Thursday, 22 July 2010



The Alton Towers Resort has confirmed it will not be running new ride TH13TEEN on Friday 13th August. The decision follows in-depth research which found that over 30 million Brits* consider themselves superstitious and that one in three will change their behaviour on Friday 13th August for fear of bad luck. As a result, the Alton Towers Resort has made the unexpected decision to temporarily close the ride as they fear that a large proportion of visitors will not feel comfortable riding a rollercoaster named after the number 13 on what many feel is the nation’s unluckiest day.

According to the research, which was undertaken in conjunction with superstition expert Professor Bruce Hood from the University of Bristol, a surprising two thirds (64%) of people in the UK are superstitious – with the majority of superstitions based around bad luck. Nine out of ten people admitted to acting on these fears and a quarter (one in four) believe that Friday 13th is unlucky. Such precautions are not as trivial as they may seem, with loss of business due to superstition estimated to cost the US economy $800-900 million every Friday 13th**.

As a result, the Alton Towers Resort has decided to take the controversial step of closing TH13TEEN for the day on Friday 13th August – the first time the theme park has chosen to close a ride. TH13TEEN, which opened in March 2010, is the UK’s first ‘free-fall drop’ coaster and is based on the discovery of an unearthed crypt. Built on an ancient burial site, TH13TEEN takes riders on a gruelling journey through the Dark Forest where they face a battle with the unknown.

According to Professor Hood, the author of “SuperSense: From Superstition to Religion - The Brain Science of Belief,” these findings are not surprising. He said, “There is little evidence that superstitions have declined over the past 10 years and indeed recent studies show they increase in times of economic recession. People don’t like to tempt fate.”

Morwenna Angove, Sales and Marketing Director at the Alton Towers Resort said, “Our research has revealed that Brits are a seriously superstitious bunch and as our latest ride is named after the unluckiest of numbers, we’ve taken the decision to close that ride on Friday 13th to reassure our visitors. The rest of the Alton Towers Resort will, of course, be open for business as usual for braver guests! THI3TEEN may be the most technologically advanced rollercoaster in the UK but guests can still enjoy our other famous rides such as Nemesis and Oblivion, as well as our fun family attractions and amazing entertainment.”

Research Stats
• 31.6 Million Brits are superstitious
• 1 in 10 of the UK population would not go on a rollercoaster on Friday the 13th
• A third of people (32%) change their behaviour on Friday the 13th for fear of bad luck
• Most popular superstitious beliefs:
- Breaking a mirror is a bad omen (61%)
- Walking under a ladder is bad luck (59%)
- Touching wood makes something come true (45%)
• 16-34 year olds are the most superstitious age group with 73% considering themselves to be superstitious compared to 58% of 45-54 year olds.
• 64% of people believe in superstitions
• Glasgow and Norwich are the most superstitious cities in the UK, Manchester and Sheffield are the least
• Women (74%) are more superstitious than men (50%)
• 49% of people do not know where their superstitions originate from


For more information please contact the Alton Towers Resort PR team on 0207 693 6999 or email
The MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS GROUP is the leading name in location based, family entertainment, which has seen the most successful and dynamic growth of any company in the sector over the last five years. Europe’s number one, and the world’s second largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin has 62 attractions and 6 hotels in 12 countries, across 3 continents. The company aims to deliver memorable and rewarding experiences to its 38.5 million visitors worldwide, through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its managers and more than 14,000 employees. Merlin Entertainments operates the following attractions – SEA LIFE – the world’s No 1 aquarium brand, Madame Tussauds, LEGOLAND, The Merlin Entertainments London Eye, Dungeons, Gardaland, LEGOLAND Discovery Centres, Alton Towers Resort, Warwick Castle, THORPE PARK, Chessington World of Adventures, Heide Park, Underwater Adventures, and Earth Explorer.
Notes to editors:
The survey was carried out online by Matters between 15th-19th July and used a nationally representative sample of 1,111 UK adults aged 16+.
* Statistic derived from Office for National Statistics data. UK adult population equals (49,433,600). 64% of UK adults are superstitious. 64% of 49,433,600 equals 31,637,504 UK adults.
**Based on Ng, T, Chong, T & Du, X. (2010). The Value of Superstitions. Journal of Economic Psychology, 31, 293-309.

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