Triskaidekaphobia

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Fear of the number thirteen?


What is Triskaidekaphobia?

Triskaidekaphobia (also being referred to as 13-digit phobia) is the irrational fear of the number 13.

Most people with triskaidekaphobia have an immersive and ongoing phobia / fear of the number 13.

The premise of phobia or fear of the number 13 is usually challenging to explain, but in some cases, its causes are linked to panic-related experiences or genetic conditions.

Fear of the number 13 can be handled by psychologist using exposure therapy in combination with drugs.

The term comes from Greek, where tris means three, kai means and, deka means ten and phobia means fear.

Number 13 - Connotations

The number 13 wasn't always bad-famed, quite the contrary. In ancient China and Egypt, thirteen was considered a lucky number. It is unclear when exactly did 13 become an unlucky number.

Some attribute it to the Bible, where the Last Supper was attended by 13 people, and some speculated that the 13th person at the table was Judas, who later betrayed Jesus. However, there is no reference to support this theory.

Another belief is that the phobia of number 13 is caused by it being an irrational number and 12 being the number of perfection.

There are 12 months in a year, 12 zodiacs, 12 hours in a clock and there were 12 tribes of Israel.

Shanghai - Missing Floors
Shanghai elevator:
Tetraphobia and Triskaidekaphobia -
Floor 4, 13 and 14 misding

Recent polls and studies show that around 9-10% of Americans are superstitious about the number 13. However, not all of them are triskaidekaphobes. Similar studies for other countries do not exist, however it is prevalent in western culture mainly.

In China the number 13 is not considered bad, but instead the number 4 is considered unlucky. The term for the fear of number 4 is called tetraphobia.

Although it may seem trivial, triskaidekaphobia is an issue that affects western societies economically. Because of the superstition, some people delay doing business on the 13th of any month, while statistically there are more people who do not go to work on the 13th day of any month because of this superstition.

Friday is also considered to be an unlucky day in western culture.

Although it is unsure where the origin of the fear of Friday comes from, it may be based on the belief that Jesus was crucified on a Friday. Thus, the number 13, associated with Friday is considered especially unlucky.

The term for the fear of Friday the 13th is paraskevidekatriaphobia.

It is estimated that the United States loses about $900,000,000 in productivity every year because of Friday the 13th as some people are so superstitious about it that they wouldn't even get out of bed. Read more about it here.

Triskaidekaphobia treatment

Although there is no 100% sure method to treat triskaidekaphobia, if you feel it affects your life, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor who could recommend you a therapist. You will probably be exposed to your fear and make you understand your phobia. In many instances the treatment is successful, although it may be challenging to find a good therapist if you don't live in an urbanized area.

If you don't have access to a therapist, it is a good idea to talk about your fear and try to understand it yourself. At the end of the day, even with a therapist involved, you are the only one who can cure your phobia.

Another elevator - missing floor 13
Hotel Elevator - Missing Floor 13

Another example of Triskaidekaphobia
Missing room

Ryan Air Triskaidekaphobia
Ryan Air - Row number 13 missing

triskaidekaphobia