Friday, February 11, 2011

The Number 13

Why do people tremor when they see the number 13?

Fear of the number 13 and Friday the 13th is a superstition that everyone is familiar with. Many people are convinced that the number 13 is unlucky. People try to avoid the number altogether, even if that means not leaving their house on Friday the 13th. This is such a widespread superstition that many hotels don’t even have a 13th floor. If you go into an elevator the floor numbers usually skip from 12 to 14. If seems that everyone is onboard with this superstition even hotels. There are many reasons why people have this overwhelming fear of the number 13. Firstly, at the Last Supper Judas was the 13th guest. Judas, one of the twelve disciples, betrayed Jesus. In addition, the Tarot card 13 is the card of death and Apollo 13(the spaceship) had to abandon a mission because of an onboard explosion which happened on April 13th. And there were also 13 women found guilty and executed at the Salem witch trials.

Even though it is understandable why people would connect the number 13 with bad luck, there is no statistical evidence that shows that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day. It may even be a safer day since a lot of people steer clear of that day altogether. Some people have such an overwhelming fear of the number 13 that it creates anxiety and panic. This phobia that people have is called Triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13). There are techniques that therapists used to help conquer this fear. To everyone else the fear seems irrational but it is a very real thing to those who suffer from this phobia. Exposure to the number 13 is said to help with this fear. The idea that 13 is an unlucky number is quite interesting. To think that a certain number can create bad luck seems silly to me. I have a hard time believing one single number can create unlucky events in someone's life. Until there are reliable studies indicating that the number 13 is unlucky, it will just remain as another ridiculous superstition.


1 comment:

  1. Half of my family is especially superstitious (I suppose its a Spanish thing) and whenever it is discussed how I was born on Friday the 13th.. my only saving grace is that it was Good Friday.