Friday, November 13, 2009

friday the 13th!

"Is Friday the 13th Bad
for Your Health?"
With the aim of
mapping "the relation
between health,
behaviour, and
surrounding Friday
13th in the United
Kingdom," its authors
compared the ratio of
traffic volume to the
number of automobile
accidents on two
different days, Friday
the 6th and Friday the
13th, over a period of
Incredibly, they found
that in the region
sampled, while
consistently fewer
people chose to drive
their cars on Friday
the 13th, the number
of hospital admissions
due to vehicular
accidents was
significantly higher
than on "normal"
Fridays. Their
"Friday 13th is unlucky
for some. The risk of
hospital admission as
a result of a transport
accident may be
increased by as much
as 52 percent. Staying
at home is
— people afflicted
with a morbid,
irrational fear of
Friday the 13th —
should be pricking up
their ears about now,
buoyed by seeming
evidence that the
source of their unholy
terror may not be so
irrational after all.
But it's unwise to take
solace in a single
scientific study,
especially one so
peculiar. I suspect
these statistics have
more to teach us
about human
psychology than the
ill-fatedness of any
particular date on the
Friday the 13th, 'the
most widespread
The sixth day of the
week and the number
13 both have
reputations said to
date from ancient
times, and their
inevitable conjunction
from one to three
times a year (there
happen to be three
such occurrences in
2009, two of them
right in a row)
portends more
misfortune than some
credulous minds can
bear. According to
some sources it's the
most widespread
superstition in the
United States today.

Some people refuse to
go to work on Friday
the 13th; some won't
eat in restaurants;
many wouldn't think
of setting a wedding
on the date.
How many Americans
at the turn of the new
millennium actually
suffer from this
condition? According
to Dr. Donald Dossey,
a psychotherapist
specializing in the
treatment of phobias
(and coiner of the
also spelled
the figure may be as
high as 21 million. If
he's right, at least
eight percent of
Americans are still in
the grips of a very old
Exactly how old is
difficult to say,
because determining
the origins of
superstitions is an
inexact science, at
best. In fact, it's
mostly guesswork.

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