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ImageAre you a paraskevidekatriaphobic? If so you are probably at home reading the Star today instead of going out into the world.  Because being a paraskevidekatriaphobe means you are afraid of Friday the 13th. Of course it could mean that you are a triskaidekaphobiac, a person is lives in fear of the number 13.

No one is sure when the fear began, but some attribute it to ancient man when counting was developed. With ten fingers and two feet, the next number in a count was unlucky.  In ancient Egypt 13 signified death. It was the last stage of ascension, something Egyptians strived for. The Chinese also considered the number lucky. But the Hindus believed it was unlucky for 13 people to gather in one place. The Norse also thought 13 at dinner was unlucky.

In Christian theology there were 13 present at the Last Supper, and the Crucifixion took place on a Friday. Friday was execution day in Ancient Rome.  That last supper thing led some people to believe that if you have 13 people to supper, one will die.  Other unlucky Biblical Fridays: some say Eve gave the apple to Adam on a Friday, though there is no backup for that assertion in the Bible.  Others say Noah's flood began on a Friday, again with no Biblical proof except that most people work during the week and don't have time to go swimming...  Rumors of a 13th tribe of Israel say it was comprised of witches.

Witches covens were supposedly made up of 12 in ancient Rome, with the 13th being the devil.  Another legend holds that a coven of witches, numbering 12, once summoned Freya the goddess of Friday, thus making 13 in the coven.
For you numerology-phobes, Jack The Ripper, John Wayne Gacy,Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Theodore Bundy all have 13 letters.  Meeting any of these guys was certainly bad luck even if it wasn't on a Friday!

And this may scare some of our readers... guess how many letters 'Town Of Lansing' has?  YIKES!

Or there was that dinner party for 12 at Valhalla, the home of the Norse gods.  When the sly, shape changing, lying god Loki arrived uninvited he got a blind god to kill the god of joy and gladness, plunging the world into darkness.  That was certainly unlucky.

According to another myth a ship called the HMS Friday had its keel laid on a Friday, was launched on Friday the 13th and captained by an officer named Friday.  When it set sail it was lost and never heard from again.  According to the BBC the Portsmouth Royal Navy Museum said last year that no HMS Friday ever actually existed, nor did any Royal Navy ship named after any of the other six days of the week.  For you conspiracy theorists out there -- did records of the ship also disappear?

In 1993 the Department of Public Health, Mid Downs Health Authority, Haywards Health, West Sussex, England did a study entitled, 'Is Friday the 13th Bad For Your Health?'  The concluded, ""Friday 13th is unlucky for some. The risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52 percent. Staying at home is recommended."

As long as you're home, read the Lansing Star!

So if you are afraid of bad luck today, you are in good company.  About 8% of Americans fear this day.  So be careful and avoid black cats and ladders, cars, Norse gods, and dinners.  Or join a paraskevidekatriaphobia support group.  Just make sure it doesn't have 13 members!
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