Ode to the unlucky

May 13, 2011 – If you have paraskevidekatriaphobia or triskaidekaphobia today is probably not your day.

Those suffering from these phobias share irrational fears of Friday the 13th and the number 13 respectively. According to Dr. Donald Dossey, a psychotherapist and phobia specialist, nearly 21 million Americans suffer from these conditions.

The good news is that today is the only Friday the 13th in 2011. After today, we get a reprieve until January 2012.

Why are Fridays and the number 13 considered unlucky?

No one knows for sure, but the fear of the number 13 dates back to the Middle Ages. Often called the devil’s dozen, people once believed that if 13 people sat down to dinner together, one would die within the year. They also believed that if you have 13 letters in your name, you would have the devil’s luck. It’s interesting that Charles Manson, Theodore Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer all have 13 letters in their names.

As for Fridays, some believe that Christians began the superstition because Christ was crucified on a Friday. And the Bible tells us that there were 13 people present at the Last Supper, which lead to the crucifixion. Others believe it goes back farther than that, to the Garden of Eden when Eve tempted Adam with the apple – on a Friday.

Chances are most people don’t know why Friday the 13th is considered unlucky and they place it with other superstitions such as crossing a black cat, walking under a ladder or breaking a mirror.

So, whether you’re superstitious or not, may good fortune be with you today. But just in case, be careful not to spill the salt.

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