phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at


Posted by ESC on June 13, 2003

In Reply to: Death rate posted by ESC on June 13, 2003

: : : Friday the 13th: ".Such a big deal that nearly $1 billion worth of commerce won't happen, because people are afraid to fly, travel, and shop.It combines Friday--considered an unlucky day by some--with the number 13, which has long been considered bad news.

: : : FRIDAY
: : : " Eve is rumored to have given Adam the apple on a Friday, according to Donald Dossey, founder-director of the Phobia Center in Asheville, North Carolina."
: : : (

: : : "Tradition also has it that the Flood in the Bible, the confusion at the Tower of Babel, and the death of Jesus Christ all took place on Friday." ("How Did it Begin?" by R. Brasch (Pocket Books, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1969).

: : : Another source says, ".The modern basis for the Friday the 13th superstition stems from Friday October the 13th, 1307. On this date, the Pope of the church in Rome in Conjunction with the King of France, carried out a secret death warrant against 'the Knights Templar.' The Templars were terminated as heretics, never again to hold the power that they had held for so long. Their Grand Master, Jacques DeMolay, was arrested and before he was killed, was tortured and crucified. A Black Friday indeed!

: : : Long before the Bible was written, Friday was considered an important day. Primitive people set aside Fridays as a special time to worship their deities and ask them for good crops, health and happiness. Those who worked on this day were told not to expect 'good luck' from the gods...

: : : The day Friday was named after Frigg (or Frigga), the Norse goddess of marriage. Later she was confused with the goddess of love, Freya, who in turn became identified with Friday. When the Norsemen and Germanic tribes became Christians, Freya was supposed to have been banished to the mountains as a witch.

: : : Friday came to be called 'witches' Sabbath.' For it was believed that on this day, each week, twelve witches and the Devil met - thirteen evil spirits up to no good! This is one of the reasons for today's superstition about Friday the 13th." Accessed June 12, 2003.

: : : "And the number 13 has been feared for a long time, too--except in Italy, where 'Fare tredici!' or 'To make thirteen!' is the slogan of the national lottery. There, if you get a thirteen, you win. About 90 percent of Otis elevators don't have a button for the 13th floor. The U.S. Navy won't launch a ship on Friday the 13th. And, as a former flight attendant once told me, many people just won't fly on the 13th, unless they're headed to Las Vegas. Apparently, the unluckiest day has an opposite effect when you're gambling."
: : : (

: : : Note: "How Did it Begin," published in 1969, said that "Italian lotteries never use the number ." So there must have been a change of heart at some time.

: : : "The superstition of the unlucky 13 is widely spread all over the world.That 13 is unlucky, and especially so at table, is a superstition which also goes back to pre-Christian days. Fear of the figure 13 is found in Norse mythology. It stems from the fable about a banquet held in Valhalla, to which 12 gods had been invited. But Loki, the spirit of strife and evil, gate-crashed, making the number 13 and as a result Balder, the favourite of the gods, was killed.

: : : At Christ's Last Supper there were, apart from Jesus Himself, His 12 Apostles and, therefore, a company of 13 altogether. As this supper preceded Christ's crucifixion, it certainly was taken as an omen of misfortune and death. There is a less superstitious and more rational explanation which says that statistical surveys showed insurance companies that of any group of 13 one person would die within less than 12 months." ("How Did it Begin?")
: :
: : That last bit doesn't sound so rational. The death rate per year isn't that high.

: Someone with better math skills than I have will have to work on this problem. The book I was quoting from was published in 1969. The 2002 death rate figures are at

paraskevidekatriaphobia (pair.uh.skee.vee.dek.uh.tree.uh.FOH.bee.uh) n.

Fear of Friday the 13th.
--paraskevidekatriaphobic adj., n.
--paraskevidekatriaphobe n.

Example Citation
* Candye Kane -- 9:30 p.m. Friday in the Thirsty Ear Tavern, 1200 W.
3rd Ave. (614-299-4987)

If your paraskevidekatriaphobia is tied to your fear of gigantic blues-shouting gals who used to model for "adult" magazines, you'll want to avoid this show.

But if you aren't afraid to leave the house on Friday the 13th and if you enjoy love-you-'til-the-break-of-dawn barrelhouse blues, Kane's
show and her new disc, Whole Lotta Love, are for you.
--Aaron Beck et al., "Night Life," Columbus Dispatch, June 12,

Today's tongue torturer appears to come from the Greek words "paraskevi," Friday, and "dekatria," thirteen, with the suffix -phobia tacked on for the fear factor.

Earliest Citation
Paraskevidekatriaphobia sufferers, take heart.

Your fear of Friday the 13th is rooted in centuries-old cultural myth rather than reality and you shouldn't hesitate to, once and
for all, let science subdue your superstitions.

This from Dr. Donald Dossey, ... a psychotherapist who founded the Phobia Institute in West Los Angeles and wrote the book "Holiday
folklore, phobias and fun: Mythical origins, scientific treatments and superstitious 'cures.'" ...

Dossey said 17 million to 21 million Americans will suffer symptoms of paraskevidekatriaphobia ranging from nervous giggles to
pull-the-covers-over-your-head terror. He also estimates that US businesses will lose $ 750 million today because some people refuse
to shop, travel or take risks on Friday the 13th.
--Martin J. Smith, "Friday the 13th fears don't really add up,"
Orange County Register, November 13, 1992

Even Earlier Citation
At 1 p.m. Thursday on Joe Galuski's WSYR-AM mid-day show, Ralph Collier will be on hand to discuss the upcoming exhibit of 17th
century artifacts at the Everson Museum. And p.m. Friday, Galuski and Don Dorsey will discuss the dreaded Paraskevidekatria
Phobia -- that's the fear of Friday the 13th.
--Brian G. Bourke, "WSEN joins the CBS radio network," The
Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), April 11,