Here's How The Fear Of Friday The 13th Started & Why The Phobia Still Exists Today

by Julia Guerra

It just so happens that Friday the 13th landed on the Friday a mere two weeks before Halloween this year, and I don’t know about you, but I’m elated. Chances are, if you love being spooked as much as I do (which is a lot), you’re low-key living your best life right now. But while we may revel in this particular October Friday's sinister vibes, people are genuinely freaked over what’s believed to be a very unlucky date. As far as I can tell, though, the fact that it’s Friday is only a minor detail, and we might even have Sean Cunningham’s 1980 thriller to blame for that. So where does the fear of 13 come from, exactly? According to my research, the double digit has always been troublesome.

It may sound ridiculous if you don’t buy into superstitions and all that, but I'm willing to bet a handful of your loved ones and co-workers today will go as far as rearranging their entire schedule to avoid any potential funny business, or opt to stay inside altogether. It's less about the calendar date itself, but the looming history behind 13 has everyone feeling a bit more anxious than they did yesterday. So, why is that?

Apparently, the history behind Friday the 13th is deeply rooted in Christianity.

In the Christian and Catholic faiths, the number 13 represents evil and violence. According to Stuart Vyse, a professor of psychology at Connecticut College who spoke with National Geographic on the topic, ill feelings toward Friday the 13th may have first stemmed from the Last Supper’s 13th guest, Judas, and his betrayal against Jesus that led to the savior's crucifixion on a Friday.

But that's not all. According to the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve were created on a Friday, the same day the serpent tempted Eve to take a bite of the forbidden fruit, which led to her convincing Adam to do the same.

Well, this definitely explains why people may automatically assume others are even more capable of doing bad things on Friday the 13th specifically.

According to numerologists, though, basically any number that was going to come directly after 12 was doomed.

Personally, I've always been a fan of odd numbers, and have never fully understood why people had such a gripe over uneven numerals.

Numerologists believe that the number 13 got its bad rap simply from its unfortunate placement after the number 12. And as silly as that sounds, when you put it into perspective, it kind of makes sense — emphasis on kind of.

National Geographic reports,

Numerologists consider 12 a "complete" number. There are 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 apostles of Jesus.
The number 13's association with bad luck has to do with just being a little beyond completeness.

All kidding aside, fear of Friday the 13th is a legitimate phobia.

There are three types of people in this world: those who are intrigued and thoroughly entertained by Friday the 13th, those who could care less and choose to believe that anything eerie taking place on said date is probably just coincidence, and those who are genuinely threatened by its correlation with bad luck.

So the next time you want to taunt your sister's best friend for playing it extra cautious when the 13th of any month lands on a Friday, you should probably resist. The fear of the number 13 may sound irrational, but it is a classified phobia, otherwise known as triskaidekaphobia, that stems from an extreme superstition. According to the official webpage of triskaidekaphobia, it's often an inexplicable fear that has been linked to both panic-related experiences or genetic conditions.

A specific fear of Friday the 13th, on the other hand, is a separate phobia, referred to as either paraskavedekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia. While it's a very real and common phobia in the U.S., Franklin Schneier, MD told Refinery29 that it "rarely comes to medical attention."

Unlike other phobias, such as fear of spiders or the dark, which can be dealt with accordingly, it's literally impossible to avoid a date on the calendar. The best way to cope is to just push through it. So if you are of the many struggling with paraskavedekatriaphobia, it might be in your best interest to venture outside and try your best to put all worries aside and simply enjoy the start of the weekend. TGIF, after all!