Fear of Friday the 13th goes back further than Crystal Lake

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Fear of Friday the 13th Goes Back Further Than Crystal Lake

Well before Jason's machete struck fear into the hearts of our parents and then us, Friday the 13th has been a terrifying part of our culture.

Fear of the date is common enough that scientists gave it a name: paraskevidekatriaphobia.

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Tracking down the origin of the fear is nearly as hard as actually saying that name ... but there are some telltale clues if you look at myths surrounding the day and the date separately.

According to National Geographic, the number 13 has struck fear in hearts for centuries, because of 12. It's a number that is considered complete with 12 months in a year, 12 zodiac signs and 12 gods of Olympus. So anything that goes beyond that number makes people uneasy.

As for Friday, it has very Christian roots. Jesus was famously crucified on a Friday and, according to National Geographic, the first known murder -- Cain killing his brother Abel -- is believed to have happened on a Friday.

One of the most noteworthy theories connects the fear specifically to the Last Supper, where Jesus and his 11 guests were joined by the 13th figure -- Judas -- who went on to betray Jesus.

Another theory suggests the fear is related to the distrust of pagan religions and the suppression of women. As HowStuffWorks explains:

In the Roman calendar, Friday was devoted to Venus, the goddess of love. When Norsemen adapted the calendar, they named the day after Frigg, or Freya, Norse goddesses connected to love and sex. Both of these strong female figures once posed a threat to male-dominated Christianity, the theory goes, so the Christian church vilified the day named after them.

What do you believe?

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