Triple whammy today terrifies triskaidekaphobians

Friday, September 13, 2013

Good morning:

So, you wanna know what the hell is a triskaidekaphobian?

Professors are known by their extremely annoying habit of answering a question with another question.

In what sense can a thing be said to exist if a spell checker does not recognize it?

Allow me to cut to the chase.

A triskaidekaphobian is a person who fears the number 13.

Stuart Vyse is a professor of psychology at Connecticut College in New London. He casts some light on the subject in National Geographic:

The trepidation surrounding Friday the 13th is rooted in religious beliefs surrounding the 13th guest at the Last Supper-Judas, the apostle said to have betrayed Jesus-and the crucifixion of Jesus on a Friday, which was known as hangman’s day and was already a source of anxiety, Vyse said.

The two fears merged, resulting “in this sort of double whammy of 13 falling on an already nervous day,” he said.

As if that were not sufficiently upsetting to get you to reach for your anti-anxiety medication of choice, we are trundling on through the year 2013, which hasn’t exactly provided much cause for joyous celebration, unless you are a racist bigot and George Zimmerman is your hero.

What do you do, if you are afraid to get out of bed?

On Friday the 13th, some people are so crippled by fear that they lock themselves inside; others will have no choice but to grit their teeth and nervously muster through the day.

Nevertheless, many people will refuse to fly, buy a house, or act on a hot stock tip, inactions that noticeably slow economic activity, according to Donald Dossey, a folklore historian and founder of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina. (Read about animal phobias.)

“It’s been estimated that [U.S.] $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day because people will not fly or do business they normally would do,” he said.

To overcome the fear, Vyse said, people should take small steps outside their comfort zone. Those who are afraid to leave the house could consider meeting a close friend at a cozy cafe, for example.

“Try some small thing that they would be reluctant to do under normal circumstances and gradually experience, hopefully, no horrible thing happen when they push through and carry on,” he said.

Due to my rebellious nature, I like the number 13.

71 Responses to Triple whammy today terrifies triskaidekaphobians

  1. fauxmccoy says:

    fascinating little graphic that relates to the entire topic of today. enjoy, if it’s your thing 🙂

  2. Xena says:

    Sybrina Fulton to testify next Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, about the impact of “Stand Your Ground” laws.

  3. Judy75201 says:

    I want to talk about the George Zimmerman case. Any way you could do a daily or weekly general discussion on that? I’m astounded by the deafening crickets I hear regarding Chief Bracknell’s emails.

  4. ay2z says:

    If there is a cycle from the triskadecophobic, to it’s history and purposes, to the horror flicks and to comedy, to the notably lucky amongst us with day 13th birthdays and Bar Mitzvahs, the arc might turn to the awe and wonder (not the fear) of the unknown as Voyager continues it’s journey beyond our own solar system. The cycle might turn inward, as we wonder at the achievements and to the absolute wonders of the human mind, spirit and love.

  5. LaLuna says:

    great post! this explains my husband’s VERY annoying habit of answering every statement with a question!

  6. Reflections on 13.

    I was Bar Mitzvah’d at 13.

    We had a great party after, wore a brown corduroy suit, was the 1970’s.

    Later that night we played spin the bottle in the Synagogue basement and I got to kiss Amy Schwartz.

    So 13 is good by me!

    May I wish everyone all the joy, health & prosperity our shared world has to offer. Lshana Tova

  7. Trained Observer says:

    Finally a voice of reason from law enforcement. Here’s an MSNBC report via FreakoutNation:

    Florida Sheriff: If I had the authority, I would consider revoking Zimmerman’s Firearm License

    September 13, 2013
    By Bandit

    Stating he has serious concerns about George Zimmerman’s actions, Police Chief Steve Bracknell said today that if the had the authority, he would consider revoking George Zimmerman’s firearm license, MSNBC reports. Bracknell is police chief in the city where Zimmerman resides.

    Steve Bracknell, the chief of police in Lake Mary, said during a telephone interview with NBC News, “I’m a small-town police chief. If I had the authority to revoke his firearm license, I would certainly sit down and consider that.”

    “Does anyone else except me see a pattern?” Bracknell added. “The word firearm keeps popping up.”

    Although no gun was found on Zimmerman during the most recent incident this past Monday, Bracknell stated that Mr. Zimmerman did have a gun in his car.

    In an email exchange reported by Think Progress, Chief Bracknell did tell a concerned citizen that Zimmerman had a gun in his car.

