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13 May 2005

Paraskevidekatriaphobia...


D

o you suffer from it? Suffer from it... I can hardly pronounce it. If you know what today is, then surely you know what Paraskevidekatriaphobia means... come on, let's all say it outloud... A fear of Friday the 13th. How did this joyous holiday ever begin in the first place? Well, according to my many sources the origins of the Friday the 13th superstition has been linked to the fact there were 13 people at the last supper of Jesus, who was traditionally crucified on Good Friday, but it probably originated only in medieval times.

It has also been linked to the fact that a lunisolar calendar must have 13 months in some years, while the solar Gregorian calendar and lunar Islamic calendar always have 12 months in a year. Another suggestion is that the belief originated in a Norse myth about twelve gods having a feast in Valhalla. The mischievous Loki gatecrashed the party as an uninvited 13th guest and arranged for Hod, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Baldur, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. Baldur was killed and the Earth was plunged into darkness and mourning as a result.

However, I believe that the arrest of Jaques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, and 60 of his senior knights on Friday, October 13, 1307 by King Philip IV of France is the origin of this superstition. That day thousands of Templars were arrested and subsequently tortured. They couldn't handle the torture any more and they 'confessed' and were then promptly executed. From that day on, Friday the 13th was considered by followers of the Templars as an evil and unlucky day.

Today, Friday the 13th, some people will be so paralyzed with fear they simply won't get out of bed. Others will steadfastly refuse to fly on an airplane, buy a house, or act on a hot stock tip. It's Friday the 13th, and they're freaked out.

"It's been estimated that in the U.S. $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day because people will not fly or do business they would normally do," said Donald Dossey, founder of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina.

Burning Questions and Random Thoughts

You already know the question of the day... Are you superstitious? Do you take extra care on Friday the 13th? How many times have you seen the Friday the 13th movie?

Today's Birthday

Today's birthday boy born in 1950 on this date is Stevie Wonder [Steveland Morris] Saginaw MI, singer/songwriter (I Just Called To Say I Love You, Superstition, You are The Sunshine of My Life, My Cherie Amour).

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