Just knowing that the 13th of February fell on a Friday, said Bruce Newman in the San Jose Mercury News, is reason enough for many people to stay in bed. But it gets worse, because 2009—already darkened by financial calamity—is scheduled to be an unusually unlucky year—with another Friday the 13th in March, and another in November!
The financial tab for all this, said Lyndsay McCready in Canada's Moose Jaw Times Herald, will be more than $2 billion in the U.S. alone. That's because, according to phobia expert Donald Dossey, the 17 to 21 million Americans who suffer from paraskavedekatriaphobia, the fear of Friday the 13th, cut back on shopping, traveling, and other activities, costing the economy about $750 million per Friday the 13th.
Fear of Friday the 13th, or paraskavedekatriaphobia, has been around for centuries, said David Gaffen in The Wall Street Journal. But the superstition—referred to more commonly as triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13—has gained traction in recent years, probably thanks to "an annoying, never-ending series of indistinguishably crappy movies about it." Please, America, get over it.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Here comes the Pentagon's newest space plane
- 10 things you need to know today: October 25, 2014
- Let us now praise Billy Joel
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy
- Extreme haunted houses: Inside Halloween's most terrifying new trend
- Why the government should pay every American child an allowance
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
Subscribe to the Week