Need a reason to stay in bed the whole day?  Why not try friggatriskaidekaphobia.  I haven’t lost my mind or invent a new word.  Friggatriskaidekaphobia is the fear of Friday the 13th. Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom “Friday” is named in English and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen.The Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in North Carolina estimates that 17 to 21 million people in the U.S. have a diagnosable phobia of Friday the 13th.

Lucky for us believers out there, there is only one “bad luck” day this year – 13 June.

Whether you intend to step bravely into the world on Friday the 13th or hide away under your bed, there are certain rules that need to be followed or you will suffer the dire consequences.

  1. Watch horror movies – start with Friday the 13th.
  2. Lock ALL the doors.
  3. Cover all mirrors. Even better to get rid of them before the 13th. Remember breaking a mirror on this day causes 7 years of bad luck.
  4. Stay dressed and don’t take a shower.
  5. Avoid funeral processions or you will be the next to die.
  6. Unplug all electrical appliances.  Do not under any circumstances insert a fork into the toaster.
  7. Stay away from black cats, ladders, traffic, airplanes, ships, high powered machinery, knives, slippery floors, elevators, anything that could be used as a weapon, mentally unstable people…

 Maybe you should just stay under your bed and wait for the clock to strike midnight.

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The Witching hour



A couple of weeks ago our house alarm went off in the middle of the night. Nothing strange or newsworthy.  Except this happened four nights in a row and every night between the hours of 2-3 AM.

The first night my husband stumbled out of bed, looked around and mumbled some lame excuse to the security company over the phone that was armed and ready to come and save us from the intruder. The second night he tumbled out of bed annoyed and immediately blamed the cats, but found them fast asleep in the children’s beds.  The third night he jumped out of bed spitting out a couple of unsavory curse words.  This time we blamed geckos and humungous spiders.  The fourth night he snored and mumbled through the wailing siren and I got up.  It was only then that I truly realized that it happens every night at the same time.

This took me back to when I was a student nurse. For those of you that didn’t know I was a registered nurse.  One of the first things we were told when working nightshift, was about the “death hour”.  Unexplainable things happened between 2 and 3 AM.  I was a skeptic.  They were trying to scare us.  NO!

I quickly learned that it was not an urban legend trying to scare the living hell out of us. Patients that were stable and nowhere near the critical list would suddenly take a turn for the worse.  Patients that were being discharged in the morning would die silently in their beds.  I adopted the habit of roaming between hospital beds with a flashlight in that hour.  I had some very irate patients in the morning.  Nobody likes a flashlight shone in their eyes in the middle of the night.

Now I must also mention that the death hour not only meant somebody was going to die, it also referred to inexplicable occurrences. Patient IV’s would be closed and there were only two nurses in the whole ward and neither of you did it.  When I worked in Neonatal the incubators temperatures would suddenly all be turned down.  It was at that time of night – the darkest, quietest time – that you would see a dark shadow flitting around a corner, something would fall with a clatter off a shelve in the storeroom, the fluorescent lighting would flicker and die and the worst of all was the hair rising presence of some unknown entity brushing your arm and the oppressing, suffocating feeling that you are not alone.

Though we referred to it as the death hour, it has another name – the witching hour. It’s the time of night when creatures such as witches, ghosts and demons are thought to appear and to be at their most powerful and black magic to be most effective.   Some researchers refer to this time to be anytime from midnight and reaching a peak at 3 AM.  During this period, the veil between the spirit world and earth are at its thinnest, allowing entities from other realms to visit us humans. At the 3 AM the night is at its darkest and evil spirits, demons and witches draw large amounts of power from the dark, especially when there is a new moon.

Even Shakespeare referred to this in Hamlet: “’Tis now the very witching time of night.”

Whether or not you believe in the witching hour, strange things always seem to occur in the darkest hour.

My house alarm has not given us any problems since. Maybe the alarm tripping spirit is waiting for another new moon to come and visit.


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Dentist or scary monster?



Odontophobia refers to the fear of dentistry and receiving dental care. It doesn’t sound irrational to me.  In fact I am terrified of dentists.  I took my 10 year old to the dentist and by the time I left, I was trembling and had difficulty breathing.  It took every ounce of willpower not to snatch my little boy from the dentist’s chair and run for the safety of home.

Maybe not all of it was fear. We got a rather obnoxious young dentist with not a clue how to interact with children.  He was rude and in desperate need of lessons about patient care.  The trembling could also be me trying very hard to reign in my anger.

Research estimates that over 75% of adults experience some form of dental fear and about 10% has odontophobia.

My first memories of visiting the dentist were of a man with a mask. I couldn’t see his face.  He kept mumbling into his mask and got irritated when I didn’t understand what he told me to do.  Had any experience afterward changed my opinion of a dentist?  No!

I had not once been to a dentist that actually could smile, make small talk or did anything to make you more relaxed. They always seem to be very serious and one more than one occasion rather creepy.  I would rather face a horde of flesh eating zombies than ever go to a dentist.

I would like to know why? What makes them different than an ordinary physician?  Is the part in their training where they learn about basic patient interaction neglected or is a dentist some foreign species with natural tendencies towards coldness and dissociation.

I will probably never know the answer. In the meantime I will keep searching for the elusive friendly dentist.

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