ABOVE: Peter Kim of Global News reports on the superstitions around Friday the 13th.
TORONTO — If you need a reason to call in sick to work Friday, tell the boss you’ve got paraskevidekatriaphobia — the fear of Friday the 13th.
This is the first of three Friday the 13ths this year (there’s another in March and one more in November) and 2015 is the first year since 2009 with three Friday the 13th.
This won’t happen again until 2026 (and then in eight more years before the end of the century).
Last year there were two —; a creepy 13 weeks apart.
Whenever a 365-day year starts on a Thursday, the months of February, March and November start on a Sunday, which means those months have a Friday the 13th.
So, why is Friday the 13th so dreaded?
It starts with the fear of the number 13, a condition known as triskaidekaphobia.
Most highrise buildings don’t have a 13th floor, airports generally lack a Gate 13, couples avoid getting married on the 13th of any month, and it’s considered unlucky to have 13 guests at a dinner party.
The superstition can be traced to the Norse myth about 12 gods dining at Valhalla who were interrupted by evil Loki. Or The Last Supper, at which Jesus was betrayed by Judas — the 13th guest to arrive.
READ MORE: 12 movies to watch on Friday the 13th
Is 13 really cursed, though?
NASA’s only unsuccessful mission to the moon was Apollo 13. The voyage was aborted after the module’s oxygen tank ruptured on April 14, 1970 (a day after the 13th!).
Many evil people have 13 letters in their names, including Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Osama bin Laden, John Wayne Gacy, Theodore Bundy, Albert DeSalvo (aka the Boston Strangler) and Jack the Ripper.
Some believe Friday the 13th became infamous because the Knights of Templar were killed on Friday, Oct. 13, 1307. But it really made its mark in popular culture thanks to a far more modern tale — the 1980 horror flick Friday the 13th.
Still, there is no credible scientific data to support the theory that Friday the 13th is unlucky. There is no significant increase in accidents (although a total of 203 people perished on Friday, Oct. 13, 1972 in two separate plane crashes) so there’s no rational reason to avoid flying, driving or going for a walk.
Just don’t step on crack.