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Feeling unlucky? Maybe you’re suffering from paraskevidekatriaphobia. That’s fear of Friday the 13th.

If you are among the estimated 7 percent of Americans who buy into this superstition, you can take some comfort in the fact that today is the one and only Friday the 13th of 2008.

But if you’re like most people, the idea that today might be unlucky is just nonsense. Or is it?

"I got married on Friday the 13th," said Britte Shaw, a German who married an American soldier in the late 1960s. To her, she said, the day is good luck.

But then she relayed this story. In 1981, 13 years after they married, her husband died when his car rolled over into a ditch on his way to Worms, Germany. No other vehicle was involved. She said he never drove quickly.

"As a matter of fact, he drove too slow for me," she said.

They never figured out what caused the wreck. "You never know what happened in the second before," she said Thursday. She chalks it all up to coincidence.

Spc. Joshua Kendall doesn’t buy into the 13th hype either, but he’s heard stories about his barracks on Cambrai-Fritsch Kaserne in Darmstadt, Germany, just down the road from the Frankenstein Castle. The barracks, they say, used to be a morgue. Some troops avoid the basement.

"There’s a door down there that’s sealed, and everybody says that’s where the crematorium was," Kendall, a member of the 92nd Military Police Company, said.

Some of his fellow soldiers say they’ve heard or seen things, but he doesn’t believe it. "The only bump in the night I hear is drunk folks coming in."

Michael Miller, who was visiting Cambrai-Fritsch Thursday while on vacation from Illinois, admitted to believing in the superstition — sort of.

He’s not a gambling man usually, but nearly every Friday the 13th, he goes to the riverboat to play the slots "whether he’s got work that day or not," said Wanda Sparkman, his fiancée. She knows that runs counter to the superstition, but "for us it’s been pretty lucky all around."


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