What’s with the funny name? The day Friday was named after Frigga, a Norse goddess, and triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13. It’s also called Paraskevidekatriaphobia, which breaks down to Paraskevi, the Greek word for Friday, and dekaitreis, also Greek for — you guessed it, 13.
So what’s the big deal about Friday the 13th? According to Wikipedia, this superstition didn’t really pop up until the late 19th century. The earliest known documented reference comes from a biography of Italian Composer Gioachino Rossini by Henry Sutherland Edwards in 1869, which says of the composer’s passing:
“He was surrounded to the last by admiring friends; and if it be true that, like so many Italians, he regarded Fridays as an unlucky day and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that on Friday 13th of November he passed away.”
While the Friday the 13th superstition may be relatively recent, the bad juju surrounding the number 13 goes all the way back to the Last Supper. It was, after all, the 13th guest who betrayed Jesus, who was then crucified on the following day – a Friday. Coincidence? We think not.
Since that time, having (or being) a 13th guest at any sort of affair is considered quite unlucky. Mark Twain was once the 13th guest at a dinner party. Warned by a friend not to go, he later reported to the man: “It was bad luck. They only had food for 12.”
President Franklin D. Roosevelt refused to ever host 13 guests at a meal (or to travel on the 13th day of the month). Both Napoleon and President Herbert Hoover were also triskaidekaphobic, with an abnormal fear of the number 13.
In Paris, if you’re stuck with 13 diners, you can always hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest.
Airports often do not have a Gate 13, and endeavor to leave out the number 13 in anything to do with their operations. It is the real estate industry, however, that has played perhaps the most significant role in perpetuating the myth of unlucky 13 by deliberately skipping the 13th floor designation in many buildings. As many as 85% of the world’s high rises don’t have a 13th floor, according to the records of Otis Elevators. After all, how do you lease a 13th floor to a company whose employees — and clients — may have qualms about riding an elevator up to Suite 1300?
Then again, if you’re actually on the 13th floor and a fire breaks out, only it’s reported to the fire department as the 14th floor, and the boys in red arrive and count up 14 floors from the outside and proceed to try to rescue you, how unlucky is that?
Some people are so frightened of Friday the 13th that they refuse to go to work or even leave the house on that day, leading to a loss of $800 million to $900 million in business revenues each time the unlucky combination is perpetuated. Staying home or even staying in bed will not save you if your number is up. On Friday, August 13 of 1976, a New Yorker by the name of Daz Baxter endeavored to avoid disaster by staying home in bed. The floor of his apartment block collapsed in and he plummeted six stories to his death.
So you might as well come on out to Cutting Edge Haunted House in Fort Worth, and show the reaper you’re not afraid!
Buy tickets online Here