Millions suffer from triskaidekaphobia, and the fear is at its worst on Friday the 13th. But just how well-founded are these fears?
Flagstaff, Arizona – George Morales spent all day Friday the 13th in a state of tense anxiety as he waited for bad things to befall him. His worst nightmare?
“Jason Voorhees,” Morales said. “You know, the masked dude with the big knife? He’s one bad hombre.”
Morales, a sufferer of triskaidekaphobia, experienced severe panic attacks throughout the recent Friday the 13th, forcing him to take a sick day from his job at Dick’s Sporting Goods to spend the day locked in his bathroom.
“We sell hockey masks and machetes. Better safe than sorry, yo.”
The 37-year-old retail salesperson wasn’t always afraid of the number thirteen. In fact, his birthday falls on the thirteenth of September, and he is the thirteenth of fourteen children in his family. It was two birthdays ago that the fear took hold of him. After binge-watching the entire Friday the 13th movie series, a group of friends pulled an elaborate prank on him, each dressing like Jason Voorhees in order to frighten Morales at different points during the day. George became convinced that Voorhees was real and stalking him.
“He jumped out in front of me, man. I was just driving along, and he came running out into the street waving his pig-sticker!” According to the police report, Morales swerved to miss the man dressed as the horror movie nightmare only to run his 2013 Ford Focus into a telephone pole. “It wasn’t totaled, but I never want to drive that model year again.”
George Morales isn’t the only person with such fears.
“I keep my eye out for black cats all the time,” said Suzie McKinney, an accountant in New York. “But on Friday the 13th I carry Havahart Critter Ridder animal repellent just to keep them from crossing my path.”
McKinney and Morales are in good company. Former American presidents Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt both held superstitious beliefs concerning the number thirteen. Roosevelt refused to travel on the thirteenth of any month – especially if it fell on a Friday – and wouldn’t sit at a table with a total of thirteen diners.
George Morales spent Friday night sleeping in his bathtub hugging his favorite stuffed animal, a small pig he’s named Hamhock. “Both the Chinese and the Irish consider pigs lucky, you know? So maybe there’s something to it.”
Friday passed, however, without incident. In fact, a quick scan of national news suggests that not only did the fictional Jason Voorhees decide not to dismember Morales, but he also declined to appear anywhere else. Morales appeared relieved, and stated as much, saying, “I can’t believe I’m safe. Man, I really thought I was lunch meat this time.” He muses over that last statement, then holds Hamhock up. “No offense, piggy.”
“But,” he reminded us, “there’s another Friday the 13th coming up in November.”