Feature

Friday the 13th: The cost of Paraskavedekatriaphobia

The economy gets exactly what it doesn't need in an already unlucky year

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.

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