This notice is for everyone, not only paraskavekedatriaphobians, triskaidekaphobians, and friggatriskaidekaphobians! Be careful and don’t go outside. Bad things happen to good people on Friday the 13th.
Although science assures us that bad things are just as likely to happen on any day of the week and any day of the month, as they are to happen on Friday the 13th, there are people who have a true physical condition which is an exaggerated, irrational fear of Friday the Thirteenth.
This fear even has a name. Several, in fact. The term paraskavekedatriaphobians was first used in the 1990s by Dr. Donald E. Dossey, an American psychotherapist specializing in phobias and stress management. The term uses the Greek word paraskevi (Friday) and dekatria (thirteen). He is reputed as saying that if someone can pronounce the name of the phobia, he/she is cured.
The symptoms resemble any panic attack:
● Rapid heart rate
● Lightheadedness or dizziness
● Refusing to leave home on this day
● Indulging in ritualistic behavior
● Talk of death or dying
Who Is Affected?
The bad news is that millions of people have this phobia, and even more people fear the unlucky number thirteen, a phobia with another long name. The Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute estimated that between $700 to $800 million dollars are lost every Friday the 13th because people are afraid to shop, travel, and conduct business.
IT’S JUST A SUPERSTITION … RIGHT?
The law of averages answers “yes,” but that doesn’t mean bad things don’t happen on Friday the 13th. They happen on other days, but believers don’t take the time to look at all bad luck. Here’s a look at some of the events of the past taken from a number of online articles regarding Friday 13.
French King Philip IV arrested and tortured hundreds of Knights Templar, of the Temple of Solomon, for accusations of blasphemy and homosexuality.
Conquistador Hernán Cortés captured Cuauhtémoc, the ruler of Tenochtitlán, claiming the city for Spain, marking the end of the Aztec Empire, and renaming it Mexico City.
Benjamin Franklin wrote "Everything appears to promise that it will last; but in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes," according to U.S. government documents.
Nathan Bedford Forrest (born July 13, 1821) was the Confederate general in charge of the infamous Fort Pillow Massacre, where he and his men allegedly killed over 200 unarmed Union soldiers that had surrendered (many of whom were black).
While hunting fossils for the American Museum of Natural History in Mongolia, an expedition team led by Roy Chapman Andrews discovered the first scientifically recognized dinosaur egg fossils.
A group of letters was inaugurated in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, to signify a housing development owned by H.J. Whitley called Hollywoodland.
Tennessee Senate voted to prohibit Evolutionary Theory from public universities and schools.
British Interplanetary Society, the oldest space advocacy group in the world, was founded to boost public awareness of astronautics.
Hughes h-1 racer sets a world airspeed record.
The “Black Friday” bush fires in Australia killed 71 people in the Victoria province. Ash fell as far away as New Zealand.
In World War II, the Nazis dropped five bombs on Buckingham Palace on Sept. 13, 1940, while the King and Queen were both at the residence.
State of Kansas was hit with over 25 inches of rain, and over two million acres of land were damaged by the flood. The storm also affected oil tanks, some of which caught on fire and exploded.
A Swedish military plane with a crew of eight was reported missing. Two planes were sent to search for the original plane and were later shot down by the Soviet air force.
In New York City a woman was murdered in front of 30 witnesses, and not one person intervened.
The Bhola cyclone hit Bangladesh, the deadliest storm in the Bay of Bengal, killed an estimated 150,000 to 550,000 people, 45% of its population.
A plane carrying a rugby team crashed into an Andes mountaintop with only sixteen surviving. The rescue efforts were called off 10 days after the crash. 72 days later 2 of the 16 left and managed to alerted authorities there were 16 other survivors trapped in the mountains. 16 survived.
A plane in Moscow crashed into the ground trying to land in bad weather, killing all 174 on board.
Malta becomes an independent republic.
A widespread computer crash infected hundreds of IBM computers in England, causing anxiety over lost files and the threat of then-new technology.
The “minicrash” often referred to as "Black Friday" was, at the time, the second-worst stock-market crash in American history.
Rapper Tupac Shakur died after being shot multiple times in a murder that remains unsolved.
Western New York was hit with two feet of snow, leaving over 300,000 people without power and damaging thousands of trees.
"SAW – The Ride" premiered at Thorpe Park amusement park in England, only to be temporarily shut down due to "minor teething problems."
NASA announces evidence of water on the moon.
A 13 year old boy was struck by lightning in England at an air show and received burns only on his shoulder. The hospital stated he was expected to make a full recovery. Wikipedia says about 240,000 people are injured by lightning strikes each year. One estimate is that the annual global death toll is 6,000.
The Costa Concordia was wrecked off the Italian coast, killing more than 30 passengers.
HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR MIND?
The Insider (https://www.insider.com/worst-things-friday-the-13th-2017-12) precedes its list of Friday the 13th events with this sentence: “Still think it's just a superstition? These events might be enough to convince even the most determined non-believer.”
I don’t think so. Supposedly, this superstition has been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, yet we only list four events before the 20th century and less than thirty total. Sure, there are a zillion things that have happened on these cursed days, but I thought the list was rather paltry.
A Bad Luck Day of its reputation ought to be able to come up with more disasters than listed herein and in most articles you find on the subject. And some aren’t disasters at all.
A FEW INTERESTING FACTS
● President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 guests at a meal. Napoleon and President Herbert Hoover were also triskaidekaphobic, with an abnormal fear of the number 13.
● Superstitious diners in Paris can hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest.
● Some believe that the 13th or Friday the 13th was the day Eve tasted the forbidden apple from the Tree of Knowledge. I'm not sure how that figures, since humankind at the time didn't have a calendar with either Fridays or Friday the 13th, but what do I know?
● In the New Testament, thirteen people attended Jesus' last supper on Maundy Thursday, the day before Christ's crucifixion on Good Friday. Judas was the thirteenth to be seated.
● Numerology first appears in written records in Egypt and Babylon, and in numerology, the number 13 is considered unlucky.
Note, however, that while 13 meant death to the ancient Egyptians, it was a joyous time when the person ascended into eternal life. Death was not considered bad luck to them.
● This is a more likely time for such superstitions to be tied to Christian beliefs surrounding the last supper and crucifixion.
● In the 14th century, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote in his Canterbury Tales a reference to Friday as being unlucky.
● While some historians point to evidence of both Friday and the number thirteen being considered unlucky, there are no references connecting the two before the 19th century.
● Henry Sutherland Edward's 1869 biography of composer Giaochino Rossini, is credited with the first documented reference. According to Edwards, Rossini regarded Friday as an unlucky day, thirteen as an unlucky number, and died on Friday, November 13, 1868. While I have no way of knowing if Rossini himself believed 13 was unlucky, I do know that Italians consider 13 a lucky number. The Italian bad-luck-number is seventeen, and that superstition has been around since the early Romans. I lived in Rome and know there are many buildings that don't have a 17th floor or a room #17 and so on.
● Another early reference comes from a club [The Thirteen Club] formed by William Fowler, whose intention was to debunk the superstitions as baseless.