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Triskaidekaphobia and Friday the 13th

Do you find yourself being more cautious on Friday the 13th? There's a name for that.

WASHINGTON — Editor's Note: The video above originally aired on Nov. 13, 2020. And yes, it was a Friday! 

Are you a little afraid of Friday the 13th? Do you not date checks on the 13th of a month? We all know that many buildings skip the 13th floor and many cities don't even have 13th Street, although there is a 13th Street in D.C. 

Are you part of the group that believes the number 13 is bad luck?

There's a name for that: Triskaidekaphobia. Millions of people in the world suffer from the number-based phobia, including prolific horror author Stephen King.   

What do Napoleon, Mark Twain, and Franklin Roosevelt have in common? That’s right they all feared the number 13. FDR always made sure the number of guests for a luncheon or dinner party was never just thirteen.

While some may fear the dreaded date, the Chinese and the Egyptians believe 13 to be a lucky number.

Since there were 13 at the Last Supper some feel it became unlucky then. You add Friday to that and things really get unlucky. The crucifixion was on Friday.

We can’t forget Apollo 13, although the ending was a lucky one. Apollo 13 lifted off at 13:13 central time on April 11, 1970. If you add the numbers of the date together (4+1+1+7+0) you get 13. Apollo 13 was also launched from pad 39, which is a multiple of 13.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac theorizes the combination of triskaidekaphobia and the fear of Friday likely combined around the late 1800’s and created apprehension to the rare day. There is no clear mention of Friday the 13th being unlucky mentioned in published works before that time period.

I don’t really fear the number but I do draw the line, so to speak at dating checks. I will not date a check the thirteenth of any month, Friday or not. 

Every year has at least one Friday the 13th. In a 28-year calendar cycle, there are four years with three of them. May 13 is the only one for all of 2022. The next Friday the 13th is January 13, 2023.

Enjoy today, Friday the 13th; you can make it as superstitious as you want it to be.

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