Do you believe in Friday the 13th? Well, the month of August has its very own Friday the 13th. It is hard not to be influenced by this so-called unlucky day even if it is a wee bit. In my case, I carried over this fetish for Friday the 13th from my school days. This, combined with ghost stories that were fed to me by an overenthusiastic-partly sadistic young neighbour only fuelled the fire for the eerie and the horrifying!
Since Friday the 13th did not care to frequent a year often, the very rarity of the date made me and my little friends associate this day with evil, bad luck and fear. Leave alone the fact that we were dead scared that something bad was bound to happen on this date! Why? How? Nobody asked such ‘stupid’ questions! Friday the 13th existed so there had to be some logical reasoning behind it, we very ‘cleverly’ presumed.
So, anything new was definitely not attempted on this date. Who knew what misfortune would befall us if we did such foolish things? As I was growing up and got promoted from pony-tailed little girl to pig-tailed high school maiden I realized that my friends and me were not the only ones to loyally believe in such a ‘disastrous, unlucky and obviously unforgettable day!’ I came to know of instances where people experienced a bucketful of bad luck to a load full of misfortune exactly on this very day. Subjective and blind belief refused to allow me to think that if one is bent upon feeling wrong, of thinking that the whole world was against them, that everything they attempted on this day would go wrong, then, nature deemed it that such things would eventually happen Friday the 13th or no Friday the 13th! After all, the mind is no ordinary thing. It has the power to transform a sad person into a happy one and a normal courageous person into a wimp! But who thought about such great logic on this kind of a day? After all, wasn’t it a global phenomenon?
I reasoned that if the great Winston Churchill refused to travel anywhere on Friday the 13th and if a country like Italy even refused to print the number on their lottery tickets then, definitely there must be something unlucky to it. I had even read about people avoiding trips on such a day and even not sitting for dinner in a room that had 13 people! In fact, many hotels did not even have a room numbered 13. So, there you see!
On the flip side, I never bothered to reflect that if people like Alfred Hitchcock, Margaret Thatcher and several other successful persons could be born on this unlucky day (it is a fact!) and yet fare well in life and get ‘lucky’ then; there was no point in believing in such stupid superstition.
It was somewhere during my later school years and during the start of my college days that I became a horror movie buff. ‘Friday the 13th’ was of course on top of my list. Many other horror movies about werewolves and children turning into evil Satans bent upon scaring, murdering and gobbling up all the good good-looking people on the planet followed and I watched them enthusiastically. Vampires intrigued me too. The spine chilling, nail biting movies like The Exorcist and Omen left me charged. Sadly, not many people shared my zest for such kind of stuff. After all, it was a time to look good, feel good, bunk classes and maybe if luck (!) permitted find some nice guy to fall in love. Unable to find any friends to share my interest with the netherworld and for all that was associated with one unlucky day called Friday the 13th, I was disheartened.
It was during this time that I got interested in the origins of this fateful day. I learnt about ‘phobia’ (unwarranted fear), ‘triskaidekaphobia’ (fear of the number 13) and ‘paraskavedekatriaphobia’ (fear of Friday the 13th). Events like The Last Supper where 13 people ate with Jesus, the day (Friday) when Jesus was crucified, destruction of the Temple of Solomon on a Friday, the Hangman’s Day (execution day) being on a Friday only added to this fear of Friday the 13th among people the world over. Moreover, psychologists have found that people tend to have accidents or fall sick on this particular day. For a logical person, it is plain co-incidence. But, for a devout Friday the 13 phobic, it just cannot be anything else!
In spite of years of watching horror movies, believing in myths like Friday the 13, I do confess that I fear the real world horror and misfortune much more. At least, in myths and in reel world terror I am aware that I am facing a temporary phase of fear and fright. Facing today’s real world horror appears much scarier than any Friday the 13th I shall ever encounter.
“Friday the 13? When? Today? Didn’t even notice it” says somebody.
Well, don’t you worry! If Friday the 13 doesn’t get to you there a horde of other phobias like neophobia (fear of anything new), ergasiophobia (fear of work) and even panphobia (fear of everything) that are lurking around. Quite sadistic eh? What else would you expect from an experienced ex-Friday the 13 phobic?