Friday, January 13, 2012

Triskaidekaphobia and Other Phobias

Super awesome Jenna McClure is with us at Tattered Pages today, with a post about phobias! Little did Jenna know before writing this, she picked the perfect host. I'm scared of pretty much EVERYTHING, but number four on the list below sums up my biggest fear the best. What about you? Care to share your phobia with me and Jen??

Most people, if not everyone, are afraid of something. They may not admit it or they may not even realize it because they don’t come into contact with the object of their fear more than the one time it takes them to realize they’re afraid of it. But it’s there, hidden deep inside them in a dark, cool place they don’t like to visit very often. Fear is not usually a light topic of conversation people share over drinks on a first date, but it can result in some lively discussions, usually on which is scarier –snakes or spiders.

Or even what number inspires a morbid terror.

Take “triskaidekaphobia” for example. Merriam Webster defines this as “fear of the number 13”. That’s it. No other explanations, no other hidden meanings or no comments on why it’s such a sad, lonely number. Wikipedia, on the other hand, is a treasure trove of information on why this number inspires dread in some people and a healthy respect in others. 

There are ancient Babylonian superstitions, myths about the number of apostles that sat with Jesus at The Last Supper and an old Viking legend about Loki being the 13th god in the Norse Pantheon. Whatever one believes, and I’m not knocking any of them, the fear is legitimate. It all depends on what you believe. 

Let’s talk about elevators and hotels or office buildings. Even if building has more than 13 floors, you won’t see the number 13 on the elevator panel (unless it’s an older building). You go straight from 12 to 14. So technically, the 14th floor is the 13th floor, but no one calls it that. And heaven forbid anyone working at the hotel refers to it as the 13th floor because the poor guest would tremble in fear and not get a decent night’s rest!

I see triskaidekaphobia as a mere curiosity. I actually look forward to the times it falls on Fridays, the term for which is friggatriskaidekaphobia, with “Frigga” being the Norse goddess for whom Friday is named. And let’s not forget about Jason and his gruesome killing sprees that have fueled Hollywood for decades and spawned more movies than should actually have been filmed. Maybe Jason is more to blame for people fearing Friday the 13th than anything else…

But what about other phobias? According to, the 10 most common phobias are:
1.    Arachnophobia: fear of spiders
2.    Ophidiophobia: fear of snakes
3.    Acrophobia: fear of heights
4.    Agoraphobia: fear of situations in which escape is difficult
5.    Cynophobia: fear of dogs
6.    Astraphobia: fear of thunder and lightning
7.    Trypanophobia: fear of injections
8.    Social Phobias: fear of social situations (I had this growing up, only it was called “shyness”)
9.    Pteromerhanophobia: fear of flying
10.  Mysophobia: fear of germs or dirt (there was no such thing when I was growing up. Jeez, if you didn’t get dirty, it meant you weren’t playing right).

I have to admit, I’ve never heard of half of these. Good thing I never had to spell any of these in my 5th grade spelling bee or I’d have been kicked out long before I misspelled “happiness”. No laughing please. Who comes up with these words? Okay, don’t answer that. I know most of them have Greek or Latin origins, but they’re really not pleasant to pronounce. Or maybe that’s the point?

Anyway, I digress…

Does anyone have any phobias they’d like to share? Maybe if you tell the whole world about them, it will lessen some of the control it holds over you. Okay, probably not, but it sounded good, right? Besides, maybe knowing someone else’s fear(s) will give you something interesting to talk about over dinner and drinks some night…

And no, your phobia does not have to be related to writing/publishing/promoting!

Jenna's latest release, Animal Attraction is available NOW through The Wild Rose Press and Amazon, (<-- click the links to go to the buy page) and based on the excerpt, no one should miss this one!

Environmental consultant Emmalyn Ashmore  is outraged when she discovers the last minute replacement for the guest speaker at her annual conference is none other than Adam McLean, a cattle rancher, whose lifestyle represents everything she stands against.

Adam McLean has never met a more contrary woman. From the moment Emma opens her mouth, he knows she’s exactly the type of woman he doesn’t need in his life – ever.

