Friday, June 13, 2014

It is Friday the 13th and many have fears of bad luck today. There are many hotels that even eliminate the thirteenth floor. Of course it is still there but the elevator goes from 12 to 14 in their labeling of floors. Now that we are in the year 2013, we will be staring at that number for a long while.

According to expert Tarot readings at 13 stands for change. And transformation mostly causes fear for the humans. In Tarot, the thirteenth cards archetype is death. In the Bible, there were 13 present at the Last Supper of Christ before his death.

The Extinguishing of the 13 candle symbolizes the earthly darkness at the death of Christ. 13 is a number of misfortunes, since it is the number of Judas, Jesus and the twelve disciples.

Doesn't it make total sense to allow a simple number to inspire fear and extra caution? Well, no, it doesn't. But our fixation with the number 13 runs deep. Architects frequently omit a 13th floor from their plans. Parties featuring 13 guests give hosts pause and the arrival of a Friday the 13th on the calendar can cause palpable dread and frantic re-scheduling of plans.

Of course, unlucky 13 isn't the only popular superstition that has been clinging, barnacle-like, to the human psyche for decades. We're also beholden to black cats, rabbits' feet, broken mirrors and umbrellas opened indoors. In fact the numbers are in from this past Halloween. Will the number 13 be a large factor in the equation? Let us see.

This past Halloween had a record 170 Million people who said they planned to celebrate Halloween in 2014 that was according to the National Retail Federation Survey. Total Halloween products spending hit a all time high of $8 Billion dollars. That means the average household spent $80 dollars on Halloween products which is up from last year which was about $72 per household. So, we all like to buy creepy stuff? Or are we all so disgusted with something in our lives we just want to do something creepy to someone else for a change?

More than 93% of children went Trick or Treating according to a survey by the National Confectioners Association. Well, I can understand that high number. Where else can you send your kids to get free stuff? Stuff you don’t want to spend any money on, that gooey sugar filled crap that gets stuck in your teeth. Hey, let me check your goody bag Junior! Hmnnnnnnnnnnnn good. Oops!

Chocolate is the favorite treat of 63% of those professional Trick or Treating kids followed by 9% who favor lollipops. Gummy candy is the favorite of 7% who even take their vitamin supplements in the form of Gummy Bears. They are equaled by 7% who favor bubble gum.

As for the adults who handed out the treats, 41% confessed that they ate treats from their own candy bowls so often that at some point they were giving out handfuls’ of coins to the kids once they ran out of candy. That is embarrassing if you have to do that while your teeth still have chocolate on them.

"The number 13 has a number of very old references that tend to be associated with groups of 13 people," explained author and psychology professor Stuart Vyse.

"At the Last Supper in Christian theology, there were 13 dinner guests, so that number is unlucky because Christ was betrayed. ... And in Norse mythology, 12 benevolent gods were gathering in a hall and the evil god Loki attacked the group. Loki was the 13th guest, and the god Balder was killed in the melee."

It also has been  noted that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was quite fearful of the number 13, and he took great pains to avoid hosting a meal for a group of that size. "If he had a cancellation and it looked as if there might be 13 people to lunch, he invited his secretary to join them so there wouldn't be 13," he said.

The fear of the number 13 is so pervasive that it even has a phobia named after it: triskaidekaphobia. Based on this phobia, airlines typically do not have a 13th row, and most tall buildings do not have a 13th floor. Enjoy your day!


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