Who's afraid of Friday the 13th?


sanctus
#1
By Johnny Caldwell
BBC News






Friday is one of two occasions this year - the other being in July - when a Friday happens to be the 13th day of the month.



Black cats are often associated with superstitions

Interestingly, any month starting on a Sunday will have a Friday the 13th and each year will have at least one. People born on a Friday the 13th include Margaret Thatcher, Fidel Castro, zany actor Steve Buscemi and the Olsen twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley.

If you think this article is already a load of mumbo-jumbo, you may be surprised to learn that Belfast City Hall has no bookings for weddings this Friday the 13th on a day, given the time of year, when there could possibly be several.

But why does this combination of Friday and 13 prove such a talking point, let alone leave some so stricken with fear that they'll spend most of the day in bed?

Both 13 and Friday have their own legacies of bad luck associations which the superstitious among us believe combine to produce the unluckiest day of the year.

Much of 13's bad luck associations appear to be directly related to the fact that it comes immediately after 12.


Numerologists consider 12 to be a complete number.


There are 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, and 24 hours in a day, a number which is evenly divisible by 12.

And on a Friday fell all this mischance

Chaucer's Cantebury Tales

Thomas Fernsler of Mansfield University, Pennsylvania, says 13 is considered unlucky because by exceeding 12 by 1, it is "a little beyond completeness" and subsequently "restless or squirmy".

The number's association with bad luck also has a biblical reference.

Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest to the Last Supper.


In Norse mythology, 13's inauspiciousness is traced back to a dinner party at which 12 Norse gods were having a dinner party at Valhalla, their heaven.


The 13th guest was the mischievous Loki, who once there arranged for Hoder, the blind god of darkness to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness with a mistletoe-tipped arrow.


Balder died and the world was plunged into darkness.



Numerous more contemporary instances of people being afraid of the number 13 can also be found.


These are presumably linked to the aforementioned reasoning and events.

In France, socialites known as quatorziens (fourteeners) up until relatively recently made themselves available in case it would happen that a dinner party had 13 guests.


There are also numerous examples of sports teams playing without a number 13 shirt, and high-rise buildings such as hotels not having a floor number 13, which may be disguised or simply omitted.



Windsor House has a 13th floor, but many buildings do not

However, Belfast's tallest building, Windsor House, situated in the centre of Northern Ireland's capital, does not follow this trend, and anyone using its lift can stop at floor 13.

Any event or happening can of course add to the already sizeable legacy of bad luck associated with the number 13 - such as the ill-fated mission to the moon Apollo 13.

Reasons why Friday is considered to be an unlucky day are fewer and primarily related to significant events in Christianity.

It is believed, for example, that the crucifixion of Jesus took place on a Friday (Good Friday) as did Eve's offering of an apple to Adam in the Garden of Eden.

This day which heralds the start of the weekend is also said to have witnessed the start of the Great Flood and the confusion at the Tower of Babel.

'Hangman's Day'


There are also numerous literary references to Friday being unlucky, which date back to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in the 14th century ("And on a Friday fell all this mischance").

In Britain as well as ancient Rome, Friday was once known as Hangman's Day because it was usually the day upon which those who had been condemned to death would be hanged.

While we may never know the exact origins of why the coming together of the number 13 and Friday can make us a little apprehensive, to say the least, does it really have that much of an impact in 2007?

Dr Arthur Cassidy, a psychologist at Belfast Institute, says although there is "no real empirical research on this", a fear of Friday the 13th could have a big impact on someone who has "a vulnerable personality and open to things such as astrology and a belief in fate".

"And if you took a random sample of 10 people from any town or city in Northern Ireland, there would probably be about two or three people who would do things differently because it is Friday the 13th," he says.


Friday the 13th related trivia


Paraskevidekatriaphobia is a fear of Friday the 13th while triskaidekaphobia is a fear of the number 13.


According to a British Medical Journal study there is a significant increase in traffic related accidents on Friday the 13th.

The Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, estimates that between $800m and $900m is lost in business on Friday the 13th because people do not fly or do business they would normally do.

