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Does the word "Triskaidekaphobia" mean anything to you? Can you even pronounce it correctly? (TRIS-KAI-DA-KA-PHOBIA). Well anyway, it's simply the technical term for the fear of the number 13.

Millions of people worldwide suffer from Triskaidekaphobia. But just how did this constant trepidation and phobia of the number 13 come about anyway?

Well, it seems to have its origins in Norse (Scandinavian) mythology in the years before the birth of Christ.

Apparently it all started at "Valhalla," the favorite home of the god Odin, where 12 gods were summoned to a banquet. Suddenly, Loki, the spectre of evil and turmoil, the Sly One, appeared, uninvited (who would invite such a character anyway?). Nevertheless, Loki made guest number 13.

In an effort to eject him from the festivities, as the legend goes, the well-loved god Balder (whom I suspect had less hair than Loki), suffered a deathblow from a spear of mistletoe.

If you think that people in this day and age believe a lot of balderdash (we can guess from which god that word was probably derived), consider just how feeble-minded they were back then.

This ridiculous myth surrounding the number 13 began to gain believers as it spread throughout much of Europe. It finally reached even the Christian world when at the Last Supper, Christ and his apostles numbered 13. Within a day's time, Christ was put to death on a cross, sealing the idea that 13 is indeed an unlucky number...... as if he would have been spared had he only had 11 apostles!

Nevertheless, this foolish superstition has affected the lives of people all over the modern world: The owners of most high-rise buildings eliminate the 13th floor completely and simply label it 14.......strangely, it doesn't seem to occur to the occupants that they are still on the 13th floor; the Italians even omit the number 13 from their national lottery; a Frenchman won't live at a house whose address is 13; airlines rarely, if ever, have a row of seats numbered 13; and race car drivers feel that to have the number 13 on a race car is to court disaster; the list is endless........

But why is the number 13 considered even more unlucky when it falls on a Friday?

Well, apparently Friday got its name from Frigga, the Nordic goddess of married love, the clouds, sky, and housewives. In Norse mythology, Frigga was the primary wife of Odin and mother of Balder. When the Norse and Germanic clans were baptised as Christians, Frigga was marked a witch and exiled to spend the rest of her life on a mountain top.

Shamed by what had happened to her, Frigga was bent on having revenge. According to the legend, it is said that every Friday thereafter, she would gather with 11 other witches and Satan, 13 in all, and concoct diabolical schemes to make the following week terrible for those who had wronged her.

After that, whenever someone did something bad, they were doing a "Frigga."

So now you know the true origin of the expression: "Man, don't frig me up!"

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