Triskaidekaphobia: An irrational and extreme fear of the number 13. 

We’ve heard of this strange fear since time immemorial. And most of us might even have succumbed to it in our lives in some way or the other. The fear is so irrational and absurd, that many big, 5-star hotels around the world do not have a 13th floor. But this mystery remains shrouded as ever, with absolutely no tangible proof. No one knows what perpetuated this strange fear, and how did it gain so much significance in our lives.

Of course, there are theories. Some dating back to the time of Christ, and some to the time of Norse Gods. Well, no matter how much we try, this strange numeral will continue to terrorise and spread its irrational fear. But just maybe, we can unravel this mystery and live without fear? 

Here’s a look at some incidents and theories which added up to the fear of the number. 

1. The Last Supper

Jesus had 12 disciples, and when he was with them at the famous last supper, the count increased to 13 people on the table. This was the same time when Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, which led to his crucifixion. 


2. Other biblical events

Many people believe that Jesus was crucified on the 13th, that Adam and Eve fell to the devil’s temptation and ate the apple on the 13th and that Cain killed Abel on the 13th of a month. Just a coincidence? May be. May be not. 


3. The Norse legend

All the 12 Gods were sitting down at the banquet table, when the 13th uninvited god, Loki, decided to pay a visit. Things went south from there, and ended with Loki killing one of the gods – The god of happiness, which in turn resulted in the eradication of everything on Earth, except 2 human survivors. 


4. The Knights Templar

On Friday, October 13, in 1307, France’s King Philip IV ordered the arrest of 13 men from the Knights Templar, a monastic order. This put an end to the order. Could it just be a sheer coincidence?


5. The gallows

Traditionally, there were 13 steps leading towards the gallows, which meant you were about to be hanged. It is also believed that the hangmen’s noose had 13 knots, but that is debatable. Again, just a matter of how you see it, right?


6. Covens

It is believed that a coven of witches and vampires always had 13 members. 


7. The number of letters in one’s name

An old superstition believed that if you have 13 letters in your name, you are bound to have the devil’s luck. Coincidentally or not, Jack the Ripper has 13 letters in his name. I’m pretty sure you’re counting the number of letters in your name right now.


8. The perfect 12

Number 12 is considered to be the perfect number. We have 12 months, 12 zodiac signs and a 12 hour clock too. A single addition to this perfect equation is believed to unbalance the equation in the universe. If only we had 13 months, 13 zodiac signs and a 13 hour clock!


Some infamous incidents which happened either on 13th or had some association with the number, have also contributed to this irrational fear of the dreaded number. 

Here are some of them: 

Apollo 13 was the only unsuccessful mission to Moon. A tank exploded in space, and the astronauts were left fighting for their lives. However, they survived. But the fear of the number 13 found one more validation. 


Tupac Shakur, the famous rapper, died on Friday, 13th September, 1996, after he was shot by an unknown assailant. He was shot 6 days before he finally succumbed to his injury. 


During the second World War, the Nazis bombed the Buckingham Palace on September 13, 1940. The royal family was at tea time that moment.

On October 13, 1972, a plane crashed in the Andes. 12 people lost their lives, and the ones who survived did so because they resorted to cannibalism.

Many other events have happened and have been happening around this number. Although there is no clear evidence or proof that holds the number guilty, we still associate it with eerie things. Time to get over the fear, maybe?

Feature image source: petapixel