SHERMAN, TX - Today is Friday the 13th, the only one this calendar year. It's a day that's considered by many to be the unluckiest day of the year. We talked to some experts about the stigma, and some locals about their superstitions.
Breaking a mirror, stepping on a crack, walking under a ladder, these things don't really bother me, but then again I've never really been superstitious, but some people are.
Today is Friday the 13th, and while that might not mean anything to some people, to others it's a day to be feared.
Frigga-triskai-deka-phobia. Try saying that 5 times real fast! It means fear of the day Friday the 13th. For many people this date brings to mind the popular slasher flicks featuring Jason Vorhees killing off promiscuous teens on his birthday, Friday the 13th.
Friday and the number 13 both have foreboding reputations in history dating back to ancient times, but put the 2 of them together and you've got what some sources say is the most widespread superstition in the United States.
Many Americans won't go to work, school, or even leave their house on this day. So what is it about this day, and why are some people so superstitious? Lisa Brown is a Social Psychology Professor at Austin College. She says it's pretty simple.
"It gives people a sense of control. Oh, if I don't step on the crack that means nothing bad will happen to me. If I don't cross a black, cat nothing bad will happen to me. If I don't step under a ladder, nothing bad will happen to me," said Brown.
Brown says in addition to the need for control there is the confirmation bias theory which says that people tend to pay attention to, interpret, and remember information that supports pre-existing ideas.
"What really affects people's behavior is their perceptions of what is true so if people believe that Friday the 13th or that 13 is an unlucky number that's gonna affect their behavior it's gonna affect their thinking even if there is absolutely no reality to it," Brown said.
Brown says she's never been the superstitious type so I decided to talk to a few of her students to see what their thoughts were on the supposedly unlucky day of Friday the 13th.
"It makes me think about the movie it makes me think about something could happen mostly makes me think about pranks and pranking other people, but I don't think anything’s gonna happen to me." said student, Lauren Bolden.
"Of course it happens to fall on finals week so I think this whole week is personally freaking me out a bit." said student, Catherine Lark.
"I remember I had some friends in high school that were really freaked out about Friday the 13th, but that was never me," said student Chris Doyle.
It's estimated that millions of Americans suffer from the fear of Friday the 13th but I found it impossible to find any of them living here in Texoma. Even our local ghost hunters don't buy in to the fear.
"Whatever happens on Friday the 13th, it was gonna happen whether it was Friday the 12th Friday the 14th," said Texoma ghost hunter, Robert Little.