Friday, April 13, 2012


Today is Friday, April 13, 2012, Friday the thirteenth, one of the unluckiest days of the year, so the superstition says. The fear of Friday the thirteenth even has a name: friggatriskaidekaphobia [frigga from the Norse goddess Frigga, for whom Friday is named; triskaideka denoting the number 13, and phobia meaning a fear of].

My father was born and raised on Ocracoke, but my mother was the daughter of peasant class Hungarian immigrants. I never heard my father voice any common superstitions, although Ocracokers were not immune to them. On the other hand, my mother passed on many old world superstitions which she inherited from her mother. I was admonished to not walk under ladders, to avoid black cats, and to be careful not to break mirrors.

In high school I stumbled across a quotation by Francis Bacon (1561-1626), English philosopher, statesman, and scientist. He was instrumental in establishing the epistemological system of empiricism, and for advocating for the scientific method of inquiry and experimentation.

Francis Bacon
Bacon observed that "[t]he general root of superstition is that men observe when things hit, and not when they miss; and commit to memory the one, and forget and pass over the other."

With just a little thought I realized how true Francis Bacon's statement was. It freed me from friggatriskaidekaphobia and from numerous other superstitions.

So I will go about my day, this Friday the thirteenth, and enjoy the lovely spring weather. I hope you will also, whether you are on the island or on the mainland.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Rondthalers of Ocracoke Island. You can read it here:


  1. I have lived through a good many Friday the thirteenths, and I cannot remember a single bad thing ever happening to me on one of those days.

    So, bah humbug!

  2. Anonymous8:32 AM

    The last Friday the 13th was last May. I wore all black on the job and my left knee suffered a total blowout. The miniscus had multiple years requiring surgery. The workman's comp insurance company treated me like a criminal, twice postponing the surgery. My employer terminated my position at the end of the twelve weeks of FMLA (while I was still on dissability). They were kind enough to inform me that I was "eligable for rehire", and eventually offerred me a part-time position with no benefits.

    It may be a while before I can get down to our beloved Ocracoke.

    HOWEVER. True to Francis Bacon's observations, I can not remember anything ever happening to me on a Friday the 13th.

    How many Friday 13th's have I survived in the past 57 years? Too many to recollect.

    As they say, "One oh darn wipes out 30 atta boys".

    TTFN, Bear MacDonald

  3. Anonymous8:34 AM

    Oh Darn, make that miniscus have multiple tears.


  4. I have never heard that word.