For the second time this year, Friggatriskaidekaphobes are having a bad day. Today is the second Friday the 13th of the year, and they’ll be one more by the end of 2012.
And in case you were wondering, Friggatriskaidekaphobia and paraskevidekatriaphobia are real afflictions. According to Dr. Donald Dossey, a psychotherapist who specializes in the treatment of phobias, estimates that more than 2o million people have a fear of Friday the 13th. The Daily Mail reports that nearly 60 million suffer from a fear of Friday the 13th worldwide.
It may sound silly (or absolutely terrifying) but Friggatriskaidekaphobia does have real world effects. According to the Washington Post, more than $800 million is lost on Friday the 13th as millions of people are afraid to, well, do just about anything.
Donald Dossey, founder of the Phobia institute, told National Geographic:
“It’s been estimated that $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day, because people will not fly or do business they would normally do.”
If you’re a little afraid of Friday the 13th you might not want to hear this next bit of news. This year, there are three Friday the 13ths that fall 13 weeks apart from one another. (January 13th, April 13th, July 13th). It’s also 2012, which will apparently be the year that the world ends.
So why are people afraid of this unlucky date. Well, it depends on who you ask. Some say that 13 is unlucky because it comes after 12, which is considered a complete number. Thomas Fernsler, a math specialist at the University of Delaware, notes that there are “12 months in a year, signs of the zodiac, gods of Olympus, labors of Hercules, tribes of Israel, apostles of Jesus, days of Christmas and eggs in a dozen.” Thirteen makes people feel incomplete and nervous.
Are you afraid of Friday the 13th?