Do you have paraskevidekatriaphobia – the fear of Friday the 13th? If so, today could be particularly terrifying. On any given year we have between one and three Friday the 13ths. Last year, paraskevidekatriaphobians got off the hook easy with one Friday the 13th. Every few years three Friday the 13ths occur.
However, 2012 is unique because for the first time since 1984, those three Friday the 13ths are exactly 13 weeks apart (1/13, 4/13, 7/13). To top it off, 2012 is a leap year – this occurrence will not happen again until 2040.
Tom Fernsler, a University of Delaware math professor who sometimes goes by the name Dr. 13, is particularly fond of the anomaly and everything that comes along with it. It’s hard not to feel something about Friday the 13th, Fernsler says. “I find that 95% of people in the world are superstitious about something, and the other 5% are liars,” he said.
Let’s take a look a some interesting “13” facts:
- Hospitals and hotels regularly have no room number 13.
- Many cities don’t have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue.
- If you have 13 letters in your name, you’re said to have the devil’s luck. Like this guy – Charles Manson.
- Many airports skip the 13th gate.
- Airplanes have no 13th aisle.
- Italians omit the number 13 from their national lottery.
- More than 80% of high rises lack a 13th floor.
- On streets in Florence, Italy, the house between number 12 and 14 is addressed as 12 and a half.
- Traditionally in hangings, there are 13 knots in the noose and 13 steps leading up to the moment of death.
- French President Nicolas Sarkozy may know that in France, socialites called quatorziens (fourteeners) make themselves available as 14th guests to keep a dinner party from an unlucky fate.
- Many say the No. 13 pointed to the ill-fated mission to the moon, Apollo 13.
- Tarot Card number 13 is the Death Card, depicting the Grim Reaper.
- Some say that the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (circa 1780 B.C.E.) is to blame for the No. 13 woes since the 13th law is omitted.
13 superstitious facts brought to you by the Huffington Post