WASHINGTON - For those of you with paraskevidekatriaphobia and/or triskaidekaphobia, today is not your day.
For the third time this year, we're seeing a Friday the 13th. (Paraskevidekatriaphobics have a fear of Friday the 13th.) That's the most that can occur in a single calendar year, according to Tom Fernsler, a mathematician at the University of Delaware who is -- yes -- the nation's expert on the number 13.
And for the first time since 1984, those three Friday the 13ths - Jan. 13, April 13 and July 13 - are exactly 13 weeks apart, not good news for triskaidekaphobics, who have a fear of the number 13.
Cue the Psycho slasher music.
According to an article in the International Business Times, many sources claim that fear of Friday the 13th is the No. 1 superstition held by Americans. The Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, N.C., estimates that roughly 17 million to 21 million people suffer from fear of the number 13.
Fernsler, who is also known as "Dr. 13," says that not only is the number 13 often considered unlucky, but Friday also has a reputation as a day of bad luck. For instance, it was the day Christ was crucified. Also, Judas, Jesus' apostle and betrayer, is believed to have been the 13th guest at the Last Supper.
"If you're not superstitious, maybe you should be" says Fernsler. "Eighty-seven percent of all the people in the world are superstitious about something. The other 13 percent are liars."
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