Friday the 13th: Triple threat or three times’ charm?

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Freaky friday — Friday the 13th — gets three times freakier this year.

Not only do we have Friday the 13th back-to-back in February and March, but we can expect another in November — something that hasn’t happened since 2009 and won’t happen for another decade. While this might be a worst nightmare come true for some, for others the triple-threat is nothing but a superstition.

“We live on the 13th floor at Pitman [Hall], so Friday the 13th doesn’t bother us,” says Megs Troian, first-year nutrition student at Ryerson.

The fear of the number 13, called triskaidekaphobia, is what sparks the dread when the ominous day arrives.

Martin Antony, the chair of psychology at Ryerson University, says this phobia is completely unpredictable, and mostly of interest to the public and media.

According to Antony, the fear is not as common as many would believe it to be.

“Experts in the area of anxiety disorders don’t actually use these terms and typically don’t see the vast majority of these fears in their practices,” he says.

But last year, Donald Dossey, the founder of a stress management centre in the U.S. told National Geographic that triskaidekaphobia is a serious fear, and it results in businesses losing millions of dollars whenever a Friday the 13th rolls around.

Antony says that people may become “paralyzed” or “scared” as a result of the date because of their previous experiences, but he has never heard of the fear meeting the criteria for a scientific phobia in anyone.

While the date may seem full of gloom and superstitions, in the small town of Port Dover, Ont., it’s a reason to celebrate. Every Friday the 13th, thousands of motorcyclists from around North America come together in the town to celebrate, a tradition that started in 1981.

Anton says that those who like to self-diagnose themselves with phobias or illness are more likely to suffer from a fear of Friday the 13th.

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