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Friday the 13th


Are you a bit superstitious about the date, Friday the 13th? It appears some people are , and it’s even been given a name , paraskevidekatriaphobia. In Greek paraskevi means Friday, dekatreis means 13 , and we all know that phobia means fear. This fear existed before the ‘Friday the 13th ‘ horror movie franchise which started in 1980 and churned out 12 slasher movies. Friday the 13th was also the day in October 1989 that I was taken hostage by Kenneth Meller, an inmate at Northern Nevada Correctional Center, the prison I was working at as a doctor. He also had a real knife, but not as large as the one Jason used in the eight ‘Friday the 13th’ movies by 1989.


Am I superstitious about Friday the 13th ? No, but it seems some people are. I’ve always wondered why the number 13 is considered so unlucky in our culture that we tend not to have floors in apartment buildings labelled 13, nor gate 13 in airports, and hotels do not have a room 13, etc. When one googles why the number 13 is deemed unlucky these are the things that come up: Jesus was crucified on a Friday, at the last supper there were 13 apostles (and you know who they considered 13, Judas), the Knights of Templars were tortured by King Philip IV of France on Friday October 13, 1307, in the British culture Friday was the “day of the hangman’ and there were 12 steps up to the gallows and one down (13) , the 13th card in the Tarot deck is the death card, 13 is ‘beyond completeness’—not like the 12 signs of the zodiac, the 12 hours of a clock, the 12 apostles, the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 days of Christmas.


Humans and where their superstitions and beliefs come from are interesting. I’m glad that I never considered Friday the 13th an unlucky day because I was taken hostage. I chose to look at it as a lucky day—I survived. Hope nothing bad happens to you on Friday the 13th---

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