Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13. This fear is considered superstition, historically associated with religious prejudices. A specific fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia. These words are long anough to develop hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia – the fear of the long words.
Causes of triskaidekaphobia
The number 13 may be considered “bad” because it is more than 12, the number of which is sacred in many nations.
Furthermore, there is the biblical significance of this number. At the Last Supper, Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was sitting at the table and he was 13th.
The fear is partly caused because in the Jewish calendar (lunar-solar calendar) some years are comprised of 13 months while the solar Gregorian and lunar Islamic calendar always have only 12 months in the year.
Triskaidekaphobia may be associated with the mythology of the Vikings: God Loki was the 13th god in Old-Norse pantheon. Later, in Christianity, it was believed that Satan was the 13th Angel.
The elevator with buttons without the 13th floor. In some buildings the floors are numbered in this way in order not to irritate people with triskaidekaphobia: after the 12th floor the 14th can immediately follow, or the building can have 12A and 12B floors.
The Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg suffered from triskaidekaphobia. That is why his last opera is called “Moses and Aron” instead of the correct “Moses and Aaron”: the number of letters in the second title are equal to thirteen. He was born (and died) on the 13th, he considered a bad omen. One day, he refused to rent a house with the number 13. The composer was afraid of the day when he would be 76 because the sum of these numbers is the number 13. A legend was well-known according to which Schoenberg was terribly afraid of his 76th birthday on Friday the 13th (July 1951). According to rumors, he spent the whole day in bed, getting ready for the death. His wife tried to persuade her husband to get up and “stop this nonsense,” and what a shock it was when he only uttered the word “harmony” and died. Arnold Schoenberg left this world at 11:47 pm, 13 minutes before midnight. If you add up these numbers (1 + 1 + 4 + 7), we again deal with the number thirteen.
John Mayer, an American singer-songwriter, released the album «Room for Squares» with 14 songs, although the thirteenth lasts only 0.2 seconds, and it is nothing else than silence. The thirteenth song is not even mentioned on the album cover. Similarly, the band Hot Hot Heat ignores the number 13 in their album «Elevator»: the thirteenth track does not appear in the list of songs and the 4-second record of various noises replaces it.
It is believed that the cause of the crash of the spaceship “Apollo 13” is its number. “Apollo 13” was launched at 14:13 on April 11, 1970, from the launch complex №39 (three times thirteen), and had to reach lunar orbit on April 13.
Angel Nieto is a motorcycle roadracing World Champion, according to his words, he won 12 + 1 world championships in motorcycling. A film about his life is called “12 + 1”.
In “Formula 1” there is no car 13. There is the assumption that the number 13 was removed from the start list of Grand Prix racing after three crashes of cars with the number 13 in 1925 and 1926. However, this explanation can not be considered completely reliable.
However, there are opposite examples – so Garry Kasparov, a chess player, believes that his lucky number is 13, he has always played the thirteenth game in an attacking style, and in 1985, he won the world championship with the score 13:11 and became the thirteenth world chess champion.
Triskaidekaphobia itself makes the number 13 truly dangerous since many hazardous occupations, requiring caution, concentration, and well-established actions, could lead to injury or death of a person who considers that a day to go to work is “unlucky” and thus he focuses on “omens” but not on a real danger.