Asheville, NC

Fear of Friday the 13th

Margaret Minnicks
Woman afraidPhoto byAlexandra GornonUnsplash

According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of Friday the 13th, making it the most feared day and date in history.

Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines. Experts say the fear of Friday the 13th is widespread and is what many people have in common.

Experts also say Friday the 13th is no more dangerous than any other date of the year. However, that doesn't keep some people from thinking the day is dangerous and unlucky.

Every calendar year has at least one Friday the 13th and can have as many as three. Any month that starts on a Sunday will always have a Friday the 13th. Friday the 13th occurs two times in 2023. The first one is in January, and the last one is in October.

Bad Effects of Friday the 13th

Accidents and bad things can happen on any date on the calendar whether people are out and about or hiding away in their homes. Friday the 13th impacts the economy in the United States because superstitious people do not do business as usual. It is estimated that businesses lose about $900 million in productivity every Friday the 13th.

Some people are so superstitious that they do not go to work. They do not spend money traveling. They do not shop for big-ticket items. They do not make any major decisions. They do not start a new job. They do not plan their wedding on a Friday the 13th.

Good Effects of Friday the 13th

Because businesses know how some people feel about Friday the 13th, they deliberately have sales and other offers to entice people to use their services on that particular date.

Something good almost always comes from things that appear to be bad. Because people are extra careful on Friday the 13th, there are fewer traffic accidents, according to the Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics. There have been reports that fires and thefts on that date are also much lower.

Number 13

Some people think 13 is an unlucky number whether it appears on a Friday or not. For instance, some cities do not have a 13th street. Some hotels and hospitals do not have a 13th floor or the number 13 on rooms. The number 13 is not listed on some elevators. Therefore, one goes from the 12th floor to the 14th floor. Eighty percent of high-rise buildings do not have a 13th floor. Some airports do not have gate 13, and there is no 13th row of seats on airplanes. Some race car drivers do not have the number 13 on their vehicles.

The irony of those places that are said to be without a 13th street, a 13th floor, a 13th room, or a 13th gate really do have them after all. They are just not numbered as such. The 14th of any of them is really the 13th one.

Some companies have done their best to accommodate those who are superstitious about the number 13. The house between 12 and 14 is considered to be 12 1/2 as the official address. In Scotland, instead of having terminal 13, there is terminal 12B. The 13th soundstage at Universal Studios in California doesn't exist.

The number 13 is not unlucky all over the world. Number 13 is not considered bad in China, Japan, and Korea. Instead, the number 4 is considered unlucky.

Triskaidekaphobia and paraskevidekatriaphobia

The fear of the number 13 is called triskaidekaphobia. The fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia. Symptoms for both fears are the same and so is the therapy.

People with triskaidekaphobia do everything that can to avoid coming in contact with the number 13 because they consider the number unlucky. They will not have an address or telephone number that has a 13 in it. They are extremely careful on the 13th day of the month and especially on Friday the 13th.

Everyone who considers the number unlucky does not have a phobia. Instead, they are just superstitious about the number 13. It becomes triskaidekaphobia and paraskevidekatriaphobia when the fears interfere and keeps people from their work, social activities, and usual daily functions.

Symptoms can range from mild anxiety to something more serious such as full-blown panic attacks. Some people might need therapy because the fear is real and might have an adverse effect on their lives.

It is not unusual for some people to stay home on Friday the 13th. Those who do go out are extremely careful not to come in contact with anything with the number 13. If they go grocery shopping, they stay away from the 13th aisle and avoid Lane 13 when checking out.

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I love pop culture, movies, television, and entertainment. I keep up to date on the latest movies and television shows. I like sharing news about them. I also like sharing information about different foods and their health benefits. I have been a high school teacher and a college professor for over 50 years and an online writer for over 30 years. I have three degrees: BA in English and Literature, MA in Christian Education, and MDiv in Theology. Get to know me through my writing.

Richmond, VA

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