Annual Friday 13th Dinner
Fighting Superstitions With Fine Dining
Allegedly held at least since 1780s, this is a traditional superstition-defying bad-luck-omen-denying Annual Dinner for the men (and women) of reason and science.
There are written records of this event held in 1860s and 1880s and a few much publicised photographs of such a dinner held at the Eccentric Club on Friday, the 13th of November 1936 (on the left).
Once upon a time there was even an independent 'Thirteen Club' in London in the 19th century.
And, of course, there were its American variations.
Almost ritualistic similarities were present in these clubs on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean: initiating and counting their members in 'thirteens', arranging the dining tables in such a manner that 13 guests were to dine at each, having a compulsory entrance to the club for everyone under an open ladder, while the seats were surrounded by the open umbrellas, figures of the black cats and crows, numbers 13 and the peacock feathers and the tables featured spilt salt and crossed knives.
The club dinner was usually served in a reverse order, starting with a word of goodbye and a toast and finishing with wishing everyone 'bon appetit'.
In Britain, a lot of the Thirteen Club members were not only the scientists, teachers and 'men of reason' but also the magicians and entertainers many of whom were also members of the Eccentric Club.
So, by the 1930s it merged with the Eccentric Club, which was having then its splendid premises right in the heart of the London Clubland - in Ryder Street, St James's.
The numbers of the original 'Thirteeners' were gradually dropping, but along with that it became a regular custom at the Eccentric Club to hold once a year a Friday 13th Dinner where the scientists would make the speeches about the cutting edge discoveries, the magicians and entertainers would treat the members and the guests to their performances and everyone would challenge and defy the superstitions of the past.
Look deep into your soul and see whether you are ready to dare to join such eccentric diners and face your irrational fears, walk under the Ladder of Fate and smile into the face of Lady Luck?!..