Are you afraid of Friday the 13th? Then you may be one of 21 million Americans who suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia, or a paralyzing fear of Friday the 13th.
Here are 13 more tidbits about Friday the 13th that may convince you to shut the doors and stay inside until tomorrow.
2. Paraskevidekatriaphobia affected the highest office in the land. Franklin Delano Roosevelt is widely said to have avoided travel on the 13th of any month. A look at an official log of his travels as president does show very few "13s" among the dates. Perhaps on the few that do pop up, he just repeated to himself: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
3. Hosting a dinner party but only have 13 guests? In France, you can hire a quatorzien (fourteener) to avoid an unlucky gathering.
4. You may want to spring for that fourteener. Superstition has it that if 13 people sit down to dinner together, all will die within one year’s time.
5. According to Smithsonian magazine, fear of the number 13 costs American a billion dollars per year in absenteeism, train and plane trip cancellations and reduced commerce.
6. A witches coven consists of 13 members.
8. One Finnish study found that there were more traffic fatalities on Friday the 13th, but only for women.
9. For pagans and ancient Egyptians the number 13 is actually considered lucky. For pagans, it corresponds with the number of full moons in a year, and the ancient Egyptians associated it with immortality.
10. But for Christians, it can be considered the most unlucky of days. The Last Supper involved 13 dinner guests, with Judas Iscariot being the 13th. Moreover, most Christians believe that Jesus was crucified on a Friday.
11. Several terrible events have occurred on a Friday the 13th. The Great Flood of 1951 destroyed 2 million acres in Kansas and killed 24 people. In southern Asia on Friday, Nov. 13, 1970, about 300,000 people were killed in Chittagong, Bangladesh, by a massive storm that flooded the Ganges Delta, killing as many as 1 million more.
12. One good thing about Friday the 13th? The date is very rare. It only occurs when a month starts on a Sunday.
14. In 2012, there were three Friday the 13ths (January, April, July), each separated by 13 weeks. But in 2014, we will see only one Friday the 13th. Whew.