Nothing to fear …

CNJ Illustration: Cortney Graham

By CNJ Staff

Area residents who suffer from paraskavedekatriaphobia may want to stay inside today, avoiding ladders and black cats. Today is Friday the 13th, and that’s the technical name for fearing this day.

Pairing Friday and 13 are considered bad luck in English- and Portuguese-speaking countries around the globe, according to Wikipedia. The day’s ominous overtones may have originated in part in Christians’ belief that the two are unlucky because Jesus was crucified on Friday and there were 13 people at the Last Supper, according to

But for Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Friday the 13th is a day to celebrate — birthdays. For Hubert Humphrey, Friday the 13th proved to be the worst of all days — he died Jan. 13, 1978.

Novelist Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, is taking advantage of the date by releasing his 13th book in “A Series of Unfortunate Events” today.

Superstition plays a part in the lives of many area residents, while others won’t even notice the date on the calendar.

Jeff Key exercises every day. Except Friday the 13th. On that spooky day about seven years ago, Key, 29, tore his anterior cruciate ligament while playing basketball. The ACL — a ligament in the knee that connects the thigh bone to the shin bone — unravels like a braided rope when torn and does not heal on its own, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Web site.

Key underwent surgery to have his torn ligament repaired. Ever since his injury, he has avoided going to the gym or playing sports on Friday the 13th, he said.

— Marlena Hartz

Kurt Sena doesn’t know why, but it seems like every time he looks at the clock he sees the number 11. “When I glance at the clock I see 11 — 8:11, 3:11. I don’t do it on purpose,” he said.

After years of it, Sena has started to see the number 11 as a lucky number.
“I don’t know if that’s the number I should play in the lotto or what but I’m not a gambler.”

The number 24 on the other hand is a bad number for him, the Clovis inventor said. Several people close to him have died on the 24th day of the month.
“I don’t come out of the house on the 24th,” he said. “I don’t drive, I don’t do anything.”

— Sharna Johnson

When she spills salt, Andrea Burgess said she tosses a pinch over her right shoulder.
“It came from my mom,” she said. “She used to it all the time, and I guess it’s just a habit.”

Salt spilling is the only superstition she observes, the custodian at Mesa Elementary School said.

“I got married on Friday the 13th, I walk under ladders and I think black cats are lucky — I’ve never had any problems.”

— Sharna Johnson

Three metal horseshoes hang over the doorways at the Perales home.

Curry County Commissioner and construction business owner Ed Perales said his wife, Belinda, placed the horseshoes at their residence. He said his wife believes the horseshoes will provide good luck for anyone who enters or exits the house.

While Ed Perales considers himself superstition-free, he said he respects his wife’s beliefs.

“I don’t put anything down like that,” he said. “I’m glad she (Belinda) thinks of something that will keep us safe.”

— Tonya Fennell

As a child, Jessika McGarvey believed her mother’s health was tied to her gait.
“When I was little, I wouldn’t step on cracks because I heard that breaks your mother’s back,” said McGarvey, 17.

The Clovis High student said she used to dodge even the lines between tiles. Her adherence to the superstition, thankfully, faded as she aged.

— Marlena Hartz

The superstition of this Clovis resident is part common sense.
“Never walk across the floor with one shoe on and one shoe off,” Mari Blyler, 42, said.

“It could bring you bad luck,” said Blyler, who works in a local fabric store.
Besides, Blyler added, “You could step on a pin or glass.”

— Marlena Hartz

Curry County Sheriff Roger Hatcher said he isn’t superstitious and even goes out of his way to challenge such notions.

“I will walk under a ladder on purpose. Black cats don’t bother me,” he said. “I’m not real superstitious about that stuff.”

One hang-up he does have is scary movies.

“I don’t go see gory, scary movies. When I was like 4 or 5 years old, I went to see Dracula with my older sister, and it just scared the crap out of me for years and years,” he said.

— Sharna Johnson