If you have an uneasy feeling today, you’re not the only one and you may be suffering from paraskevidekatriaphobia, also known as friggatriskaidekaphobia, meaning the fear of Friday the 13th.
Donald Dossey, a behavioural scientist behind the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, describes phobia as the irrational, persistent fear or excessive avoidance of a specific object, activity or situation. According to the institution’s website, symptoms can range from mild anxiety and a sense of impending doom to full-blown panic attacks.
Dossey estimates between 17 to 21 million Americans suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia and another four to five million in the United Kingdom.
While the Friday the 13th horror franchise may have solidified the urban legend into the minds of many, the unlucky day can be traced back to biblical times. Judas — notorious for betraying Jesus — was the 13th guest to arrive at the Last Supper on a Thursday evening and Jesus was crucified the next day, on Friday.
The date can also be traced back in Nordic mythology. According to LiveScience, 12 gods gathered for a dinner party but a 13th guest arrived, uninvited. Loki, described as mischievous and a trickster, shot Balder the Beautiful — bringing darkness and mourning into the world.
This Friday the 13th also coincides with a “Micro Harvest Moon.” The last time this particular event happened on Friday the 13th was back in October 2000 and it won’t happen again until August of 2049.
According to NASA, the moon will be full at half-past midnight and stay full for the next two days at around the same time, from Thursday night through to Sunday morning.
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