Friday, January 13, 2012

“Paraskevidekatriaphobia – when you learn to pronounce it, you’re cured.”

According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, fear of Friday the 13th affects between 17 and 21 million Americans. Why should this day, over any other, inspire such fear?

Theories range anywhere from the the number 12 traditionally signifying completeness, therefore 13 is unlucky (which begs the question, what about 11? What about 10? What about - you get the idea) to  Friday being the day on which Eve offered Adam the forbidden fruit and Jesus was crucified (but what has the number 13 got to do with that?) to the demise of the Knights Templar, a monastic military order whose members were arrested en masse by France’s King Philip IV on Friday, October 13, 1307.

Regardless of how it started, those who suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia, Friday plus 13 equals a paralyzing, debilitating fear for millions of Americans.

But for those of us that don't have such a fear...

Plan a Friday the 13th party!

Once again, anything Hallowe'en related is a brilliant choice, most especially anything such as black cats. Throw in other things related to superstitious beliefs, like paper ladders and the number 13.

Play spooky music. Some of my favorite creepy music is anything by Nox Arcana.

Dress up in costumes. The more mysterious, the better.

Play party games like Truth or Dare or Worst Case Scenario.

Of course, what party wouldn't be complete without watching Friday the 13th movies?

Make a trip to a scary or haunted place, or spend the night in a haunted hotel.

Whatever you do, just be safe and have fun. Don't belittle anyone who has a true fear or even a little trepidation about the day. While it is untrue that hospital admissions are higher on this day, that can be probably generally attributed to the fact that many are just being more careful.

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