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Today is a day that strikes fear in the hearts of some and general amusement or even glad tidings in the hearts of stauncher types. It is Friday the 13th. If you are one of the terrified, you suffer from “paraskevidekatriaphobia,” a potentially crippling disorder that means you are among plenty of people who cannot possibly pronounce that word and are also afraid of Friday the 13th. Which is, as we mentioned, today.
For the record, fear of Friday the 13th is also called “friggatriskaidekaphobia,” which is equally hard to say and terrifying.
This is an especially terrifying year, whatever you call it, as it will contain three Fridays the 13th (Friday the 13ths?)! Last year, there was only one. Why are you so testing us, God?
These Friday the 13ths, which you don’t have to mark on your calendar because they already are (creepy) happen today, April 13, and July 13 — each one falls 13 weeks apart. And, it’s a leap year, which is even more creepy and unusual, says Tom Frensler, a/k/a, “Dr. 13,” a man who pronounces 95 percent of the world superstitious and the rest full of it.
What can the superstitious expect? “According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed. “It’s been estimated that [US]$800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day.”
If any of that is remotely accurate, you are probably deeply afraid right now and smiling maniacally through your pain. Take heart! Your next three-in-one will not be until 2015, with three Friday the 13ths plus a leap year not scheduled again until 2040. So take advantage of this one. At the very least, practice saying “paraskevidekatriaphobia.”
Note: “In Spanish-speaking countries, instead of Friday, Tuesday the 13th is considered a day of bad luck.” WTF!
Three Friday the 13ths, 13 weeks apart, a rarity [USA Today]