In the Spanish-speaking world, it is Tuesday the 13th as well as Tuesdays in general that are believed to bring bad luck.

Ozzy Osbourne's former band, Black Sabbath, released their self-titled debut album in the UK on Friday, 13 February 1970.
 
Tonington
#2
Silly superstitions, I hope my haircut today isn't horrible
 
Curiosity
#3
Tonington

You are getting your hair cut on Friday the 13th? Man you are a brave one.
 
Tonington
#4
Lol, and at a place I've never been before no less...

Well they come highly recommended. I wouldn't care so much if I still had a short hair style, but now that I sport the long locks, I have to take more care than I'm used to taking.
 
Dexter Sinister
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by sanctusView Post

Paraskevidekatriaphobia is a fear of Friday the 13th...

...and psychologists say that when you spell it and pronounce it, you're cured.

There was a piece in this morning's Globe & Mail about it as well. Apparently, statistics show that certain unlucky things do often cluster on Friday the 13th, which is attributed to the self-fulfilling nature of superstitious people being anxious and nervous about the day. Retail sales also drop off, which might be unlucky for the retailers I suppose, because a lot of people are afraid to shop. On the other hand, two of my brothers were born on the 13th day of the month, though not on a Friday. My littlest brother, #3 (not so little anymore) is 47 years old today. Brother #2 will be 50 on May 13th. Their lives--and birthdays--haven't been particularly unlucky as far as anyone knows, they've been perfectly ordinary.
 
Curiosity
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

Lol, and at a place I've never been before no less...

Well they come highly recommended. I wouldn't care so much if I still had a short hair style, but now that I sport the long locks, I have to take more care than I'm used to taking.

Tonington

Well best of luck to you - it's what's under the hair that counts anyway....
 
Curiosity
#7
DexterSinister

Have you read the list of phobias we in our modern world 'honor'???

I think there must be at least two phobias for every day of the year and most of the year round.
 
jimmoyer
#8
Who's afraid ?

I am.

.
.
.
.
.
It's Halloween every day out there.
 
Curiosity
#9
Here we go

Pick your phobia and call in sick.... hehe

psychology.about.com/od/phobias/a/phobialist.htm (external - login to view)

Hmmmm there's nothing in there about ice cream...good!
 
Tonington
#10
Lol again, what's under the hair is more and more visible each year...Though my familly tells me it's only receding like my grandfathers did, he just ended up with a high hair-line...no matter. If it goes, I'll shave and wax my scalp and grow a goatee.

But to get back to the topic, I've never had anything particularly memorable happen on any previous Friday the 13th. To arbitrarilly change my behaviour because of some date falling on a certain day of the week...almost as bad as the pro baseball players
 
L Gilbert
#11
Who's afraid of Friday the 13th? I am. I sat through part of one of those movies (snoozed through the rest) and thought I don't want to try it again. Another couple boring loads of crap are Nightmare on Elm and Halloween.
 
L Gilbert
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

Lol again, what's under the hair is more and more visible each year...Though my familly tells me it's only receding like my grandfathers did, he just ended up with a high hair-line...no matter. If it goes, I'll shave and wax my scalp and grow a goatee.

.... and look like Juan's avatar? lmao
 
Tonington
#13
Is Juans avatar completely bald? Hah, maybe I guess. Right now if I grew one of those long thin moustaches I'd look like Guy Fawkes.
 
L Gilbert
#14
lol.
Getting hot feet yet, or is October far enough away yet? November? Can't remember all that stuff too well. The Gunpowder Plot isn't very fresh in the noggin.
 
Curiosity
#15
Baldness is a sign of high intelligence

So you can be dumb and fluffy on top or smooth and smart!
 
Tonington
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by L GilbertView Post

lol.
Getting hot feet yet, or is October far enough away yet?

Lots of time yet. That would make a decent halloween costume, I wouldn't need the mask, hahah.
 
Dexter Sinister
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by CuriosityView Post

Pick your phobia and call in sick.... hehe

psychology.about.com/od/phobias/a/phobialist.htm (external - login to view)

Hmmmm there's nothing in there about ice cream...good!

