Would you rather stay in bed on Friday the 13th – are you someone who suffers from friggatriskaidekaphobia? Or are you more likely to tempt fate?
Are you trying to decide whether or not to get up tomorrow? And, if you’ve decided you’ll chance it, whether you’ll actually leave the house? It’s a serious consideration for many people with friggatriskaidekaphobia, or fear of Friday the 13th.
It seems that as many as 17 to 21 million people may be wrestling with this fear tomorrow. Many of those people refrain from going to work or making other plans, such as travelling, on days when the 13th falls on a Friday.
Unlucky for the economy
The Stress Management Centre and Phobia Institute, based in Asheville, North Carolina, estimates that $800 million to $900 million US is lost every Friday the 13th, as people avoid doing business or flying.
It all started when?
The origins of this superstition are shrouded in the mists of time—and as many layers of mystery and theories. No one is really sure, but the number 13 has been considered unlucky since Judas arrived as the final guest at the Last Supper. That Christ was subsequently crucified on a Friday, according to theologians, .is either a coincidence or really unlucky, depending upon your susceptibility to friggatriskaidekaphobia.
Why do we fear Friday the 13th?
Though the origins of friggatriskaidekaphobia are debatable, the real question is why so many people are still so afraid every time the 13th happens to land on a Friday.
Psychologists generally believe that we in the West are so acculturated from an early age to regard Friday the 13th as unlucky that we often don’t even question it. If we experience something bad on a Friday the 13th, the belief then has a concrete association.
According to Thomas Gilovich, professor in the Department of Psychology at Cornell University, “The mind is an associative system, and if anything bad happens to you on Friday the 13th, the two will be forever associated in your mind—and all those uneventful days when the 13th fell on a Friday will be ignored.”
For as many friggatriskaidekaphobia sufferers in our midst, there are probably an equal number of skeptics who look forward to walking squarely into the breach on Friday the 13th. Since 1981, motorcycle enthusiasts have been gathering in Port Dover, Ontario every Friday the 13th to celebrate with beer tents, live music, and merchandise.
The Skeptical Inquirer magazine offers suggestions for anyone wanting to host a superstition bash, which they recommend be held on a Friday the 13th. Some of the fun includes an obstacle course that begins by walking under a ladder into a room filled with open umbrellas and includes breaking mirrors, spilling salt as well as milk, and sitting under upside down horseshoes—among many other scary things.
Happy Friday the 13th!
What do you plan to do tomorrow? Would you get married on Friday the 13th or make a large investment? If you’re like most of us, tomorrow will be just another day. But if you happen to see a black cat in your path—turn around—fast!