Number 13: The Legends, Myths, and Facts
By Bonnie Moss
Why does the number 13 evoke
feelings of uncertainty and uneasiness? Is it really an unlucky
number? What started this stigma about 13? Triskaidekaphobia
means the fear of number 13. Sometimes, this fear triggers panic
attacks, affects family and business relationships. Is this
rooted in superstition? Number 13 reflects man’s fear of the
Tradition traces this fear of 13 at the table to the Last
Supper- Jesus dined with his twelve apostles. The inference was
someone was going to die within a short time. Judas betrayed
Jesus, overcome by his guilt, he hang himself.
Mythology has its own story. The Norse gods were having a
banquet for 12 at the Valhalla when Loki, one of the evil gods
gate-crashed the party. Balder was the god of light, joy and
reconciliation. He had a blind brother whom Loki tricked into
throwing a sprig of mistletoe on Balder’s chest which killed him
( Balder). Mistletoe is the only earthly thing that was fatal to
Into the Middle Ages, the stigma against Friday the 13th grew
stronger. On Friday, October 13, 1307, King Phillip !V of France
ordered the arrest of the Grand Master of the Knights Templar
and his senior knights and other members. They were tortured to
compel them to admit to “wrongdoings.”
And they were executed. Sympathizers of the Templars condemned
Friday the 13th as an evil day.
Later in the 18th century, this belief about Friday the 13th was
again reinforced. The British ship HMS Friday was launched on a
Friday , the 13th , the captain was a man named Jim Friday. The
ship was never seen nor heard from again.
Do these events justify the stigma attached to number 13? It is
documented that this fear of Friday the 13th costs millions of
dollars a year in business loss due absenteeism and cancelled
Some “unlucky” events associated with 13 is the famous Apollo 13
mission in 1970. It was launched on 1313 hours, from pad 39 ( 13
x 3), 3 of the sleeping arrangements for the astronauts were
timed to start at 13 minutes past the hour and so was one of the
On April 13th, the first of the several setbacks to Apollo 13
occurred and this added drama to the mission.
In many hotels and skyscrapers, there is no 13th floor.Most
airplanes have no seat No. 13. In Italy, it is usual to leave
out 13 in numbering the lottery tickets.
Thirteen for dinner? Not in France. A party of thirteen can hire
a professional quatorzieme, a fourteenth person, from an agency.
In some big hospitals, there is no Operating Room 13, to spare
the patient added anxiety being wheeled into Room 13.
13 is the ideal number of people in a coven. It is believed that
to left-handed people, 13 is their lucky number.
But why is number 13 given such a negative implication? This
dates back to many centuries, and still holds today in the 21st
Perhaps the anticipation of the negativity of number 13 makes it
a self-fulfilling prophecy. Why could it not be any number?
Ref: Number Power by Keith Ellis
Bonnie Moss writes to inspire and to motivate her readers to
explore the depths of their heart and soul. She draws from
personal experience and her interest in the New Age which offers
a variety of tools to walk the path.
Visit Bonnie's website at