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YouTube disappears from the web

The curse of Friday the 13th appears to have struck at Google's headquarters - taking down its popular video sharing service YouTube for a period of time.

The site has, to speak colloquially, gone for a burton - responding to requests with a terse 'Service Unavailable' error message. Thus far, there is no explanation for the outage - suggesting that supernatural forces beyond our ken may be at work.

The more superstitious among our readership will already know that Friday the 13th is famed for being the day on which bad things happen - leading to a fear of the day among many, known as friggatriskaidekaphobia.

Despite no scientific basis for the superstition, many still hold a healthy respect for the powers of Friday the 13th - and it's starting to look like Google's server engineers should start counting themselves among that number.

So far, Google has yet to comment on the outage - one of the biggest the video-sharing site has had in a while, with complete access cut off for all users across the world. We've asked them what's happening, but have so far only received a stony, eerie silence.

We've also seen eery messages saying 'Http/1.1 Service Unavailable' and 'The server encountered a temporary error and could not complete your request. Please try again in 30 seconds.'

While the site appears to be back online at the time of writing, issues surrounding the outage may still prevent some videos from playing back correctly. Should we receive an explanation from Google, we shall let you know.