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Are you afraid of the effects of Friday the 13th?
If you’re the kind of person who fears opening an umbrella indoors, walking under ladders and avoids stepping on “the crack” in a sidewalk, then there’s probably a good chance you get anxious when it comes to Friday the 13th – if so, you’re not alone!
In fact, there are actual names for the irrational fear of Friday the 13th: paraskevidekatriaphobia, created by Dr. Donald Dossey, an American psychotherapist, who based the word on the Greek words paraskevi ('Friday') and dekatria ('thirteen') with -phobia as a suffix to indicate 'fear.’ He’d also tell is patients, "when you learn to pronounce it, you're cured!"
Another term, coined in the early twentieth century referring to the fear of the number 13 is triskaidekaphobia, And last, but not least, friggatriskaidekaphobia, also meaning 'fear of Friday 13th.’ The prefix frigga is actually based on the ancient Scandinavian goddess, Frigga, associated with witchcraft and Friday, which is often called the witches' sabbath.
While there is no one definitive answer why people associate Friday the 13th with bad luck (excluding the Friday the 13th movie franchise), there are numerous theories, including:
• Since Christ was crucified on a Friday, many Christians associate Friday to be an unlucky day. Additionally, 13 people attended The Last Supper, where the 13th member was the same one who ultimately betrayed Jesus.
• Norse mythology tells the story of Loki, the hated Norse god of evil, crashing a Valhalla banquet attended by 12 gods, which not only made him the 13th guest, but he also started a riot which resulted in the death of Balder, the god of light and joy.
• During the middle ages, fear became associated with Friday the 13th after King Philip IV of France tortured the Knights Templers. The day of the torture - Friday the 13th.
• In British culture, both Friday and 13 are associated with capital punishment. Friday was “the day of the hangman,” when many public hangings took place. By the way, there were always exactly 13 steps to the gallows.
Here are some superstitions surrounding the number 13:
• If 13 people eat dinner together at the same time, all will die within the year.
• If there are 13 letters in a name, that person has the “devil’s luck.” Interestingly enough, here are a few names that seem to match: Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo.
• While many high rise office or apartment buildings do not have a 13th floor (the elevator goes from 12 to 14), many cities do not have a 13th Avenue or 13th Street. (But don't tell the good people on the 14th floor they're really on the 13th floor - no matter how you count it. Not a good idea!)
• In the Roman culture, witches were believed to have gathered in groups of 12, where the 13th witch was the ‘Devil.’
Believe it or not, the number 13 was considered to be a very lucky number in ancient Egypt. Why? Well, it was believed that the 13th stage of life is death. (Okay, for them that was a good thing!)
What to do if you believe you suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia...
If you are nervous and anxious that something bad is going to happen, chances are your subconscious might turn your fears into a self-fulfilling prophecy, so educating yourself is always a good first step. In addition, talking with a professional therapist, NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) practitioner and/or a hypnotherapist can effectively help you overcome this phobia for good!