Friday the 13th

March 13th is fast approaching and for some folks, that’s a big deal. Why? Because it’s a Friday and historically, Friday the 13th has been viewed as a day to be feared. What’s worse, Friday, March the 13th, 2020 is the FIRST Friday the 13th that occurs this year so if the day itself isn’t enough bad luck for you, it is also being proclaimed as “Blame Someone Else” Day. For “triskaidekaphobics” it might just be better to take the day off, hang out with a good book and avoid people – unless of course, you want to get out there and blame others for all your Friday the 13th bad luck!


Triskaidekaphobia is a legitimate thing. It is defined as an “extreme fear of the number 13.” The phenomenon is largely a North American one, while in countries like China, Taiwan, Japan and Singapore it’s the number 4 that is considered ominous. In some parts of Afghanistan, it’s the number 39 that is problematic and some Italians view number 17 as bad luck. In trying to find historical data to “support” the fear of the number 13, it appears scholars differ as to its origins. Some trace it back to biblical times with the last supper having 13 diners then Jesus was later betrayed by Judas, one of the thirteen. Others suggest the fear dates back to ancient Norse mythology or Hindu beliefs. The truth is that no known written references to the fear of number 13 appear until well into the late 1800s. It’s now so prevalent, however, that many high-rise buildings don’t have a “thirteenth” floor and in 1980, the first of the highly popular, scary and gory “slasher” films called “Friday the 13th” began their reign of scaring the daylights out of teenagers everywhere. Even NASA, staffed by scientists and presumably highly “rational” people has fallen victim to the fear of the number 13, a scientifically irrational fear yet one perpetuated by the problems experienced during the Apollo 13 mission in 1970.

Blame Someone Else Day

How did Friday the 13th also morph in to “Blame Someone Else” Day? We’re not quite sure but we blame the Internet! I mean someone (or something) has to be held accountable and all I know for sure is that it isn’t going to be me! But seriously, the phenomenon appears to have taken hold in the early 1980s as a direct result of one Anne Moeller who blamed Friday the 13th for a series of missed appointments on that day. It isn’t just any Friday the 13th either – it has to take place on the FIRST Friday the 13th of the year although frankly, we could find absolutely no evidence to suggest why that should be the case. I blame my grade 4 Math teacher. The bottom line I guess is this: if you’re a compulsive liar or just looking for an excuse to point a finger at someone you don’t like, your chance is fast approaching. Get prepared! If you previously broke your spouse’s favorite vase and hid it behind the couch as they marched into the room asking “what was that crash?” now is your chance to haul the pieces back out and blame it on the cat. Didn’t get your taxes done on time? Blame it on your accountant. When the day rolls around and you’re late for an appointment? Blame it on Anne Moeller – she started it!

Black Cats and Buckets of salt? I blame NASA!

As for me, I don’t believe in any of this nonsense. My dear Dad was born on a Friday the 13th and in our house, we’ve always considered it to be a good luck kind of day. Don’t believe me? Come on by and say hello – if you’re looking for me I’m the one avoiding the black cats with a bucket of salt ready to throw over my shoulder and all the ladders locked securely away in the garage lest I accidentally walk under one. I blame NASA for my irrational fears.

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