1. It’s Unclear Why It Is Feared
Very little is known about the origins of the day’s notoriety. Some historians believe that the superstitions surrounding it arose in the late 19th century. The first documented mention of the day can be found in a biography of Italian composer Gioachino Rossini, who died on a Friday the 13th. A 1907 book, Friday the Thirteenth, by American businessman Thomas Lawson, may have further perpetuated the superstition.
Others believe that the myth has Biblical origins. Jesus was crucified on a Friday, and there were 13 guests at the Last Supper the night before his crucifixion.
Another account suggests that the day has been associated with misfortune since 1307 when on a Friday the 13th, the French king gave the orders to arrest hundreds of Knights Templar in France.
2. Yet, the Fear Is Very Real
So real that one scientific name wasn’t enough. The fear of Friday the 13th is also called friggatriskaidekaphobia or paraskevidekatriaphobia. Now say that 10 times really fast!
Friggatriskaidekaphobia comes from Frigg, the Norse goddess of wisdom after whom Friday is named, and the Greek words triskaideka, meaning 13, and phobia, meaning fear. Paraskevidekatriaphobia is also derived from Greek: paraskeví translates as Friday, and dekatria is another way of saying 13.