But Fate has other plans, and as the sparks fly, Emma realizes there’s more at stake than just conserving the environment. She has to figure out how to conserve her heart, before she loses it forever.

Here's the excerpt~
It’s never good to make assumptions about people you don’t know,” Adam replied, throwing her words back at her.

She jerked her eyes to him, tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “Right. Sorry.”

Idly, he wondered if she was always this nervous, or if it was just him. Selfishly he hoped he had the same effect on her as she did on him.

“I know you’re a cattle rancher and all,” she started, “but I couldn’t let you leave without talking to you about your speech.” 

He didn’t care for her opening words, but he liked her voice, so he concentrated on that. Besides, if he missed anything important, he’d ask her to repeat it. Over dinner, he mused as he continued to stare at her mouth. It was still moving, which meant she was still talking and he was still not listening, but she didn’t seem to notice.

Or so he thought.

Her lips stopped moving, snapped shut, then opened slightly. A brief, shrill whistle pierced the air. He jerked his eyes back to hers, and found her staring at him in angry disbelief.

If she didn’t look so mad, he might have laughed.

“Mr. McLean, were you listening to a word I said?”

Adam scratched his chin. “Sure. You said something about me being a cattle rancher, which I already knew, and then something about your impressions. But you kind of lost me after that.”

She placed her hands on her hips. “I was trying to talk to you about how misleading your speech was.”

He cocked an eyebrow. “Yeah? I must have missed that part.”

“I think you missed all my parts.”

“Trust me, I didn’t,” he drawled.

Here's where you can contact Jenna on the web:

Thanks for visiting with me today, Jenna! It was wonderful having you here!!


Laurie-J said...

Cool post. Thanks so much for sharing. I don't fear heights as such because flying doesn't bother but being up high without walls or at least a sturdy railing terrifies me. I freeze up. I also have recurring nightmares about falling from great heights....weird, huh??? I think some of it is because I have a terrible sense of balance and I'm a klutz - that doesn't go too well with high places. LOL

The book, Animal Attraction sounds good!!

Laurie's Non-paranormal Thoughts & Reviews


Joanne Stewart said...

Oh my. A post right up my ally. I think the bigger question is, what am I NOT afraid of. lol Let's see...I have fear of spiders (if you ever think you hear someone screaming, it's probably me) and heights, used to be deathly afraid of the dark (tell me I'm not the only 39 year old who still uses nightlights?!), but I think social phobias is my biggest. That's the hardest part about self promotion for me. I have to put myself out there when everything inside of me wants to go hide in a hole. It's horrible. I have to prepare myself for it, plan what I'm going to say and when and you can guarantee I'm going to say something UNcool and totally geeky (or way far out there) at the exact WRONG time (and more than once) because I'm so nervous I can't remember my own name.

Seriously, great post and the book sounds fantastic. I love the cover!

Liz Flaherty said...

Great post. I'm another one of those who's afraid of everything crawly. Like the dark, though, and cemeteries!

Jenna McClure said...

Hi Laurie & Joanne,
Thanks for stopping by! I think fear is just part of being a fragile human, so don't fear your fears! I still have dreams of falling and I use a nightlight in both my bathroom and kitchen (and I'm a little older than you, Joanne).
Maybe this could be the start of "fear therapy"

Calisa Rhose said...

Numbers 1 and 7 are my worst. Because of the suspicious circs around his mother's death when he was only two, my cousin shares number 6 with my hubby's dog. Hubby has number 2. And number 10? I grew up with the firm (hill billy?) belief that if a kid didn't eat a little dirt they weren't getting the required dose of minerals they needed to be healthy. My cousin and I made sun-baked mud pies- and then ate them.

K so having read AA I can tell you it is a great read! I enjoyed the characters immensely, Jenna!

AJ Nuest said...

