We recently covered Triskaidekaphobia which is the fear of number 13. Today we will talk about Paraskevidekatriaphobia, which is an extension of Triskaidekaphobia. It originates from Paraskevi, (Greek for Friday). Other names for this phobia include Friggatriskaidekaphobia which originates from Norse mythology where Frigg is the Norse Goddess for Friday.
Many people fear number 13. In Numerology, 13 is considered an evil or insignificant number that follows 12 (which is considered as “more complete”). (There are 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the Zodiac, and so on). Hence, as 13 exceeds 12 by 1, it is considered a sign of ‘bad luck’. Many hotels refuse to have a 13th room or 13th floor. Ships are not launched on Friday the 13th since The HMS, (a famous 18th century ship) was never heard from again after having been launched on Friday the 13th.
Shockingly, nearly 8% of people in the United Sates are Paraskevidekatriaphobes.
People with this phobia often refuse to leave their homes on this day. (They even avoid important tasks like going to the doctor’s, or to work etc). They display signs of extreme anxiety or nervousness as the date approaches. Often they believe that something terrible or evil is going to happen. While many understand that their fear is unwarranted and irrational, they feel powerless to overcome the panic experienced.
Causes of fear of Friday the 13th phobia
The main reason behind the fear of Friday the 13th is due to the negative associations with Friday and the number 13 in many religions and cultures.
- Friday the 13th is associated with the crucifixion of Lord Jesus. Hence, many devout Christians believe that this date is unlucky. The Great Flood also occurred on a Friday. The Bible also mentions that the Last Supper had 13 members (where the 13th member was the same one who ultimately betrayed Jesus).
- In Israel, the number 12 is considered lucky owing to 12 tribes of Israel. Conversely, 13 is considered very ‘unlucky’.
- In Roman culture, witches are believed to have gathered in groups of 12 where the 13th witch is the ‘Devil’ itself.
- Superstition and fear associated with Friday the 13th specifically grew during the middle ages. This was the time when the Knights Templars were tortured by King Philip IV of France. (The day of torture happened to be Friday the 13th).
- In British culture; Friday and 13 are associated with capital punishment. Friday was “the day of the hangman or the noose” as many public hangings took place on this day. (Also there were exactly 13 steps to the gallows.)
- Many movies, especially in the horror genre, have depicted the day as the ‘day of evil’.
Friday, as well as the number 13, thus have many ancient, deep rooted ‘evil’ associations. Since two supposedly unlucky entities are coming together on this day, people who are prone to anxiety disorders develop deep dread or phobia about it. Additionally, a negative or traumatic event occurring on Friday the 13th, directly or indirectly, might also reinforce the sufferer’s beliefs.
Symptoms of Paraskevidekatriaphobia
Symptoms of phobia of Friday the 13th can vary from person to person. Some tend to get hysterical or nervous; still others might have a full blown anxiety or panic attack.
- Rapid heart rate (that may increase fear of having a heart attack or dying)
- Nervous giggling
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Refusing to leave the home on this day. Finding excuses, crying, screaming, trying to flee etc.
- Indulging in ritualistic behavior- for example, hanging shoes outside the window to repel evil, or eating garlic, or walking around the room 13 times etc may be seen .
- Thoughts of death or dying might continually play through the phobic’s mind
Overcoming the fear of Friday the 13th
If you are suffering from Paraskevidekatriaphobia, it is important that you read your facts about this date. Note that bad things can happen every day and not just on Friday the 13th. In fact: your nervousness and anxiety can actually cause you to make more mistakes on this day than other people who do not fear it. Hence, it is essential to educate yourself rather than simply relying on rituals or succumbing to your fear.
In case your Paraskevidekatriaphobia is severely debilitating or affecting your career or personal growth, do not hesitate in seeking professional help. There is a center set up in Las Vegas, Nevada that actually helps Paraskevidekatriaphobes overcome their fear.
Talking to a professional or even friends and family can also help you overcome your phobia. Other therapies such as NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming, Hypnotherapy etc have also been known to be effective in curing Paraskevidekatriaphobia for good.