    Bracknell wrote, “We did not have the authority to search his truck. He DID have a firearm in the truck. Having a firearm is not a violation of Florida law.”

    Zimmerman’s former attorney previously stated on Monday that Mr. Zimmerman did have a gun.

    The chief also wrote in response to the citizen’s suggestion that police in Florida were covering for Zimmerman, “REST ASSURED, the last thing on planet earth I want is ANY relationship with the Zimmermans. PERIOD.”

    Bracknell also told NBC News he has “concerns” about Zimmerman. “I think a lot of people do,” Bracknell said.

    Lake Mary resident Santiago Rodriguez, upset that police failed to file charges, fired off a strongly worded email – criticizing the department and Zimmerman.

    Rodriguez calls Zimmerman a “ticking time bomb” and says he’s another “Sandy Hook” waiting to happen… apparently comparing him to someone capable of a mass shooting. In response to the email dated Sept 10th, 2013, Chief Steve Bracknell said “Your reference to Sandy Hook… I agree.”When contacted by the site for comment on his initial agreeance, Chief Bracknell distanced himself saying he was “referring to the fact that [Zimmerman] seems to be involved in incidents” involving firearms.

    Charles P. Pierce at Esquire writes, “OK, that’s the least convincing “walk back” I’ve ever read. The guy wrote, “Sandy Hook.” The chief said, specifically, “Sandy Hook…I agree,” but now he says that he was agreeing with something else? Nope. Dog won’t hunt. Which is not to say that Crimebuster George isn’t “involved in incidents involving firearms.” He’s certainly been that.”

    • MDH says:

      Zimmerman is becoming a Jonah.

      Jonah in sailors’ superstition[edit source]

      A long-established expression among sailors uses the term “a Jonah” as meaning a person (either a sailor or a passenger) whose presence on board brings bad luck and endangers the ship.[16] Later on, this meaning was extended to “a Jonah” referring to “a person who carries a jinx, one who will bring bad luck to any enterprise.”[17]

      If only Wolf Larsen were around to keel haul that plump fish.

  8. If 12 symbolizes completeness, as it is divisible by 6 numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 12), which is half of itself, why shouldn’t 13 symbolize the beginning of a new cycle?

    Hence, death, resurrection and rebirth.

    Reminds me of the Ouroborus.

    Actually, the Ouroborus is a symbol of the universe itself that creates stars that eventually flame out in supernovas creating new material from which new stars are made.

    The cycle continues without end.

    • cielo62 says:

      People don’t SEE cycles, as our modern western world is linear.


    • Xena says:

      The spiritual meaning of the number 13 is the point of no returning to the “old” or point of no return. I hadn’t seen that as a “cycle” before reading your comment, but it makes sense.

      The spiritual meaning derives from Solomon’s temple, that had 13 columns. Also, the Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho 13 times, blew the horn, and the walls tumbled down. There are actually 13 tribes of Israel. With the suicide of Judas, 12 apostles remained. They voted in Mathias, but later came Paul making it 13, and with his work there was no turning back to “The Law” of dietary, circumcision, etc.

      • Fascinating. Didn’t know that stuff.

        There certainly is no going back. 13 is a prime number. If it looks back, it will only see itself.

        Another way of expressing the Ouroboros is, “You are what you eat.”

        • Xena says:


          13 is a prime number. If it looks back, it will only see itself.

          THAT is DEEP. Btw, you have mail.

          • ay2z says:

            Conversely, if 13 looks forward, it can see itself in an infinite number of powers to itself.

          • Is that not the definition of a god?

          • Xena says:

            @ay2z. That is also DEEP. Many years ago I heard a former witchdoctor who converted to Christianity speak on the 14 realms of the spirit. He said that the 14 realm is the realm of eternal life. I don’t now remember what Bible verses he used to support that.

            Biblical numerology and sybolism have always interested me.

  9. colin black says:

    Best film about mental illness an funyiest Ive ever seen

  10. colin black says:

    So what does that make me someone whom adores the nuber 13?

    Always have an always will 13 has been nothing but kind to me an even more so the date Friday the 13 is ausome as you colonials like to say.

    In my errant youth fri 13 was a day wher up on I always prospered .

    My reckoning was that if someone was going to have bad luck on that day.

    Then it was going to be me causeing it.

