You know the deal. Spill the salt, toss a pinch over your shoulder (and blind an innocent bystander). Speak too soon, knock on wood. Walk under a ladder, sacrifice your left testicle to James, the god of careless handymen. We're all a little superstitious about some things, even if it's just, say, the belief that we can control a rolling bowling ball with our body language. The human brain is kind of built that way.
Still, if you step back and take a broader look at the ripples that such preposterous notions send butterfly-effecting across the world, you find that things we tend to think of as "harmless" superstitions can actually be anything but.
Friday the 13th Is a Bad Day for Stocks
Long before it ever became associated with homicidal zombie maniacs in protective sports gear, Friday the 13th was bad news in ways that, while they may not have reached machete-murder proportions, were still absolute shit luck for all involved.
To get an idea of how widespread the phenomenon of allowing superstitions to control our behavior is in America, let's look at some numbers. According to the clinical director of the Anxiety Treatment Center in Chicago, Karen Cassiday, about 10.5 million people in the U.S. suffer from obsessive-compulsive behavior, and a quarter of those harbor strong superstitious phobias. Beyond that, an additional 21 million have generalized anxiety disorder, up to 80 percent of whom are superstitious, Cassiday estimates.
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"We lay millions of creamy chocolate eggs for you bastards and this is the thanks we get?!"
Now, take that many people whose fear and worry control their every move, and it's bound to have a nationwide effect. A single Friday the 13th in America is estimated to cost the economy as much as $900 million, because instead of going on vacations, going to work, shopping, and doing everything else otherwise known as "being human," all those people are instead sitting at home stewing in puddles of their own terror pee.