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Lake Reflections

Friday the 13th… The Not So Scary Truth

Asher Russo, Staff Reporter

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Do you fear black cats crossing the road or walking under a ladder? Many people do. The fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia or paraskevidekatriaphobia.

Friday the 13th is not that rare, and happens between one and three times each year. The year 2015 contains three occurrences of the dreaded Friday the 13th.

Donald Dossey, a psychotherapist that specializes in the treatment of phobias and also coined the term paraskevidekatriaphobia, figures that at least 21 million Americans fear Friday the 13th.

Friday the 13th doesn’t have anything to do with bad luck. Bible historians say that this was the day that Eve partook of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, the Great Flood began, and the building of the Tower of Babel. Perhaps this is what started the bad luck superstition.

It may also have to do with the number 12, which is historically considered the number of completeness, while 13 has been its outlier. This is due to the fact that there are 12 months in a year, 12 Gods of Olympus, 12 hours of the clock, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 Apostles of Jesus, and 12 Descendants of Muhammad Imams, along with other similar occurrences.

Finally, it is the belief in Friday the 13th superstition that could prove to be the highest risk to the average person. “If people believe in the superstition of Friday the 13th, then they believe they are in greater danger on that day. As a result, they may be more anxious and distracted, and this could lead to accidents. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy,” said Dr. Caroline Watt of the University of Edinburgh. “It is like telling someone they are cursed. If they believe they are, then they will worry, their blood pressure will go up and they put themselves at risk.”

So there you have it folks, the real danger lies in the belief that danger is coming.

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Friday the 13th… The Not So Scary Truth