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Friday, January 13, 2006
Friday the 13th
Paraskevidekatriaphobia: Fear of Friday the 13th Personally, I’m not afraid of Friday the 13th. It isn’t that I’m not superstitious. You won’t catch me opening an umbrella indoors- it is bad luck. The number 13 doesn’t bother me. I’ve worked in suite 13 for almost 10 years. I’ve had surgery on Friday the 13th. The sixth day of the week and the number 13 both have foreboding reputations said to date from ancient times. Some sources say it may be the most widespread superstition in the United States. Some people won't go to work or leave their homes on Friday the 13th. Just how many Americans at the 21st century still suffer from this condition? According to Dr. Donald Dossey, a psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of phobias (and coiner of the term "paraskevidekatriaphobia"), the figure may be as high as 21 million. If he's right, eight percent of Americans are still in the grips of a very old superstition. Exactly how old is difficult to say, because determining the origins of superstitions is an imprecise science, at best. In fact, it's mostly guesswork. 13: The Devil's Dozen It is said: If 13 people sit down to dinner together, all will die within the year. The Turks so disliked the number 13 that it was practically expunged from their vocabulary (Brewer, 1894). Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue. Many buildings don't have a 13th floor. If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil's luck (Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names). There are 13 witches in a coven. As if to prove the point, the Bible tells us there were exactly 13 present at the Last Supper. One of the dinner guests — er, disciples — betrayed Jesus Christ, setting the stage for the Crucifixion. Did I mention the Crucifixion took place on a Friday? Some say Friday's bad reputation goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. It was on a Friday, supposedly, that Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit. Adam bit, as we all learned in Sunday School, and they were both ejected from Paradise. Tradition also holds that the Great Flood began on a Friday; God tongue-tied the builders of the Tower of Babel on a Friday; the Temple of Solomon was destroyed on a Friday; and, of course, Friday was the day of the week on which Christ was crucified. It is therefore a day of penance for Christians.
 
posted by Lisa at 1/13/2006 04:51:00 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


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