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
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.
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
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
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.
Hotel Elevator - Missing Floor
Ryan Air - Row number 13
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.