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It is held in fear by many superstitious people and here’s a top 10 list of the reasons why.

1. Fear of Friday the 13th is called “Paraskavedekatriaphobia”, derived from three Greek words.

2. Any month that begins on a Sunday will contain a Friday the 13th, and there is at least one Friday the 13th in every calendar year.

3. Few people are prepared to marry on Friday the 13th. But in 1913 a pastor in Middletown, New Jersey, decrying the superstition, offered to marry couples free on that date.

4. Rossini, the composer, regarded Friday as an unlucky day and 13 as an unlucky number. He died on Friday November 13 1868.

5. One recent survey conducted in Asheville, North Carolina, claimed that 17 million to 21 million people in the United States are affected by Friday the 13th, avoiding taking flights or, in some cases, even getting out of bed.

6. On Friday October 13 1307, officers of King Philip IV of France carried out mass arrests in a well-coordinated dawn raid that left several thousand Templars – knights, sergeants, priests, and serving brethren – in chains, charged with heresy, blasphemy, various obscenities, and homosexual practices.

7. One theory is that the Friday the 13th superstitions originated in a Norse myth about 12 gods having a feast in Valhalla. The mischievous Loki crashed the party as an uninvited 13th guest and arranged for Hod, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Baldur, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. Baldur was killed and the Earth was plunged into darkness and mourning as a result.

8. Researchers in 1993 found that on Friday the 13th fewer people were driving than normal, because of superstition, yet there were more transport accidents even though there were fewer vehicles on the road.

9. One view is that the Friday the 13th taboo stems directly from the Bible. Thirteen ate at The Last Supper and so that number was seen as unlucky; and Christ was crucified on a Friday, so that day was regarded as fatal.

10. In 1908, a senator from Oklahoma defied superstition by introducing 13 bills on Friday the 13th.