Day of bed rest recommended

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 13, 2001

for Triskaidekaphobia


Features Editor

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13 and those who have it will probably be home in bed today, because it’s Friday the 13th – the unluckiest day of all.

Why the combination of Friday and 13 are so unlucky, no one is quiet sure.

Some wise men say it’s because there were 13 people at the Last Supper and the Crucifixion of Christ occurred on Friday.

But, what can be a unlucky day for some might be a lucky day for others.

On Friday, July 13, 1900, Teddy Roosevelt spoke in New York of the need for honest government. Two men on the platform with him had their pockets picked and several watches were stolen.

That was a good day for "Teddy," who was soon to be elected president of the United States, and a good day for pickpockets, but not so good for those who got picked.

The 13th was an unlucky date for Billy the Kid who was shot dead on July 13, 1881; the not-so-sane king of Bavaria, who drowned on June 13, 1886; and Alexander the Great, who died of fever on June 13 in 323 B.C.

The number 13 causes such fear that hotels often skip floor "13" completely, jumping from floor 12 to 14. That makes a lot of people very uneasy, wondering if they are really on the 14th floor or actually on the 13th.

Many people will not go to the dentist or doctor on the 13th. Even more will not begin or end a trip on the 13th day or book a flight with a number containing 13.

Some motorists will reject a car tag with the number 13 on it and many athletes refuse to wear the unlucky number on their uniforms.

A host of passengers refuse to sit in aisle 13 on an airplane, which is a bit ridiculous. If the plane goes down, aisle 13 is no unluckier than any of the others.

On Friday the 13th, those who have triskaidekaphobia are especially cautious because it’s a double whammy day and they certainly don’t want to make it a triple threat by doing any other freaky foolishness, such as walking under a ladder or getting the curse of the black cat.

But, for those who live in the USA, there is a sliver cloud to the dark cloud that hangs over Friday the 13th.

So, Americans, put your mind at ease because the Great Seal of the United States contains 13 stars, 13 bars and an eagle with 13 tail feathers, holding 13 arrows and 13 olive branches. In addition, "E Pluribus Unum" has 13 letters and there were 13 original colonies.

So, today if you step on a crack in the sidewalk, break a mirror, walk under a ladder or a black cat crosses your path, take heart because Uncle Sam has got your superstitious self covered.