Good news for those with paraskevidekatriaphobia: It's the last Friday the 13th of the year, and if you learn to say that word—meaning fear of Friday the 13th—you'll get rid of your fear, according to a superstition relayed by NPR. But is there any truth behind the fear? A study in the early 1990s suggests so: Researchers found that "the risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52%" on a Friday the 13th, according to Life's Little Mysteries.
That study, however, was "written with tongue firmly in cheek," notes an author, although authentic data were used. Later studies have been mixed, with some data suggesting women experience more accidents on the date, and others rejecting the idea entirely. Ridiculous or not, the superstition certainly has real-world effects: Many avoid the date for weddings, prompting some wedding-related businesses to give Friday the 13th discounts, notes ABC News. And one stress-management group figures that up to $900 million may be lost because of people's avoidance of flying and other normal activities on the date, LiveScience reports.