Friday, February 13, 2009

Paraskavedekatriaphobia Anybody?

"Superstitions are habits rather than beliefs." - Marlene Dietrich

Are you paraskavedekatriaphobic? If so, you are not alone. It has been reported that more than 60 million people worldwide suffer from the morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13. Convincing these sufferers that their superstition is a habit may be impossible. Some of these people are unable to get out of bed on this day, much less drive a car or work.

Every year has at least one and at most three Friday the 13ths. A month that begins with a Sunday will always have a Friday the 13th in it. There will be three in 2009—February, March and November.

The cost of absenteeism, travel cancellations for planes and trains, and reduced shopping on this day is around a billion dollars in America. A British study concluded that even though there were less cars on the road on Friday the 13th (as compared with other Fridays) more accidents were reported.

Do you alter your schedule on Friday the 13th? Or do you have any superstitious habits like the following writers?

Isabel Allende began writing her first published book on January 8, so that’s the day she has started all subsequent books.

Alexandre Dumas, the elder, ate an apple at 7 a.m. each morning under the Arc de Triomphe.

Bharati Mukherjee will not leave the house if someone sneezes just as she's getting ready to leave and she doesn't cut her nails on certain days of the week.

Stephen King goes through these motions when he sits down to write; "I have a glass of water or I have a cup of tea. I have my vitamin pill I have my music; I have my same seat; and the papers are all arranged in the same places."

Charles Dickens walked twenty to thirty miles a day. He also placed objects on his desk in exactly the same position, always set his bed in north/south directions, and touched certain objects three times for luck.

To read more about the origins and legends of Friday the 13th visit

Thanks for stopping by.

Tags: Dietrich, Roosevelt, Allende, Dumas, Mukherjee, Stephen King, Dickens, Friday 13, Paraskavedekatriaphobia ,


L. Diane Wolfe said...

Wow, guess I am about as unsuperstious as they get! Today is just another day for me.

Now my husband gets funny when it comes to his Steelers. If they win more often when he watched from the back TV, he won't come out front. If they lose when he wears Steelers paraphenilia, he stops wearing it. Silly!

L. Diane Wolfe

Anonymous said...

I certainly have my habits, spurred by my sense of organization and routine, but I'm not really superstitious. I'm actually starting to resent Friday the 13th because of Hollywood keeps making and releasing those stupid movies on these days.

Anonymous said...

I am not a "paraskavedekatriaphobic," although I admit I was about to look the word up before I read on and you described the meaning for me (smile). My wife was born on a Friday 13th and she heartily joins me in my disbelief that there is something inherently unlucky about those dates.

Morgan Mandel said...

I always pick 13 as one of my lucky numbers when I play lotto, but I still get a little nervous when Friday the 13th comes around.

Morgan Mandel

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