Skip to main content


I love everything weird and colorful in this world and I try to live a life that will make the world a little better once I'm gone.

Photo by KAB - All rights reserved

Photo by KAB - All rights reserved

The Fear of the Number 13

Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13. We have all heard of it, and many have heard rumors as to its origin, but do we really know the extend to which this superstition reaches worldwide, and for how long this fear has existed?

From the vikings, to the disciples, to the Knights Templar, to the Lunar calendar, there are many theories of the origin of Triskaidekaphobia. The myriad of occurrences of 13 portrayed in a negative light have furthered the superstition to travel around the world and increase its intensity.

Let's dive into the mysterious number 13...


The Fear of 13

The word triskaidekaphobia comes from greek: 'tris' meaning 'three', 'kai' meaning 'and', 'deka' meaning 'ten', and 'phobia' as we know meaning 'fear'. It is the fear of the number 13.

A specific fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia.

Related phobias include arithmophobia or numerophobia, which is the general fear of numbers, and hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia the fear of the number 666. Also, Tetraphobia, is fear of the number 4, a number considered quite unlucky in Korea, China, and Japan.

If you are interested in the names of (many) other phobias, visit the Phobia List.

The Guide to the 13 Superstition

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th

Occurrences and Examples of the 13 Superstition in Action

  • Many tall buildings have no floor numbered as "13". Check the elevator buttons to see if 13 has been omitted.
  • Some passenger airplanes skip 13 when numbering the rows of seating to avoid apprehension for the superstitious.
  • In Formula One and many other racing categories, no vehicle carries the number 13.
  • Hospitals and hotels routinely have no room number 13.
  • On streets in Florence, Italy, and in much of France the house between number 12 and 14 is addressed as 12 and a half.
  • In Scotland, none of the airports have a terminal 13. Instead they are given the terminal number 12B.
  • There is no sound stage numbered 13 at Universal Studios in California.
  • Microsoft skipped the name Office 13. Office 12 (a.k.a Microsoft Office 2007) was followed by the next release whose working title was Microsoft Office 14 (then renamed Office 2010).

Possible Origins of this Worldwide Phobia - Why are we afraid of 13?

  • Ancient man's counting method could be the very earliest cause of the 13 fear. Counting was done using ten fingers and two feet (presumably covered with a shoe). Anything beyond the countable 12 was deemed "unknown" and therefore suspect. In English, we have distinct names for the numbers one through twelve.
  • Perhaps the 13 superstition stems from the Last Supper. At that meal 13 people sat a the table. Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th to sit at the table. This may also be the cause for the superstition that if 13 people sit down to a meal, then one will die within the year.
  • The is a a Norse myth about 12 gods who had a dinner party at Valhalla, their heaven. A thirteenth - uninvited - guest attended the party. The 13th guest was the mischievous Loki. Once there, Loki tricked Hoder, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow, killing him.
  • The thirteen superstition may also be linked to that fact that a luni-solar calendar has 13 months in some years, while the solar Gregorian calendar and lunar Islamic calendar always have 12 months in a year.

Thirteen: A Journey Into the Number

Does calling the thirteenth floor Floor 14 make it any less unlucky?

Does calling the thirteenth floor Floor 14 make it any less unlucky?

Does calling the thirteenth floor Floor 14 make it any less unlucky?

Financial Impact of the Fear of Friday the 13th

The cost of paraskavedekatriaphobia / friggatriskaidekaphobia

"It's been estimated that [U.S] $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day because people will not fly or do business they would normally do," said Donald Dossey, founder of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina.


Triskaidekaphobia Videos

Finger Painting of the Number Thirteen

Finger Painting of the Number Thirteen

Scroll to Continue

How about you...

Many people change their activities for Friday the 13th out of a fear that the day us unlucky. Some people shy away from significant things they would normally be doing like flying, purchasing a home, purchasing a car, etc. Others don't even leave their house!

The LUCKY Child 13

A surprising twist

With so much unluckiness about the number 13, it may be is surprising to some that superstitions say that 13 is not always unlucky. Those who are superstitious believe that children who are born on the 13th of any month shall be LUCKY in all of their ventures in life.

