Paraskavedekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia
The fear so fearsome it has two long names and both of them mean the fear of Friday the 13th. This is a fear that is based heavily on superstition. In fact it is the most common superstition in the western world. Some people show only minor signs of the fear of Friday the 13th. These are people who will not get married on the day or choose not to fly on the day for fear that something bad will happen if they do but otherwise are able to go about their day as normal. Other people’s fear of Friday the 13th will be more debilitating. These people will be calling in sick to work on that day and some will even try their hardest to not even get out of bed for fear something sinister will happen to them if they do.
Most years have one Friday the 13th in them and some years have as many as three. It happens to be the most common day for the 13th to fall on. Apparently there is a Friday the 13th just about every 213 days.
Where does this fear come from?
Numerologists consider the number twelve to be the number of completeness. There certainly are many reasons why this is considered as much. Think about how many things are based on the number twelve such as 12 hours on the clock, 12 months in the year, 12 signs of the zodiac and the number 12 is also prevalent in many religions as well. Therefore one thought is that the number 13 was one more than this completeness of twelve and that meant only bad things could happen.
This fear or superstition surrounding the number 13 is said to date back as far as 1780 BCE where in the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, the thirteenth law was omitted on purpose. Judas was said to be the 13th guest at the last supper and he was the one who betrayed Jesus (although there is no real proof of when he arrived). Loki, of Norse Mythology was said to be the thirteenth god who supposedly plotted the murder of Balder and then arrived as the thirteenth guest at his funeral. Many tall buildings have no 13th floor they go right from the 12th to the 14th or label the bottom floor as the ground floor so that they do not need to call the top floor the 13th floor. In tradition there are 13 knots on a hangman’s noose and thirteen steps to the gallows. Even when NASA tried to avoid buying into the fear of the number 13 the Apollo 13 mission ended in such tragedy that the number was unable to shake off its unlucky reputation. Triskaidekaphobia is the name given to this fear of the number 13.
In some cultures and religions Friday is considered an unlucky day. Many sailors used to refuse to begin a voyage on a Friday. Cain murdered Abel supposedly on a Friday. Adam was tempted by Eve supposedly on a Friday. Noah drifted off safely in the Ark as the floods began supposedly on a Friday. Friday is the day Christians observe as the day Jesus was crucified. Some argue that the fear of Fridays is called Friggaphobia.
Combine superstitions surrounding Fridays and those surrounding the number 13 and you have a double whammy.
Those of you who have read the Dan Brown books or are just really good at history might also recall the reference to The Knights Templar and their demise occurring on October 13, 1307 which also happened to be a Friday. Then the last Grand Master of The Knights Templar was burned outside Notre Dame on Friday, March 13, 1314.
A study was conducted in Britain in 1993 that showed evidence that despite the fact that less people were on the roads on Friday the 13th than had been even the week before, the accident and emergency department saw an increase in the number of automobile related accidents.
I myself have never feared Friday the 13th as a day, in fact I always considered it to be a lucky day based on winning some tickets to a concert on that day back in the high school years. My daughter also has the 13th as her date of birth and I consider the safe birth of her one of my luckiest and happiest days.
I am however mildly creeped out by the Friday the 13th films. I have no desire to ever bump into Jason or visit that lake.
What about you? Do you have a little superstitious side? Do you hide away on Friday the 13th or is it just another day?
How about literature surrounding Friday the 13th, read any good books?