Friday the 13th strikes again

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th

Another Friday the 13th and another day full of superstition-filled odd occurrences.

While I was taking a lunch break at work, the bottle of sweet tea I was holding suddenly fell out of my hand and smashed to the floor, spraying iced tea and shattered glass everywhere.

Maybe I was just stressed out at work and holding the bottle in a funny way, but who knows…

And something about it being Friday the 13th and it being all rainy and misty out caused practically every single driver on my way home to drive erratically. It was like the were trying to cause accidents on purpose.

Actually a 1993 study done in the UK found an increase in car accidents on Friday the 13th:

While consistently fewer people chose to drive their cars on Friday the 13th, the number of hospital admissions due to vehicular accidents was significantly higher than on “normal” Fridays. Their conclusion:

“Friday 13th is unlucky for some. The risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52 percent. Staying at home is recommended.”

Now I’m not superstitious (mostly). My favorite number is 13. I walk under ladders if there doesn’t happen to be any other place to walk. And I’ve thrown salt over my shoulder a couple of times, but that’s because of excess salt buildup due to salt shaker malfunctions only.

Uh oh, this 13th is a Friday...

Uh oh, this 13th is a Friday...

But just thinking about a Friday that happens to be the 13th of the month adds a certain amount of mystery to that day.

And to think it’s all based on a pretty terrible horror movie franchise.

Well, actually it’s not. The fear of Friday the 13th, paraskevidekatriaphobia to be precise (or is it friggatriskaidekaphobia?), is based on ages-old folklore deeming the day unlucky:

The fear of Friday the 13th stems from two separate fears — the fear of the number 13 and the fear of Fridays. Both fears have deep roots in Western culture, most notably in Christian theology.

Thirteen is significant to Christians because it is the number of people who were present at the Last Supper (Jesus and his 12 apostles). Judas, the apostle w­ho betrayed Jesus, was the 13th member of the party to arrive. […]

On a Friday the 13th in 1306, King Philip of France arrested the revered Knights Templar and began torturing them, marking the occasion as a day of evil. […]

In British tradition, Friday was the conventional day for public hangings, and there were supposedly 13 steps leading up to the noose.

Not to mention that BOTH Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were born on June 13, 1986 — a Friday. Coincidence — or pure evil? Now that IS scary!

Okay, so several bad things happened involving the number 13 and a Friday. But how many people really suffer symptoms from a fear of Friday the 13th? Millions actually, and it has a real financial impact:

17 million to 21 million Americans will suffer symptoms of paraskevidekatriaphobia ranging from nervous giggles to pull-the-covers-over-your-head terror. He also estimates that US businesses will lose $ 750 million today because some people refuse to shop, travel or take risks on Friday the 13th.

So maybe there is something to Friday the 13th… namely that millions of people are taught that the day is bad luck and that they irrationally act on those fears and end up trying to run you off the road.

Beware Friday the 13th… at least while you’re driving.

RELATED: Check out an interesting 13 Facts About Friday the 13th.

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