Friggatriskaidekaphobia: The fear of Friday the 13th

Today isn't just any Friday, it's “Friday the 13th.” For some people it's just another day at work, going through their routine motions, but for others, today brings real fear, even anxiety of the number 13.

Ben Johnson is a Clinical Psychologist and director of RICBT, a psychotherapy practice specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Coaching.

Johnson says, “For some people it's just a little superstition, they laugh about it, and it doesn't affect their day to day life much at all, but for a few other people it's a real phobia that impacts their life in a big way. First there's the fear of the number 13 which is a tough word its triskaidekaphobia, and then there's specifically a fear of Friday the 13th, which is friggatriskaidekaphobia.”

The phobia of the number 13 dates back centuries to Greek mathematician Pythagoras, who combined numbers in different ways to explain everything around them.

In biblical times, the 13th guest at the last supper betrayed Jesus, and by the middle ages, Friday and 13 were considered bad luck.

Eric Churchill, manager at The Marriott in Providence, says some guests won't stay on a 13th floor.

“We don't have a 13th floor at the hotel but over my career I have heard people say they don't prefer to stay on the 13th floor whether the building had a 13th floor,” Churchill said.

Abby Pearson says for her, it's just another day.

“It's a good day, it's a fun day, it's an exciting day, it's a day you go out and let your hair down and don't be afraid,” said Pearson.

Johnson says the phobia will force some people to call out of work today, cross the number 13 off on their calenders, avoid a thirteenth stair, and the even avoid the number 13 on their watches.