    And bad luck for them was good luck for me another thing is what straight people don’t realise thieves like all others are in a competitive business.

    Chances are if your looking at a job someone else an useallly some one you know will be looking at the same thing.

    Most thieves are superstisious an never work eriday 12th.

    So if you do you have an open field.

  11. Deborah Moore says:

    I lost a comment above…basically i said
    I want, I want. I need, I need.
    Bob gets down to the basics, and answers so many questions of Why do people act so mean?

  12. Woow! says:

    I am so disappointed that those in power have not been able to force the crazies back into their bottles with a firm cork.

    How much havoc and damage will these people cause before they are dealt with. I knew there were fanatics but what’s happening is unreal.

  13. Woow! says:

    Texas is at it again. I am so glad my daughter is graduating from high school this year and I will not have to deal with secondary educators anymore.

    Texas is the largest purchaser of text books and publishing companies cater to the state. You guys better scream hoop and holler very loud in protest of the nuts in Texas trying to force creationism in the new text books. We are already lagging behind the world in math and science and if Texas had its way the U.S. would be the laughing stock of the world.

    Official Texas Review: “Creation Science” Should Be Incorporated Into Every Biology Textbook

    Here are five striking examples of comments submitted to publishers by the state review panels urging them to water down scientific teachings.

    One reviewer directly implored the textbook companies Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Scientific Minds to teach “creation science”:
    I understand the National Academy of Science’s [sic] strong support of the theory of evolution. At the same time, this is a theory. As an educator, parent, and grandparent, I feel very firmly that “creation science” based on Biblical principles should be incorporated into every Biology book that is up for adoption.

    A reviewer of publisher Glencoe/McGraw-Hill’s textbook objected to a passage on the fossil evidence for evolution—despite a consensus among scientists:
    Text neglects to tell students that no transitional fossils have been discovered. The fossil record can be interpreted in other ways than evolutionary with equal justification. Text should ask students to analyze and compare alternative theories.

    Another reviewer, Ray Bohlin, told the publisher Pearson/Prentice Hall that climate change isn’t real because we “don’t really know that the carbon Cycle [sic] has been altered.” But even if it was, he continued:
    In reality we don’t know what climate change will do to species diversity…Question seems to imply that ecosystems will be disrupted which qwe [sic] simply don’t know yet.

    In the same review, Bohlin repeatedly promoted Signature in the Cell, a book written by Stephen Meyer—director of science and culture for the creationist Discovery Institute—without disclosing the fact that he is a fellow there:
    There is no discussion of the origin of information bearing [sic] molecules which is absolutely essential in any origin of life scenario. Meyer’s Signature in the Cell easily dismisses any RNA first [sic] scenario. The authors need to get caught up.

    Reviewers examining the Pearson/Prentice Hall textbook also refer to “THE DISCREDITED PEPPERED MOTH SCENARIO” and “the replacement of discredited ‘Peppered Moth’ misrepresentations.” (Starting during the industrial revolution, populations of peppered moths gradually changed color to match tree bark that had been darkened by soot from local industry—camouflage that made them less vulnerable to predators. After the plants closed and the pollution cleared up, the moths eventually returned to their lighter color. The moth example has been upheld as a classic case of evolution in action.)

  14. fauxmccoy says:

    fascinating! 🙂 i appreciate the background on this.

    as one born on the 13th day of october, my birthday does fall on a friday regularly. i’ve come to rather like the number myself but will say that those friday the 13th birthdays are generally peculiar in some way.

  15. cielo62 says:

    So many myths to explain the fear of the 13th! In pagan circles (Norse) a similar banquet of 12 gods was disrupted by the 13th guest, Loki, the trickster god. Lets not forget that the once mighty Templars were officially arrested and destroyed in a Friday the 13th!

  16. Deborah Moore says:

    Am I lucky number 13?

  17. ay2z says:

    Today’s news from Copenhagen to Helsinki, an AP article just for today.

    (would use blockquotes but today being today, and this story being wha tit is, blockquotes would go all weird 😉 It’s true, but think it has more to do with the quotations within a blockquote being an issue.)

    Friday the 13th: Would you board flight 666 to HEL?

    David Mac Dougall, The Associated Press
    Published Friday, September 13, 2013 8:26AM EDT

    HELSINKI, Finland — Would you board flight 666 to HEL on Friday the 13th?

    For superstitious travellers, that might be tempting fate. But Finnair passengers on AY666 to Helsinki — which has the 3 letter designation HEL — don’t seem too bothered. Friday’s flight is almost full.

