Friday the 13th Fear

Growing up, your parents may have taught you a little fear is normal, even healthy. After all, there are all kinds of books, holidays, and movies dedicated to scaring, frightening, and haunting us, but sometimes those fears can get out of control.

Friday the 13th and Halloween are popular days to play on superstitions and phobias for fun, but some take it very seriously, letting fear control their lives.

Psychologist Sid Epperson said, "If it keeps you inside your house and it results in you avoiding situations that you'd really like to do or participate in, then it kind of goes over that line and we consider it to be impairing or hindering a person's functioning."

Superstitious parents should keep their phobias in check because many of them pass their fears onto their children.

Epperson said, "Your kids do learn a lot from watching the adults that are in their life, so if you're anxious and your kids pick up on that, they're going to see what you're doing and they'll also pick up on those anxieties and those fears, and in turn, either do the same kinds of things that you're doing to handle that anxiety or sometimes they'll do different kinds of things."

Research does not show more serious accidents or bad things happen on Friday the 13th than on any other day, but Doctor Epperson said if someone believes harmful things will happen to them, they'll base their actions on those beliefs - whether they are just superstition or real.

An estimated $800 million is lost in business on Friday the 13th because some people will not fly or do business they would normally do. The East Texas News team asked some East Texans if Friday the 13th kept them from completing any of their daily activities.

"I'm superstitious a little bit, but I just think it's another day because nothing ever really happens," said a Lufkin video store clerk.

"I guess it depends on how you feel when you get up in the mornings," said a Lufkin resident. "It's gonna be a good day or a bad day. Normally, I'm superstitious so I have to be careful how I drive, where I walk, what I touch, and what I do."

"I'm not necessarily superstitious about it, but I definitely woke up [Friday] morning hoping it wouldn't be a bad day," said a Nacogdoches woman.