Friday the 13th: Object of Fear for Some, Fun for Others

Jul 13, 2018

Of the various superstitions people are subject to, one only manifests itself up to three times a year: Friday the 13th. University of South Carolina sociologist Barry Markovsky says beliefs in things like Friday the 13th - the fear of the day even has a fancy title: friggatriskaidekaphobia (say that three times quickly if you can) - give the superstitious an illusion that they can have some control over events by doing things like staying home or not doing certain things in order to avoid the day’s “bad luck.” Superstitious people can cling to their irrational fears in the face of evidence to the contrary through what he called “confirmation bias.” That is, if something bad happened to them on Friday the 13th, it means the day really is unlucky, regardless of the fact that bad things can and do happen on every other day of the year as well.

Others disregard the legend completely. A Columbia group, the Friday the 13th Club, meets on or near Friday the 13th four times a year to dispel the superstition by simply having lunch, a few jokes and enjoying each other’s company, says facilitator Rusty DePass. In fact, he says, “guests have remarked to us over the years, what an unusual type of club and how enjoyable it was.” Markovsky reiterated that there is no evidence of truth to the Friday the 13th or any other superstition. His advice: don’t be afraid of Friday the 13th, just enjoy the day.