Scientifically speaking, there is no reason to fear the number 13.
However, fear of all things 13 is among the most widely-held superstitions in the United States.
Theories as to why the 13 superstition began abound, though no one can pinpoint the exact historical rationale.
The fear spills over into architecture - many buildings skip from the 12th to the 14th floor - and geography - witness the lack of 13th streets or 13th avenues in many cities, although Fort Dodge has both.
And, of course, many people planning for the worst whenever the 13th day of the month falls on a Friday.
This Friday will be the first of three Fridays the 13th in 2012. The others will fall in April and July.
Though Halloween is traditionally the zenith of scary movie showings, Friday the 13th can also serve as a day to gather with friends, pop in a horror flick - and wait for Saturday.
Family Video located at 1513 Second Ave. N., has more than 14,000 movies to choose from.
And any time is right for a fright flick, said Dawn Heistand, store manager.
"Horror movies do very well here," she said.
Heistand, along with Family Video District Manager James Nesseler and employee Alex Schuck, recently gave their top horror movie picks.
Among Heistand's favorites are "The Shining," a 1980 psychological horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson.
The film, based on a novel by Stephen King, tells the story of a family spending the winter in an isolated hotel where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father, played by Nicholson, into violence.
Heistand also recommends the film named after the day itself: "Friday the 13th."
Though remade in 2009, Heistand said she prefers the original, released in 1980 and featuring Ari Lehman as Jason Voorhees, the hockey-mask wearing, chainsaw-wielding slasher who has since become an iconic figure in horror film.
Nesseler recommends "Insidious," a 2010 film about a boy who falls into a coma brought on by paranormal activity.
"Poltergeist," a 1982 film dealing with a family home haunted by a series of ghosts, is also among Nesseler's favorites.
Schuck counts the "Saw" films and "Sleepaway Camp," a 1983 film featuring a shy young girl's grizzly experiences at the fictional Camp Arawak, among his favorites.
Several horror films are particularly popular among Family Video customers, Nesseler said.
" 'Candyman' is near impossible to keep on the shelves," he said.
The film, released in 1992, is based on a short story by Clive Barker and deals with urban legends, including endangered babysitters, spirits who appear in mirrors when fatally summoned, and maniac killers with unnatural deformities.
"It," also based on a Stephen King novel, is also quite popular, Heistand said.
The film is perhaps appropriate for Friday the 13th as it prominently features another widely-held phobia: clowns.
Contact Jesse Helling at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org