Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Friday the 13th, Paraskevidekatriaphobia, Triskaidekaphobia and Superstition

Fear of Friday the 13th According to Dr. Donald Dossey, the man who coined this phrase, if you can pronounce it, you're cured :)

Fear of the number 13

An irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome.

We are a society inundated with superstitious fears.

A black cat crosses your path - bad luck; You walked under a ladder - bad luck; You broke a mirror - 7 years bad luck; "Step on a crack you break your mothers back, step on a line you break your mothers spine", and on and on.

Fear of the number 13 and in particular Friday the 13th is, apparently, one of the most widespread.

Why? Because, according to Norse mythology, and Christianity, some bad things happened associated with the number 13 and Friday the 13th.


What about all the bad things that happen on days other than Friday the 13th? Are they less important, less significant somehow? Or, is it the fact that since the belief already exists, a negative occurrence on that day just confirms the belief in some peoples' minds.

Then we have the more recent association between Friday the 13th and
psychopaths established through the Friday the 13th series of movies.

Of course, there are also those who take almost a perverse enjoyment in challenging the established belief system, like the bikers, who celebrate the day by getting together in droves at prearranged sites in North America.

While that approach holds a certain appeal to me ;), I fit into the category of the common sense types who recognize that these superstitious beliefs are based on fallacies and therefore the fears are unfounded (

What are the fallacies in thinking?

  1. Historically, just as many bad things have happened on other days, as happened on Friday the 13th.
  2. Not all ancient belief systems considered 13 a bad number. Pagan systems such as Numerology, Astrology, and the Tarot, do not consider the number 13 as bad luck per se. In the traditional study of numerology, 13 represents someone who is reborn into a higher level of consciousness and has reached a state of transmutation. It is also resolved to 4(1+3=4), which generally speaking refers to the virtues of work. In Astrology, the ancient Celtic traditions had a 13 sign lunar Zodiac based on the Druidic Tree of Life. In the Tarot, Card number 13 is the Death card, however, it does not represent physical death, but endings, conclusions to a cycle, or transitions and transformations. Many other pagan traditions like Wicca, etc. also cherish and celebrate the number.
  3. If you were to count the number of horrific and key events that occurred in the Bible only a few have been attributed to the number 13 or the date Friday the 13th, and that's assuming that the date calculations are, in fact, correct. Considering the fact that many significant dates attributed in the Bible have been proven to be incorrect ... like Jesus birthday....
  4. According to Christian beliefs 13 is unlucky because there were 13 at the Last Supper where Judas betrayed Jesus. However, if you believe the Gospel of Judas, recently uncovered and in the process of translation, Judas betrayed Jesus at Jesus request! So, it would seem, poor Judas has been given a bum rap. And how many times during the course of the time period represented in the Bible, did the 13 get together for supper (before the Last Supper) where really good things happened?
  5. The only association that I'm aware of between serial killer psychopaths and the number 13 is that a few (nowhere near the majority) have 13 letters in their name. Now I can see how a psychopath might try to use this fear against, or attempt to create this fear in, an intended victim, but generally speaking, psychopaths are too emotionally disconnected to have a phobia themselves. Their thinking processes are also too limited for them to appreciate the mythology or mystery behind the number. Their "magical thinking" processes are limited to their delusions that they are all powerful, and can't possibly get caught in whatever sleazy activity they might be engaging in.
And I'm sure others could come up with many more fallacies.

So, practice pronouncing Paraskevidekatriaphobia (pair.uh.skee.vee.dek.uh.tree.uh.FOH.bee.uh), then go out on Friday the 13th, and Have a Great Day! :)

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