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CULTURE WATCH : Getting Into Spirit of Friday the 13th

March 13, 1992|NONA YATES

If you suffer from triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13, you're probably still in bed, hiding under the covers.

But if you have only a mild aversion to Friday the 13th, there are ways to get into the spirit of the day.

The Ouija board, developed in the 19th Century by William and Isaac Fuld, is often associated with Friday the 13th. The boards were first marketed in 1967 by Parker Brothers, makers of less supernaturally volatile games, like Monopoly, a company spokeswoman says. They have been alternately applauded and reviled.

A Ouija board message is said to have inspired George Wyman to design the landmark Bradbury Building in downtown Los Angeles. A Connecticut man reportedly refrigerates the boards to prevent the evil spirits he believes are within from manifesting themselves.

Friday the 13th is also known as "Blame Someone Else Day," very convenient if bad luck befalls you.

Tarot cards, an ancient form of fortunetelling, also have a connection with this day. One reason the number 13 acquired such a dreadful reputation was its presence on the Tarot death card. The belief that Jesus Christ was the 13th guest at the Last Supper and that he died on a Friday are also cited as causes for widespread superstitions.

So go ahead, be brave. Invite 12 of your closest friends over tonight, dust off the Ouija board, pull out the Tarot cards and have a ball.

But keep your rabbit's foot and four-leaf clover close by--just in case.

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