This is excellent news since I was one of those children!


Early American 13s (or so the British said)

As Printed in a London Newspaper in 1776

The number 13 came up many times surrounding the Americans at the time of the American Revolution. How much of this was intentional, versus coincidental, we will never know.

Thirteen is a number peculiarly belonging to the rebels. A party of naval prisoners lately returned from Jersey say that the rations among the rebels are thirteen dried clams per day; that the titular Lord Stirling takes thirteen glasses of grog every morning, has thirteen enormous rum-bunches on his nose, and that (when duly impregnated) he always makes thirteen attempts before he can walk; that Mr. Washington has thirteen toes on his feet (the extra ones having grown since the Declaration of Independence,) and the same number of teeth in each jaw; that the Sachem Schuyler has a top-knot of thirteen stiff hairs, which erect themselves on the crown of his head when he grows mad; that Old Putnam had thirteen pounds of his posteriors bit off in an encounter with a Connecticut bear, ('twas then he lost the balance of his mind); that it takes thirteen Congress paper dollars to equal one penny sterling; that Polly Wayne was just thirteen hours in subduing Stony Point, and as many seconds in leaving it; that a well-organized rebel household has thirteen children, all of whom expect to be generals and members of the High and Mighty Congress of the "thirteen United States" when they attain thirteen years; that Mrs. Washington has a mottled tom-cat, (which she calls, in a complimentary way, 'Hamilton,') with thirteen yellow rings around his tail, and that his flaunting it suggested to the Congress the adoption of the same number of stripes for the rebel flag.

Source: Journal of Captain Smythe R.A. January 1780

History of the Flag of the United States, 1880, by George Henry Preble (p. 264)

Why is FRIDAY the 13th especially unlucky? - (paraskavedekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia)

  • The Crucifixion took place on a Friday, linking the bad luck of 13 (from the last supper) to the misfortune of the next day, Friday.
  • The association of Friday the thirteenth with the arrest of Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, on Friday, October 13, 1307 by King Philippe IV of France has oftem been referenced as the origin of paraskavedekatriaphobia (Dan Brown included this in The Da Vinci Code), however this is a modern-day story.

The Thirteen Club

An effort to end the superstition

In 1881, a group of rationalists joined together in forming The Thirteen Club. Their goal was to debunk the 13-at-table myth by dining once a month with 13 at each table, to show that no more of them died than in any other group. Though it took a year to recruit the first 13 members, by 1887 The Thirteen Club was 400-strong, with five U.S. Presidents as honorary members.

A copy of Robert Green Ingersoll's toast at the December 13, 1886 dinner is available online. It ends with:

"We have had enough mediocrity, enough policy, enough superstition, enough prejudice, enough provincialism, and the time has come for the American citizen to say: "Hereafter I will be represented by men who are worthy, not only of the great Republic, but of the Nineteenth Century."

More Bizarre 13 Facts

  • There are traditionally thirteen steps leading up to a gallows.
  • In Tarot decks, the 13th card of the Major Arcana is Death. While Death is rarely interpreted literally, it is possible that this furthered the perception of 13 as an unlucky number.
  • On the 13th day of the Persian new year (Norouz), people consider staying at home unlucky, and go outside for a picnic in order to ward off the bad luck.
  • The Code of Hammurabi, a collection of laws, created circa 1760 BC, does not contain a thirteenth law.

Are you afraid of 13? or Friday the 13th?

Have you no fear at all?

The Guestbook

anonymous on July 29, 2012:

Very informative, thanks for sharing.

Dusty2 LM on July 13, 2012:

Afterthought: I didn't know if you knew this or not but when shooting the game of pool the orange striped 13 ball is usually the first or last ball to be sunk. At least it is with me. If it goes down first; the rest of the striped balls won't be jinked. If it goes down last; sinking the black (8) ball next is a cinch. Now that you know my little secret; wanna play pool? :-)

I just thought it was a FYI you might like to know. Again, Thanks!

Dusty2 LM on July 13, 2012:

Very informative lens. In answer to your questions above; NO FEAR!

It is just another day to me. i didn't even know it was Friday the 13th until i checked the Activity page and found out. Oh well...just another day!

