Paraskevidekatriaphobia, Fan Death and Other Superstitions

friday 13

Would you board flight 666 to HEL on Friday the 13th? “For superstitious travelers that might be tempting fate,” reports FOX News, “but Finnair passengers on AY666 to Helsinki — which has the 3 letter designation HEL — don’t seem too bothered. Friday’s flight is almost full.”

A quick search of Google News today shows 10,800 news stories related to superstitions, and a whopping 152,000 stories specifically about Friday the 13th.

Google has indexed more than 302 million entries related to Friday the 13th – searches around “Friday the 13th” skyrocket each year at Halloween, undoubtedly associated with the wildly successful movie franchise of the same name.

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I searched for other superstitions that know no season and found millions of reasons to be anxious – sports superstitions (nearly 2,500,000 results), food superstitions (more than 3,800,000 results), workplace superstitions (162,000 results).

Colleague Jodie Miller alerted me to a superstition that plagues South Koreans – the dreaded fan death.

 fan death

“Fan death is death supposedly caused by sleeping in a closed room containing a running electric fan,” states Wikipedia. “Electric fans sold in Korea are equipped with a “timer knob” switch that turns them off after a set number of minutes. This is perceived as a life-saving function, particularly essential for bedtime use.”  Wow.

I wondered if age had anything to do with your inclination to be superstitious.

According to the “UK Superstition Study” by Professor Richard Wiseman, University of Hertfordshire, “women are more superstitious than men, and young people more than old.”

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Google appears to believe otherwise. An informal poll of my young Nina Hale, Inc. co-workers revealed that they are a decidedly non-superstitious bunch.

Are you superstitious? Google has indexed more than 1.2 million quizzes to help determine your level of superstitiousness.

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Me? I’ll be knocking on wood, crossing my fingers, and avoiding sidewalk cracks, ladders and black cats on this Friday the 13th. Be careful out there!

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