Why does the number 13 evoke feelings of
uncertainty and uneasiness? Is it really an
unlucky number? What started this stigma
Triskaidekaphobia means the fear of number 13.
Sometimes, this fear triggers panic attacks, affects
family and business relationships. Is this rooted
in superstition? Number 13 reflects man’s fear
of the unknown.
Tradition traces this fear of 13 at the table to the
Last Supper- Jesus dined with his twelve apostles.
The inference was someone was going to die
within a short time. Judas betrayed Jesus,
overcome by his guilt, he hang himself.
Mythology has its own story. The Norse gods were
having a banquet for 12 at the Valhalla when Loki,
one of the evil gods gatecrashed the party. Balder
was the god of light, joy and reconciliation. He had
a blind brother whom Loki tricked into throwing a
sprig of mistletoe on Balder’s chest which killed
him ( Balder). Mistletoe is the only earthly thing
that was fatal to Balder.
Into the Middle Ages, the stigma against Friday
the 13th grew stronger. On Friday, October 13, 1307,
King Phillip !V of France ordered the arrest of the
Grand Master of the Knights Templar and his senior
knights and other members.They were tortured to
compel them to admit to “wrongdoings.”
And they were executed. Sympathizers of the Templars
condemned Friday the 13th as an evil day.
Later in the 18th century, this belief about Friday the 13th
was again reinforced. The British ship HMS Friday was
launched on a Friday , the 13th , the captain was a man
named Jim Friday. The ship was never seen nor heard
Do these events justify the stigma attached to
number 13? It is documented that this fear of Friday the
13th costs millions of dollars a year in business loss
due absenteeism and cancelled appointments .
Some “unlucky” events associated with 13 is
the famous Apollo 13 mission in 1970. It was
launched on 1313 hours, from pad 39 ( 13 x 3),
3 of the sleeping arrangements for the astronauts
were timed to start at 13 minutes past the hour
and so was one of the possible splashdown.
On April 13th, the first of the several setbacks to
Apollo 13 occurred and this added drama to the mission.
In many hotels and skyscrapers, there is no 13th
floor.Most airplanes have no seat No. 13. In Italy,
it is usual to leave out 13 in numbering the
Thirteen for dinner? Not in France. A party of
thirteen can hire a professional quatorzieme, a
fourteenth person, from an agency. In some big
hospitals, there is no Operating Room 13, to
spare the patient added anxiety being wheeled
into Room 13.
13 is the ideal number of people in a coven.
It is believed that to left-handed people, 13
is their lucky number.
But why is number 13 given such a negative
implication? This dates back to many centuries,
and still holds today in the 21st century.
Perhaps the anticipation of the negativity of
number 13 makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Why could it not be any number?
Ref: Number Power by Keith Ellis