I'm not a particularly superstitious person. I'll walk under ladders, break mirrors and talk baby talk to black cats that cross my path. I live on the edge like that. You won't see me throwing salt over my shoulder or spinning around a designated number of times. I'm certainly not afraid of Friday the 13th.
Like many beliefs, the fear of Friday the Thirteenth (paraskevidekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia) isn't particularly based on scientific logic. But the really strange thing is that most of the people who believe the day is unlucky can't explain why they think so. As with most superstitions, people fear Friday the 13th for its own sake, without any need for background information. Here's a little bit of trivia that they might use to rationalize their fear:
•Today is one of three Friday the 13ths in 2012. January, April and July all begin on Sundays this year which means the 13th day falls on a Friday.
•Tattoo parlors often offer specials for those who choose to permanently commemorate the day.
•Some believe the fear of Friday the 13th goes back to the Garden of Eden. Supposedly Eve offered Adam the forbidden fruit on a Friday and they were then ejected from Paradise.
•It is estimated that tens of millions of people worldwide are affected by paraskevidekatriaphobia, many of them so much so that they will not drive a car, leave the house, or even get out of bed.
•Famous paraskevidekatriaphobes include Napoleon Bonaparte and President Herbert Hoover.
•Four of the twelve movies in the Friday the 13th franchise have been released on Friday the 13th, including the original (1980) its sequel (1981) and the 2009 remake.
•In 1996, legendary rapper Tupac Shakur died on Friday the 13th.
•The earliest mention of the unlucky day is thought to be in Henry Sutherland Edwards' biography about Italian composer Gioachino Rossini in 1869.
•Friday the 13th became better known after the release of a 1907 novel by Thomas W. Lawson that tells the story of a broker who creates a financial panic on the infamous day.
•In Spanish-speaking countries, Tuesday the 13th (or martes trece) is considered a day of bad luck.
•Rock band Black Sabbath's self-titled debut album was released on Friday, February 13, 1970.
•The 13th book in A Series of Unfortunate Events was released on Friday, October 13, 2006 by Lemony Snicket, also known as novelist Daniel Handler.
•On Friday, August 13, 2004, Hurricane Charley slammed in to Southwest Florida as a Category 4 hurricane, the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since 1992.
•On Friday, January 13, 2012, the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia sank in front of the island of Isola del Giglio, killing at least sixteen aboard and injuring 64.
Clinically diagnosed fears are nothing to laugh about and can really be a burden to those that are afflicted, but paraskevidekatriaphobia is probably not the worst because it doesn't happen very often. This year, interestingly, is the first time since 1984 that three Friday the 13ths are spaced exactly thirteen weeks apart. But, don't be afraid, this strange coincidence won't happen again till 2040.
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