Hi guys! (er...ladies) Just popping on in between cleaning for my daughters 9th birthday party. *sob* I'm still calling her my "baby" no matter how old she gets. So. There. Does fear of your children growing up and leaving count? Hmmm... Have full blown agoraphobia, as well. Hate crowds, and stay out of Wal-Mart unless I'm being shoved through the doors at gun point. Thanks for visiting with me today, Jenna! Great topic!!

Julie Golden said...

Good post, Jenna – rich writing material in our fears.

Perhaps there is a solid basis for my fear of tunnels and caves - I was raised on an California fault and experienced several earthquakes every year of my childhood. I didn't even recognize this fear – my husband pointed out my physical reactions. Now that I recognize the fear, I no longer go into caves. Avoiding tunnels is more difficult so I usually hold my breath until I've reached the other side. Of course, there could be deeper meaning to this fear, but I'm too afraid to think about the possibilities.

Sarah Grimm said...

Great excerpt, Jenna! As for fears...the only real one I've got is a fear of tight spaces. If I can't turn around and would have to crawl backwards to get out, this girl isn't going in!
As for Friday the 13th, well it's always been a lucky day for me.

Jenna McClure said...

Calisa, I hear ya on the spiders. I don't want to see them anywhere. If I find them in the house, they get squashed and flushed. My dog doesn't fear thunder, but he doesn't like loud booms. Silly dog. And eating mud-pies growing up was a requirement of being a cool kid that everyone wanted to hang out with. We had good dirt in our front yard.
Thanks for the compliments on AA - you're awesome!

Jenna McClure said...

AJ, I think fear of anyone/thing you love growing up and leaving/dying is a legitimate fear. There's probably a name for it too...something like "dontleavemephobia". lol
Happy Birthday to your daughter!

Jenna McClure said...

I can't imagine living through an earthquake. I love natural disaster movies, but if they happen in real life, I'm moving. And I hope you don't pass out driving through long least not while driving!

Jenna McClure said...

Sarah, here's to hoping you don't ever have to go spelunking in tight caves for research for your novels. Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

Bianca Swan said...

I'm not afraid of spiders or snakes, but I am a reluctant stair descender. Don't know where it came from--maybe it's the fear of falling. Very interesting and informative post, Jenna.

Katherine said...

Loved your excerpt, Jenna. My fear is spiders. I'm terrified of them. I once stripped off my shirt in a parking lot because I thought a spider fell from a tree on me. I won't kill them either because I'm afraid its dying scream will be a call to its brethren to come get me. If I'm home alone and find spider, I either put a cup over it (if possible) and leave it there until someone comes home to kill it for me or I leave the room and close the door so the spider has the entire room to itself. I don't even like plastic spiders and won't touch them. Spiders in movies also creep me out. I know it's an irrational fear but I can't help it.

Mackenzie Crowne said...

Very entertaining post, ladies. (Chuckling over the parking lot spider event, Katherine)

I don't consider it a phobia really, but believe it or not, I'm scared of cows. We have lots of free range cattle on our getaway land, and I sweat whenever I have to slip by them. Might have something to do with being chased down by a bull when I was seven.

But, I have to say, Jenna, I think I could get over my fear for a rancher like yours.

Jenna McClure said...

Katherine, your parking lot episode is hilarious, but I say that with respect for your phobia. I am sure I would have done the same thing!

Mackenzie, I think I would brave several phobias for McLean, but wouldn't we all to some extent for our heroes? That's why we write them, right?

N. R. Williams said...

Fear, it makes us better writer's don't you think? After all, a character just isn't as interesting without a few fears. For me it is fire, heights and a strange social fear that is limited to a very small group of people. I guess I cared about them too much when they turned on me.

P.L. Parker said...

Snakes, spiders, anything crawly! Heights are also a phobia of mine. I sometimes get dizzy standing on the curb :) Very interesting post and kudos to you on the spelling. Great excerpt!

Amy said...

Coming in late, but have to say...I'm terribly and irrationally afraid of sharks. Yes, sharks. To the point where I can't watch any show with water--even ocean docs--with my feet on the floor. Yes, I know. But that's my fear. No cruises for moi! :) Great post and can't wait to read Animal Attraction! :)