Again, your lens is awesome because you mentioned all the examples where the number 13 is not used that i knew about. Thank You!

Please; Pay It Forward!

laniparis on June 26, 2012:

One of my nephews was born on Friday the 13th. It's actually his 13th birthday in August. That could be spooky haha. I'm more afraid of whales and porcelain doll for some reason.

whodiesinthenew on June 10, 2012:

Great lens! Now I know the name of my fobia! LOL

DebMartin on April 16, 2012:

Interesting lens. My parents were married on Friday the 13th. I've never had any fear about the number 13 but that lady in the lemon or lime or whatever it is holding the Feb Fri 13 calendar is pretty scary. ;-) d

craigmitchell on April 16, 2012:

One of my friends was born on Friday the 13th and they're the luckiest person I know!

anonymous on April 15, 2012:

Congrats on your LOTD. A well-written lens.

InSearchOf LM on April 15, 2012:

I don't remember ever having anything bad or unusual happen on a Friday the 13th. In fact, I remember it sometimes being a luckier day than other days. My son just had his birthday on this past Friday the 13th and it was a good day. :)

Gloria Freeman from Alabama USA on April 15, 2012:

I try to think of Friday the 13 as any other day.My sister birthday was this past Friday April the 13 and one of her children was also born on the 13 Nov 13.

bossypants on April 15, 2012:

I actually met my husband on Friday the 13th, and that seems to be working out. We consider it a lucky day!

StellaSingles on April 15, 2012:

I'm not too superstitious, but might still avoid the number 13 if I had the option. Cool lens.

giosuele on April 14, 2012:

Thanks to this lens today

I learn something new... ;)

anonymous on April 14, 2012:

I made it through today...I just keep telling myself that 13 is actually my "lucky" number.

Matt Warren from Cheshire, UK on April 14, 2012:

Cool lens :)

fish-oil-expert on April 14, 2012:

Great work. That's interesting about Hammurabi.

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on April 13, 2012:

I think this is hooey. 13 is a fine number!

spelaspela on April 13, 2012:

at 13, my daughter was born, is my lucky day :)

Laraine Sims from Lake Country, B.C. on April 13, 2012:

No fear at all of the 13th anything or Friday the 13th. Just another day in la la land. I think you have some interesting ideas set forth here though and certainly lucky for you! Angel Blessings.

gypsykitschpres on April 13, 2012:

Do you remember the movie, Mr Margorium's Wonder Emporium, where they are jumping up and down on the bed and yell "triskaidekaphobia!" I LOVE that part. How funny to find out it means the fear of the number 13. Ah well, still love to say it. Too much fun. Great lens. I learned something new.

KReneeC on April 13, 2012:

13 is my favorite number! Friday the 13th is always a good day cause its FRIDAY regardless! :P

Michey LM on April 13, 2012:

It is 13 th April, so I'll be short... so I don't expect nothing wrong to happen but I keep a low profile as well... I am not going to invite the bad luck with too many activities around me... LOL Great lens and with a lot of history facts, stories I didn't know.


wpmedia on April 13, 2012:

Great lens! Very original and not a topic that is usually covered in depth. I'm not superstitious, but scared of heights :(

anonymous on April 13, 2012:

It seems to be a very lucky day for me. My father was born on Oct. 13, and my grandson was born on the very same date. I also had an appendectomy on Friday the 13th and have lived happily ever after!

monstarfitness on April 13, 2012:

Not afraid of the 13th I actually find it to be lucky usually

bwet on April 13, 2012:

a whole lot of information on friday the 13th! liked, Still.. not afraid of the number 13 though

Celticep from North Wales, UK on April 13, 2012:

I was born on Friday 13th so I guess I have to say it's a lucky day for me ... my hubby may tend to disagree though :-)

InfernalCombust on April 13, 2012:

I got married on a Friday the 13th. But I did get divorced a few years later. But I think that would have happened no matter what day I got married. I think people just notice bad things happening on the 13th, just the normal things that happen every day, but on Friday the 13th, they blame it on the date.

fugeecat lm on April 13, 2012:

