Friday the 13th: Facts behind the fear


Friday the 13th - instead of the typical Friday where the work week ends and the weekend begins, for some people Friday the 13th is a day of great concern. Those suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia, Friday the 13th is a day to contemplate pulling down the shades, hiding under the covers waiting for midnight to come.

It could be an especially stressful year since there are three Friday the 13ths in 2012 (Jan. 13, April 13 and July 13) and they are all exactly 13 weeks apart.

But why do some people fear the day? Moreover, why is this the most famous superstition, and one that has persisted for ages? There are so many different connections and theories, and's David Emery has gone to great lengths to document most that sheds a little light on this dark day.

For instance, the site reports that many professions regard it as an unlucky day to undertake journeys or begin new projects. Plus, Black Friday has been associated with the stock market crash and other disasters since the 1800s. Also, according to Christian scripture, Jesus was crucified on a Friday - and there were 13 dining at the Last Supper (on a Thursday).

The number 13 is also associated with the devil’s luck. Those with 13 letters in their name might stumble across some pretty serious bad luck, and share something with thirteeners Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer.

Meanwhile, ancient Egyptians considered 13 an important part in their lives; they believed life was a quest for spiritual ascension which unfold in stages - 12 in this life and a thirteenth beyond, which was the eternal afterlife. So the number 13 symbolized death, but not necessarily dust and decay.

We may never completely grasp why Friday the 13th became one of best known superstitions but supposedly 17 to 21 million people in the United States alone fear this unluckiest of unlucky days.

On the bright side, Friday the 13th gives you an excuse to call off work if you can convince your boss you came down with a serious case of paraskevidekatriaphobia.