Paraskevidekatriaphobics - Are you among the 21 million Americans (8% of the population) who suffer from it?
If so, what did you do today?
Paraskevidekatriaphobicsis the morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th. And according to Urban Legends on About.com, it's the most widespread superstition in the U.S. today. (Have you ever noticed that some buildings don't have a 13th floor?)
Both the number 13 and Friday engender fear for some - and when you put the two fears together in one person, you get a case of Paraskevidekatriaphobics.
Legends being what they are, no one actually knows where the superstition started. There are more than enough stories and superstitions to take your pick among them.
For instance, "If 13 people sit down to dinner together one of them will die within the year."
However, in spite of all the fears associated with the number 13, both the ancient Chinese and the Egyptians in the time of the pharaohs believed that 13 was a lucky number.
I think I'll go along with them. When I used to go play Bingo I always looked for a card with the number 13 - and if today can be considered representative of Friday the 13th, then I'd say it's a lucky day, too.
Friday seems to have just as many bad luck tales as the number 13 - legend even has it that if you change your bed on Friday you'll have bad dreams.
Snopes quotes many old sayings about both - many of them involving the folly of beginning or finishing a task on those days.
On a more serious note, here in North Idaho, I expect there are many who would equate "Friday" with bad luck. The Lucky Friday Mine has just closed for a year in order to comply with new Federal regulations. According to the local news, that puts 185 miners plus more than 100 subcontractors out of work. This is a major economic blow to the Silver Valley, especially the small town of Mullan - population 692.
What does this have to do with black cats? Nothing - except that it's just as silly to be afraid of Friday the 13th as it is to be afraid of a black cat.