Wow! There's almost a hundred of them listed, and it doesn't even include the two common ones we're going on about here. Could probably pick anything and somebody will have a bizarre phobia about it.

How about we try making some up. Like bibliophagophobia, which if I remember my ancient languages correctly I can define as a fear of people who eat books. Or sociodactylophobia, fear of people who give you the finger.
 
DurkaDurka
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by CuriosityView Post

Here we go

Pick your phobia and call in sick.... hehe

psychology.about.com/od/phobias/a/phobialist.htm (external - login to view)

Hmmmm there's nothing in there about ice cream...good!

I wish I had of known of this link this morning, I would have found a phobia to prevent me from going into work today
 
karrie
#19
heeheehee.... this fits so well into my recent psych studies.

part of what I'm studying, is the human mind's capability of predicting events. an 'availability heuristic' is the minds tendency to predict the likelihood of a chance event, according to its ability to access memories regarding it.

Well, most people, even if they spent a while freaking out about the last Friday 13th, probably can't readily easily access the memories regarding it, or at least, distinguish them from memories of other days. Thus, they still suffer a bit of uncertainty. Personally, having a sister whose b-day falls oddly often on Friday the 13th's, I have a readily accessible cache of memories regarding the way such days turn out. And, while my sister can be hellish, the days rarely are. lol.
 
tracy
#20
OK I know it's stupid, but I really don't like Friday the 13ths. They're often really bad at work, same as full moons. I didn't even realize it was Friday the 13th today or I would have tried to get the day off, but it's too late now so I'm going to have to go in. I was never superstitious until I started working...
 
Libra Girl
#21
It's nonsense, absolute nonsense!



*Clutches rabbit's foot tightly, and looks over shoulder*
 
talloola
#22
iN Italy the number 13 is considered lucky.

My late mother in law had a very beautiful 'Italian gold medallion' with the number 13 formed in the
middle.

The fact that I don't have any of her blood flowing in my body, leaves me out of that loop, oh well,
my irish/english heritage gives me enough guts and stubborness to ignore all the silliness anyway.
 
selfactivated
#23
Pish tosh......You think Friday the 13th's a bad day? Piss off a Pagan and EVERY day becomes a bad day
 
talloola
#24
There really are 'no' bad days. Everyday when one gets out of bed the day becomes whatever
one makes of it.
Don't let anything piss you off, leave the misery with the 'pisser' not the 'pissee'.
It's pouring rain here today, doesn't matter, i'm going to make it a good day, figure out
something good out there.
Hey it's Friday, Canadian Tire weekly flyer, so I'll go there, and our garbage guy comes today,
will chat with him.
My daughter's garbage guy was crushed two weeks ago by his own truck, slipped gear,
backed into him, while he was trying to load something. Such a thin line between living and
dying, now there is a young mom, with two kids, who has to figure out how to go on.
I think about her.
Live life to the fullest everyday, and it's the little things that make it so good.
 
L Gilbert
#25
How about getting-stuck-in-an-elevator-during-a-power-outage-with-a-little-old-lady-wearing-too-much-lavender-perfumephobia?
 
talloola
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by L GilbertView Post

How about getting-stuck-in-an-elevator-during-a-power-outage-with-a-little-old-lady-wearing-too-much-lavender-perfumephobia?

Have you ever really recovered from that ?
 
L Gilbert
#27
Nope. I make sure who I get into elevators with isn't wearing anything heavily odorific.
 
talloola
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by L GilbertView Post

Nope. I make sure who I get into elevators with isn't wearing anything heavily odorific.

Do you have any lavender in your yard? I have, and now, whenever I look at it, you know what
I'll be thinking., so, when my neighbours see me giggling at my lavender, they will
think that I have finally 'lost it completely'.
 
L Gilbert
#29
lol.
No lavender. Lilacs is as close as it gets here.
 
lysyfacet
#30
personally, i don't see the big deal. Friday the 13th is the same as a friday 11th or w/e. I think people just have this mental block about it being like bad luck. I've heard and read many funny stories of peoples scares and things they avoid doing on these days, aka friday 13th.

I dunno, i don't believe in bad luck and i treat today like any other day.
 

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