No, I'm not afraid. Every day brings its challenges and triumphs.

sweetstickyrainbo on April 13, 2012:

I bet on lucky number 13

Joan Hall from Los Angeles on April 13, 2012:

I got married on the 13th of June, conceived my son on the 12th or 13th of August, and gave birth to him on the 13th of May. Thirteen has been very lucky for me so far, but the REALLY scary one is approaching now. Exactly one month from today, that same son is going to turn . . . 13 years old! HELP!!

anonymous on April 13, 2012:

No fear at all, just another day. Excellent work and congratulations on getting LOTD!

randomthings lm on April 13, 2012:

Not afraid. I kind of like it, it's special. It's supposed to be bad luck, but, i prefer to view it as lucky.

anonymous on April 13, 2012:

Nope, not afraid at all! My son was born on the 13th, although it was a wednesday, periodically it falls on a friday. Our household considers 13 very lucky :-D. My house number is 513. Symbolizing my birthdate and my son's birthdate. My mortgage was finalized on the 13th (the first home I bought all by myself), as was my first purchase of a vehicle all by myself. I have a list somewhere around here of all the significant happenings in my life on the 13th, must find that sometime! Thank you much Kab - this 13th history is very very interesting to me! And........have a wonderful 13th, you lucky 13th baby!

Clairissa from OREFIELD, PA on April 13, 2012:

No worries here! It's my favorite number along with 7 to play in roulette. :)

Congrats on LOTD! Very interesting lens, I learned something new. Blessed!

macsquared on April 13, 2012:

No fear at all, I actually feel like it's kind of a lucky day, or a touchstone of a day, anyway.

vividviolet on April 13, 2012:

this is just another day at work. In fact, Fridays have always been my favorite week day. And 13, maybe I just hate then when it's a Monday. Congrats on LOTD!

sponias lm on April 13, 2012:

There are many unexplained phenomena that justify the formation of superstitions about something. Iâm not afraid of 13 or Friday the 13th because nothing made me become afraid of them, but I donât think that itâs silly to be afraid of something. Fear is a protection. Phobias work like protective signs.

I will bless your creation because even though I was in a hurry, when I saw that this lens was todayâs LOTD I immediately decided to visit it. This is an interesting topic. Thank you for your work!

K Bechand from NY on April 13, 2012:


I didn't know that the fear had a name ... Triskaidekaphobia

(I can't wait till Squidoo gives me my avatar back - no offense, but I am sick of yours !) - Congrats on LOTD !

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on April 13, 2012:

Great read! My dad was born on the 13th, so maybe that's why any Friday the 13th seems to be an especially favorable day for me, or so it seems. Guess it was favorable for you with this great LOTD!

Annamadagan on April 13, 2012:

Afraid of the number 13? That's a little silly.

Tom Fattes from Naperville, IL on April 13, 2012:

I tend to be invigirated by Friday the 13th, probably since I am more of a contrarian than anything. Although, I was born on the 12th, I secretly celebrate my birthday on the 13th.

Heather Burns from Wexford, Ireland on April 13, 2012:

not at all,13 has always been lucky for me:)

jmatts1 on April 13, 2012:

Timely lens, thanks for sharing all of the info regarding the number 13

Country Sunshine from Texas on April 13, 2012:

No fear at all of Friday the 13th, or any 13s. Never knew there was an actual name for the phobia. Interesting!

coopaloopred on April 13, 2012:

I am not afraid of Friday the 13th or any other superstitious number or "theory". Lots of interesting info in your lens, and some very long words I couldn't pronounce! It is fun when your a kid to kind of take part in superstitions, and lots of good, scary movies have come from it!

PennyHowe on April 13, 2012:

No, I am not afraid of 13 or anything to do with it. In fact, I like the number. Great lens and congratulations on your award. Well deserving.

fotolady49 lm on April 13, 2012:

This is a great lens. Congrats on LOTD! I normally am not aware of it until it is brought to my attention. So far my day has been good. Now that I'm aware of it, I hope my luck doesn't change... I don't have a fear of the number 13. Maybe it is a matter of what we focus on. I better keep my focus on 13 being a good and lucky number.

