(Investigator 53, 1997 March)

Twenty million Americans react to Friday the 13th with feelings ranging from concern to fear and total terror. Rearranged schedules and absence from work costs American industry $US750 million each time!

Adelaide’s courageous Skeptics laugh at such superstition! However, dozens of spiders descending and rising on silky threads from trees caused anxiety and made the Skeptics check their food between bites!

The location was the West Terrace Cemetery at twilight on Friday 13th in December.

Planned attendance at the chicken & salad supper was 39 (equal to three "covens" of 13).

Stretching as far as the eye could see were 56,000 grave-sites housing about 250,000 dead.

The Grim Reaper made an appearance

After dark David McGowin, cemetery superintendent, conducted a guided tour by candle and lantern light. To allay concern about walking close to graves he said, "There is no recorded instance of anyone groaning and saying ‘get off.’"

Introductions to over two dozen of the dead followed. For example:

Straight rows of Lutheran graves contrasted with a more haphazard arrangement of Catholic graves. "Irish grave-diggers," explained Mr McGowin. "They dug the softest spots."

The west Terrace Cemetery had the Southern Hemisphere’s first crematorium – built in 1902. Prior to that cremations were done on wood fires at Adelaide beaches.

A check with John Foley [Secretary of the Skeptics Association] confirmed that all the skeptics got home safe – despite the unlucky date, the time (late at night) and the ghosts.