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Friday the 13th no big most

But some still fear it.
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Missy Morrow defies the bad luck vibe of Friday the 13th, and instead sees it as a time to party.

Friday the 13th doesn’t really leave people cowering in their beds or closets, scared to death of the bad luck that might befall them if they set foot out the door, like it used to.

But a quick survey of sophisticated Guelph turned up an interesting insight: People still care a lot about Friday the 13th, but not necessarily out of a sense of trepidation. For some, it has fun and positive connotations.

These days, the 'rare' day on the Gregorian calendar is an excuse for loads of fun, said Missy Morrow, owner of Party Corner on Victoria Road.

Dressed in a punk rocker get-up that may well frighten some of her fainter-hearted customers, Morrow said when Friday the 13th rolls around, the local Jason Voorhoes appreciation crowd gets all revved up. Jason Voorhoes is the main character of the horror movie Friday the 13th.

“A lot of people are doing a lot of different things,” Morrow said. "No one is scared about having fun."

She is part of the underground Black Widow Hearse Club, a group of people that, as the name suggests, has a fascination with funeral coaches and likes to ride around in them. Morrow said Friday the 13th is the perfect day to have fun in a hearse. The reasoning is you should have fun in a hearse well in advance of ending up in the back of one.

Morrow said she and a crowd of other Friday the 13th celebrants will be at 12 Dundas Street in Erin on Friday night for the Troy Boy Entertainment drag and burlesque show. It starts at 8 p.m. High heels, caked on makeup, and naughtiness – nothing to be afraid of.

“I think the day still weirds some people out a little bit,” Morrow said. “Sure, there is still some superstition out there, but I think that’s among more traditionally-minded people.”

Cheryl Castator, a IT project manager, said the fear of bad luck associated with the day is “superstitious nonsense,” and she won’t have any part of that.

“It’s just another date on the calendar, and there is certainly no science behind all that scary, impending doom stuff,” she said.

“But I suppose it does still mean something to some people, because you still hear people make remarks about it,” she said.

Bree Patterson and her sister Carlie O’Brien will be making Bree’s wedding plans on Friday – not out of a sense of deviance, but out of a sense of power.

“I’m getting together with friends and family to plan my wedding on Friday the 13th, because that’s what witches do,” said Patterson, who clarified that she is actually a pagan, not a witch.

O’Brien explained that the number 13 is a “big, powerful day” in their beliefs – that it represents the number of people that comprise a prayer circle, and the number of full moons in the year. All very potent forces.

“It’s not a bad day at all, but a very positive and powerful day,” O’Brien said.

The women said the darkening and discrediting of the number 13 was done systematically by the church in the Dark Ages to deter people from holding pagan beliefs and performing pagan rituals. Practitioners were branded as witches and sentenced to death, and the number 13 became a bad luck number.

Fear of the number 13 is so strong in some that it has a name in clinical psychiatry – Triskaidekaphobia. People with the condition take it up a notch on Friday the 13th. Paraskevidekatriaphobia is the fear of the day.

Many millions of people around the world will take extra precautions on Friday the 13th. Some won’t take flights on airplanes or travel at all, while others stay in bed until the day passes. Untold numbers experience heightened anxiety on the day, and there can be a negative impact on business due to people staying home.  

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Rob O'Flanagan

About the Author: Rob O'Flanagan

Rob O’Flanagan has been a newspaper reporter, photojournalist and columnist for over twenty years. He has won numerous Ontario Newspaper Awards and a National Newspaper Award.
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