Did you ever notice that many hotels don’t have a 13th floor? Have you ever wondered why? It’s actually a pretty interesting story. Nowadays, most people don’t even realize that there is no 13th floor in most hotels! Many airlines and other businesses also avoid using it, out of fear of bad luck. Many skyscrapers don’t have a 13th floor, and elevators often skip from the 12th to the 14th. Hospitals and airports are also known to avoid using the number 13 whenever possible.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the history of this curious superstition.
Interestingly enough, the fear of the number 13 is so widespread that it has actually had an impact on the design of hotels. Back in the 1920s, when hotels started becoming popular, many people believed that the number 13 was unlucky. So, instead of labeling their 13th floor as such, hotels just skipped it altogether. They would label their 13th floor as the 14th, and their 14th floor as the 15th. This way, guests wouldn’t have to stay on the “unlucky” floor. Over time, this practice became so common that most people stopped noticing it.
“It was one of the first things I learned: Don’t go to 13” mentioned the chairman of Marriott International, J.W. Bill Marriott Jr..
The superstition around the number 13 is actually called triskaidekaphobia, and it’s one of the most common phobias in the world. It’s believed to date back to the late 19th century, when there was a surge in popularity for things like Ouija boards and seances. People were looking for any way to communicate with the dead, and the number 13 was thought to be a gateway to the other side.
As silly as it may sound, triskaidekaphobia is a very real thing for many people. In fact, some studies have shown that it can actually affect a person’s health! People who are afraid of the number 13 have been shown to have higher levels of stress and anxiety.
The origins of this superstition are actually quite dark. One theory is that it dates back to the medieval era, when people were deeply fearful of witches and evil spirits. The number 13 was thought to be unlucky because it was associated with these dark forces. Another theory suggests that the superstition may have originated with the Last Supper, in which there were 13 people present. Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus, was the 13th person to sit at the table. This led to the number 13 being associated with bad luck and betrayal.
Have you ever been in an elevator and noticed that the button for the 13th floor is missing? This is another way that the superstition around the number 13 manifests itself. In many buildings, the 13th floor button is simply left out, in order to avoid any potential bad luck.
Interestingly enough, this superstition isn’t just limited to the United States. In fact, it’s actually quite common in other parts of the world as well. In Italy, for example, many buildings don’t have a 13th floor. And in China, the number four is considered to be unlucky (because it sounds like the word for “death”), so many buildings will skip from the third to the fifth floor.
Nowadays, a growing number of hotels are starting to include a 13th floor. This is likely in response to the widespread fear of the number 13. Some people may see this as a way of overcoming their fear, while others may simply find it amusing. Either way, it’s clear that the superstition around the number 13 is still alive and well today. According to a Gallup poll in 2007, 13 percent (coincidence?) of respondents would feel nervous about being on the 13th floor of a hotel.
So there you have it! The next time you’re staying in a hotel, take a closer look at the floors and see if you can spot the 13th floor. And if you’re feeling brave, you might even want to book a room on that floor! Just don’t forget to knock on wood first.