Ales from Slovenia on April 13, 2012:

I like number 13, I think all other days is more unlucky for me ...

srsddn lm on April 13, 2012:

I don't fear 13 or Friday 13th. But I know many people do. In the city I live in Sector 13 has been omitted. But my friend house no. is 1313. He won't fear 13 saying that one 13 neutralizes the other 13. In the local language here 13 means 'yours'. So my friend would say it is 'yours yours' means it is in the name of God.

Incubators on April 13, 2012:

This was a perfect article for today... Thank you! I really enjoyed it!

Erin Hardison from Memphis, TN on April 13, 2012:

Not afraid of 13 at all. Great lens, though. :)

anonymous on April 13, 2012:

Triskaidekaphobia! What a mouthful! I'm not afraid of Friday 13th, although I did get married on the 13th - maybe I should reconsider my answer ;)

Mim Art on April 13, 2012:

Lucky 13! Brilliant lens! Loved it. Congrats on LOTD on Friday 13th! Good on you!

happynutritionist on April 13, 2012:

No, no fear of the number at all, but this is a great page...congrats on the LOTD and have a great weekend...if you make it through the

Tamara14 on April 13, 2012:

Hm, I try not to think about it that much. Today has been good to me, so far :)

anonymous on April 13, 2012:

Congratulations on Friday the 13th being LotD, kab!

Interesting how this number is a triskaidekaphobia.

I do believe its a good #. ~ Blessed!

BubblesRFun on April 13, 2012:

I have no Fear of 13 actually i kind of like it:) great lens!!!

lesliesinclair on April 13, 2012:

Not afraid. I particularly like the pics of the numbered signs! congrats!

Forrest McKinnis from West Richland on April 13, 2012:

Very cool lens topic, especially for Friday the 13th.

GeoDitton on April 13, 2012:

To be honest I didn't even realise today was a Friday 13th until I went online, been a pretty good day all round so far. I'd never heard of people born on the 13th being lucky before. Grew up unfussed by Friday the 13th's because my Mum was born on the 13th and my parents married on the 13th (different month of course) and they're still together when most of their friends from round the same time have all separated. Seems a pretty good number really all things considered.

Mamaboo LM on April 13, 2012:

To fear something, imply's it has power. I like the acrostic: False Evidence Appearing Real. And that's what Friday the 13 is!

KimGiancaterino on April 13, 2012:

I do notary work and had a busy day yesterday -- no one wanted documents dated Friday the 13th. Congrats on LOTD!

Kittycheer on April 13, 2012:

My mother always believed since there are 13 stripes in our flag, 13 was a lucky number.

Kittycheer on April 13, 2012:

My mother always believed since there were 13 stripes in our flag, 13 was a lucky number. :)

Occasiondresses on April 13, 2012:

I can't believe people are afraid of a number! I might go around saying the letter E is an unlucky letter. Maybe in years to come people will be afraid of it. :L

soaringsis on April 13, 2012:

Great LotD. I had never thought of Friday the 13Th until a few years back on Friday the 13Th I had put my daughter on a plane to see her uncle, her seat was #13 which I had them change. In the parking lot I was in #13. On the way to deliver to a customer it started to rain buckets, the car stopped and I was hit by another car. I remained in the hosp. for more than a month. So, it has taken some time to get over Friday the 13Th, but I do so with a smile. Just another day.

Laura Brown from Ontario, Canada on April 13, 2012:

My little sister was born on Friday the 13th, in October even. She has flaming red hair and a good temper to match. I've always taken the Friday 13th days as lucky. I like to go out and do something to celebrate each one, even in just a small way.

hexadtraining on April 13, 2012:

13 has always been good to me. Im a lucky 13 child. Fantastic!!!

KateHonebrink on April 13, 2012:

Thirteen is just another number and Friday the 13th is just another day. Any prejudice applied to the number or the day has been done by people for reasons of their own. Personally, my favorite application of thirteen comes in the form of a baker's dozen! Yum!

James20 on April 13, 2012:

It is a good number for me because my son was born on that day.

coldsore lm on April 13, 2012:

Well done for getting lens of the day. Very topical as it's Friday 13th today. I wonder if Friday 13th is going to be on TV tonight....again?

