By James Bradley
2009 is a particularly bad year for paraskavedekatriaphobics, or those with the fear of Friday the 13th. Today marks the third time that the alledgedly unlucky date has appeared this year.
There are many different theories why Friday the 13th has been singled out as an unlucky day. One of the key theories stems from the crucifixion of Christ.
At the last supper there were thirteen disciples, and Jesus was crucified on a Friday, leading many Christians to believe the date is unlucky.
According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, so many people are affected by fear of the day that up to $900 million could be lost by people refusing to travel or do business.
But is it really worth spending all day in bed on the off chance that something might happen?
Catherine Cooley, a mother of two who lives in Derry, Northern Ireland, seems to think so.
She revealed to the BBC that she refuses to leave the house each Friday the 13th, and even keeps her children from going to school for fear something would happen to them.
“When I was younger I watched a lot of horror movies which I really shouldn’t have done, and I think ever since then I’ve just got it in my head that on Friday 13th I can’t go outside.
“I get this fear all the time that something’s going to happen,” she said.
According to Dr Arthur Cassidy, a psychologist at Belfast Institute, he revealed to the BBC that the fear of Friday the 13th isn’t that uncommon:
“If you took a random sample of 10 people from any town or city, there would probably be about two or three people who would do things differently because it is Friday the 13th.”
Despite the fact that the fear of Friday the 13th is a serious problem, this doesn’t stop many from going out and enjoying themselves.
With many Friday the 13th themed nights at clubs and pubs, ghost tours of Edinburgh’s scariest spots and even television séances, this is a night for fun and laughter, as well as fear.