Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bizarre facts-Fear of the number THIRTEEN

Number Thirteen

Most cultures have superstitions centered on the number thirteen. Let us start with a Greek word, which will impress your friends: Paraskevidekatriaphobia, meaning an irrational, even morbid, fear of Friday the 13th.

The Greeks also have word for fears associated with number 13 Triskaidekaphobia [triss-ka-deck-ah-phobia]. Interestingly, the Greeks traditional rivals, the Turks have virtually removed 13 from their vocabulary.

The next time you visit one of those tall office blocks, see if they have a 13th Floor. In fact anytime you hail a lift, see if it has a button for the 13th Floor.

One superstition is that if 13 people sit down to dinner together, all will die within the year. One form of this legend dates back to the Norse god of mischief - Loki. The saga tells of Loki gate-crashing a party bringing the number of guests to 13. To cut a long saga short, Balder the good was killed. For this reason Norwegians believe that 13 at a dinner party is bad luck.

Beware naming your children with 13 letters in their name, they may be cursed for example, Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson.

Warning: count your women because there are 13 witches in a coven.

How many loaves are there in a 'Baker's Dozen'? It is superstition that prevents this number be mentioned by name, in fact the extra loaf, presumably the runt of the litter, was baked as a special bribe for the devil not to spoil the batch of loaves.

Sportsmen are notoriously superstitious and many teams avoid using number 13 in their squads. Dan Marino broke most of the quarterback's records, he fearlessly wore number 13 throughout his career with the Miami Dolphins. However, some say his number was his undoing and is responsible for his epithet, 'The greatest quarterback never to win a Super Bowl'. Fate played it's part in Super Bowl XIX, where Dan Marino (13) was beaten by his nemesis Joe Montana who preferred number 16 on his back.

In the Bible, Luke's Gospel Chapter 22, tells us that there were 13 present at the Last Supper. There is evidence that this Last Supper was held on a Friday, and of course this is when Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus Christ to the Romans.

Some people are so afraid that they refuse to get out of bed, or go to work on Friday 13th. A study in the BMJ [British Medical Journal] in 1993 looked into the relationship between driving and road accidents in the UK on two separate Fridays: the 6th and the 13th. This study was carried out over a period of years. They eventually concluded that, "Friday 13th is unlucky for some. The risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52 percent. Staying at home is recommended."


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