Stephanie Tietjen from Albuquerque, New Mexico on April 13, 2012:

I'm not afraid because I was born on the 13th. Extremely interesting lens.

craftycrow on April 13, 2012:

Cool lens.

AustriaChick on April 13, 2012:

I just realized that it is Friday the 13th ... OOPS!

blue22d on April 13, 2012:

I say why push your luck. There are enough days in the month to mess with the 13th!

Delia on April 13, 2012:

Congratulations on LOTD! I use to be superstitious years ago, but that never gained me anything ;-) Fear does not come from God...if anything, I do fear Satan.

Anthony Godinho from Ontario, Canada on April 13, 2012:

I think when I was in my teens, it did have some influence, but I'm no longer superstitious in any way. Friday the 13th is just another day and the number 13 is just another number. Well done lens and congrats on LOTD...blessed! :)

Markstuffnmore on April 13, 2012:

13 is my lucky number!

Vikki from US on April 13, 2012:

Nah, no fear here. Congrats on lotd ;)

futurefocus57 on April 13, 2012:

My son was born on the 13th of luckiest day of all.

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on April 13, 2012:

I'm not afraid of the number 13 or Friday 13th, but this is an interesting lens. Congratulations on LotD!!

JoshK47 on April 13, 2012:

Congratulations on LotD! Blessed this awesome, informative lens! :)

Frankie Kangas from California on April 13, 2012:

A lens worthy of the LOTD. Congrats. I've always loved Friday the 13th. I convinced myself as a kid that it was a lucky day. I think it being a Friday and having the weekend follow had something to do with it. lol Bear hugs, Frankster

GabrielaFargasch on April 13, 2012:

I actually love the number 13 and all odd numbers and prime numbers! :)

Fun lens! :)

mumsgather on April 13, 2012:

Pleased to give you your 100th Like for this page. Congratulations on LOTD. :)

April Wier on April 13, 2012:

Great Lens!

anonymous on April 13, 2012:

Oh, I have "corporate" phobia, "burglar" phobia, and "kidnapping" phobia for my children -- then, I pray and try to put into action the idea of not feeding the fear.

edisonmindset on April 13, 2012:

reverse the curse i say best of L.U.C.K. great lens!

faye durham on April 13, 2012:

This is interesting. Thanks for explaining the theory behind this. I think we should cheer the underdog - go 13.

agoofyidea on April 13, 2012:

Congratulations on LOTD! 13 is just a number but it is fun to read all the ways people avoid it. I'll go grab my black cat and walk under a ladder now.

Gale from Texas on April 13, 2012:

In the Bible, did you know the chapter on love (the one that says "Love is patient, love is kind..." is in Corinthians 13, and that chapter has 13 verses? I like the number 13 for various reasons, especially now since my firstborn was born on the 13th. Also, there was a very special Friday the 13th from when I was a child...the whole story is here:

blessedmomto7 on April 13, 2012:

I was born on a Friday the 13th. Just a normal day. Blessed.

Heidi Vincent from GRENADA on April 13, 2012:

No I am not. Congratulations on winning the Lens of The Day!!!

savateuse on April 13, 2012:

LOTD! Well done!

Natural_Skin_Care on April 13, 2012:

Nope, never had anything bad happen to me on Friday the 13th.

anonymous on April 13, 2012:

Great Lens. Glad it was LOTD! I always thought that 13 kind of turned my usually horrible luck around. At least temporarily. I still wouldn't do anything big... I don't want to go that far. ;)

Tjoedhilde on April 13, 2012:

Congratulations on the LOTD. Hoping 13 is not too unlucky for me as I am going celebrating tonight :P

EpicFarms on April 13, 2012:

My daughter was born on October 13th - thankfully we don't worry about that hokey stuff :o) I will say I always thought it was hilarious that hotels and other places skipped it when numbering floors since 14 is just 13 in disguise (so silly). Great lens and congratulations on a well-deserved LoTD!

DuncanBoud on April 13, 2012:

I agree with glockr, to me 13 is a lucky number!

Related Articles