    “It has been quite a joke among the pilots” said veteran Finnair pilot Juha-Pekka Keidasto, who will fly the Airbus A320 from Copenhagen to Helsinki. “I’m not a superstitious man. It’s only a coincidence for me.”

    The daily flight AY666 from Copenhagen to Helsinki falls on Friday the 13th twice in 2013. Friday the 13th is considered bad luck in many countries and the number 666 also has strong negative biblical associations.

    Some airlines, like Scandinavian Airlines, take these fears seriously and don’t have a row 13 on board. However, the negative connotations are a relatively new phenomenon for northern Europeans, and Finnair and other regional carriers like Norwegian and Estonian Air keep row 13.

    “Less than 100 years ago, the number 13 did not have this sinister meaning; it’s quite recent in the north,” said Ulo Valk, professor of comparative folklore at the University of Tartu in Estonia.

    “There are 12 hours, 12 months and in Christianity 12 apostles and this is a divine number. Add one more and it brings in a certain element of chaos,” he said.

    But passengers on flight 666 to HEL should have a calm flight over the Baltic at this time of year.

    “It’s hopefully smooth skies” says Keidasto. “And if there’s some passenger who is anxious about this 666 our cabin crew is always happy to help them.”

    • Nuts. I guess I am a little surprised they didn’t skip to 667, for example. I am not even really sure why I am surprised, but I am. Isn’t it true that some building lack a thirteenth floor?

      • bettykath says:

        I was staying in a hotel in Raleigh NC where a man was given room 666. He insisted that he be given another room.

        • ay2z says:

          Back in the day, was in NYC waiting in line to get into a museum and across the street, as the story in the lineup went, it was numbered 666 and the building number, if photographed, would never show up on a photograph.

          So of course I photographed the building top with the big number. No show on the photo.

          But I figured a logical reason for that given the wider lens, the distance to the top of that skyscraper, but still never succeeded in actually seeing the number, and the fact that if you can see the number through your SLR lens, that means the number shows up in a mirror. If it doesn’t show up in the photograph, the mirror is not part of the reason because the mirror flips out of the way when the film is exposed.

          That building is just too durned tall for the average tourist lens. (don’t know if this was a Friday, don’t know if it was even the 13th of the month).

          But the devil if time didn’t seem to fly more quickly for some reason, chatting about the impossible to photograph, numbers. Wonder if Google street view shows that number?

  18. ay2z says:


    To overcome the fear, Vyse said, people should take small steps outside their comfort zone.

    Sniperoo or two

    “Try some small thing that they would be reluctant to do under normal circumstances and gradually experience, hopefully, no horrible thing happen when they push through and carry on,” he said.

    Like this?

  19. ay2z says:

    I don’t do horror, but how bout some toe tappin and hand slappin?

  20. Rachael says:

    I like it too. Ever notice big fancy downtown type buildings (especially hotels) often don’t have a 13th floor? I mean they do, but they go from being numbered 12 to 14.

    • ay2z says:

      Yeah, we stayed in one of those on a trip one time, it was an airport hotel and sure enough, no 13 on the elevator button panel.

      Had a fire alarm go off in the middle of the night though, ended up in jammies on the curb (so to speak) for awhile. But that was lucky, no fire or harm that we knew of.

      Isn’t this a bit like the tree falling in the forest thing? If you don’t put a number on the elevator panel, and skip all the room numbers that begin with 13 for the floor, does the floor not exist at all? Hmm. (too deep for this time of morning, back to Lionel)

  21. bettykath says:

    I like the music clips better. Movin’ on.

  22. It’s weird and it’s pissed off.

  23. Fred got my favorite Carpenter scene, but here’s the “I’ve got a message for you. And you’re not going to like it.”

    from Prince of Darkness.

  24. Do you read Sutter Caine?

  25. Two sides to a story says:

    Good thing for those folks that we don’t have a 13th month.

    13 has always been a lucky number for me! Have a great day!

    • bettykath says:

      I guess this is why we don’t have 13 months with all but one having 28 days. One month would have to have 29 except every 4 years when another would have to have 29 or the one with 29 would have to have 30. I always thought that 28 days in every month would be a lot easier than the silly “30 days has Sept, Apr, June and Nov……” that I have to say every time I want to know when the month changes.

  26. J4TMinATL says:


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