Monday, May 9, 2011


The word "paranormal" can mean a whole lot of things. Ghosts. Witches. Shape shifters.

No matter what, though, there are almost always superstitions attached to the word.

Personally, I'm not really superstitious. I don't "knock on wood" or hold my breath crossing a bridge.

Some superstitions make a lot of sense. Really, is it bad luck to walk under a ladder? Maybe not, but I don't think it's that smart. If you bump the ladder, whoever is on it might fall. Or they might drop that bucket of paint all over you. It may not be bad luck, but it doesn't seem smart, either. Does one apple each day keep the doctor away? Doubtful. But people who pick more healthy foods are usually, well, healthier. What about the idea that a cat will try to steal a baby's breath? Not true. But a cat will try to get that milk all over the baby's face and can (in extremely rare cases) smother the baby while doing so.

Some superstitions have made their way into the realm of tradition. How many brides have worn something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue?

One of my "favorite" superstitions, however, happens this week. Friday, to be exact. Friday the 13th.

Friday the 13th is a combination of two different superstitions: Friday and the number 13.

Most people have heard of the number 13 being unlucky. And anything to do with that number is "taboo." Hotels skip the 13th room, buildings the 13th floor, city's the 13th street. It's not lucky to have 13 letters in your name: Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy. Planning a dinner party? Avoid having 13 people at the table. One is said to die within the year, a superstition that dates back to the time of Jesus when he dined with his 12 disciples.

Bad luck on Friday is a less common belief. Most people I know look forward to Fridays, since it's the last day of the traditional work week and the start of the weekend. Sailors, however, avoid Fridays. Years ago the British government wanted to quell the "Friday superstition" and did everything they could to prove how silly it was. They commissioned the HMS Friday, christened the ship on a Friday, launched her on a Friday, selected the crew on a Friday. They even put Captain Jim Friday in charge. The ship disappeared on her maiden voyage.

Combine it all, and it's understandable why some might be tempted to stay home this Friday. Those who don't may have some "bad luck"—or they may find themselves victims of a self-fulling prophecy.

Me? I'll be going out to dinner with the family. No, not as a way to thumb my nose at fate. Instead, my family will be celebrating. It's not every Friday the 13th that the baby of the family turns 18, is it?


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