Superstition Expert

In my role as Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Inquiry, I have participated in the occasional "Superstition Bash" held on a Friday the Thirteenth. In one photo, chairman Paul Kurtz and I tempt bad luck by walking under a ladder, opening an umbrella indoors, letting a black cat cross our path, and smashing a mirror. The latter action is shown in another photo with New York comedian Susie Felber doing the honors. Also shown are a flyer for one bash and a badge I've worn proclaiming the wearer a Friggatriskaidekaphobiologist (a made-up term for one who studies the fear of Friday the Thirteenth). (See Joe Nickell, "A Brief History of Friday the 13th," Skeptical Briefs 7:2 (June 1997), p.4; shown is a version of that text which appeared in the Miami Herald, June 13, 1997.)

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