks. This made people believe even more in the “unlucky thirteen superstition.” The Savoy Hotel was convinced too, and they wanted to make sure it never happened again at their establishment.

The hotel staff eventually came up with a clever workaround. Read the rest of the story at The Curious Rambler.


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