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Triskadekaphobia and Other Phobias
A phobia is defined as a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it. Phobias are serious things and in no way should any person who is afflicted with one be made fun of or ridiculed. But as writers, we can give one or more of our characters phobias, thereby making the story so much more entertaining.
In this phobia article, the fear of numbers are the focus.
Arithmophobia or numerophobia is the fear of numbers. Since a number is neither an object or a situation, do you believe it should be counted as a phobia? Or do you believe it should be considered more of a delusion or superstition?
Triskadekaphobia is the fear of the number 13. Could this superstition stem from the Bible? There were 13 present at the Last Supper. Some believe that Judas, the betrayer of Jesus, was the 13th individual to sit down. Now it is said that when 13 dine together, one of them will die before a year has passed. This may sound like a good reason to be afraid of the number 13, but is it really? Thirteen is just another number.
This phobia is pretty widespread throughout most cultures. If you try find a 13th floor in a hotel, you will be unsuccessful. A lot of airlines will skip over the 13th row in seating, just as a lot of cities and towns skip over 13th street. In a deck of Tarot cards, number 13 is called Death. And in the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, the 13th law is omitted. The town I grew up in must not have believed in triskadekaphobia because it had a 13th Street.
Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia is a really big word that means the fear of the number 666. This particular number is known as the “number of the beast” (Revelation 13:17-18). The horrific events depicted there have caused numerous people to fear this number. Some fear it to such an extent that if the total of their groceries is $6.66, they will put an item back or add an item. If their house number is 666, they may have it changed. They will do anything in their power to avoid being associated with the number of the Antichrist.
It is doubtful that a person with this fear would live in Jackson, Kentucky. The telephone numbers in that city begin with 666. I'm sure there are also other cities with 666 for the first three digits of the phone numbers. If someone with hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia lived in one of these cities, possibly this person would just have a cell phone and ensure the number given didn't have 666 in it.
Octophobia is the fear of the number 8. Why would anyone fear the number 8? This fear may actually go beyond the number itself and be associated more with a figure 8. The repetition of a figure 8 could be linked to danger, along with an inability to escape.
Parakavedekatriaphobia is fear of Friday the 13th. Could this fear also have originated from the Last Supper of Jesus Christ and his followers? There were 13 individuals seated at the table and Jesus crucifixion took place on a Friday. It is a possibility.
On a Friday 13th in 1307, King Phillip of France had his officers raid the homes of thousands of the Knights Templar (the “warrior monks") and arrest them for supposed illegal activity. Was it just a coincidence that this happened on Friday 13th? Those arrested sure didn't consider this day to be lucky.
Or could this fear be a result of watching the Friday the 13th movies? Do some fear that Jason will come after them on this day? On Friday, September 13, 2013, the thirteenth installment of the Friday the 13th movie series is planned to be released.
So, what do you think? Is the fear of numbers, specific numbers or all numbers, real enough to be considered a phobia even though numbers are not objects or situations? Whatever you think, you could have such fun by giving one of your characters a number phobia. Pick one of the number phobias above and bless a character with it. Research this phobia more deeply on the internet. Find a person who actually has this phobia and learn exactly how one with a number phobia would act. Most of all, have fun while improving your writing skills.
Content copyright © 2013 by Lisa Binion. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Lisa Binion. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Lisa Binion for details.
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