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Exploring hotel superstitions: The mystery of the missing 13th floor

Fears over the number 13 have led hotels, buildings, and elevator manufacturers to skip the 13th floor.
Exploring hotel superstitions: The mystery of the missing 13th floor
Posted at 1:11 PM, Oct 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-13 15:13:09-04

Hotels in cities big and small have seemingly picked up on a longtime superstition.

They'll skip over the not-so-lucky number 13 and go straight from floor 12 to floor 14.

There's a word for why that is: Triskaidekaphobia! Try saying that three times in a row.

It's the severe fear of the number 13.

The symptoms can range from feelings of panic to vomiting and difficulty breathing.

One of the main theories of fear for the number 13 involves Judas.

As the Bible says, the disciple who later betrayed Jesus Christ was the 13th to sit at the table at the last supper.

Other theories are tied to Norse mythology and Loki, the god of evil — a much more sinister spirit than Tom Hiddleston has portrayed in the hit Marvel film.

Some of the most famous names of people who suffer from triskaidekaphobia Include the horror icon Stephen King.

And the 32nd U.S. president, Franklin D. Roosevelt — so much so that he refused to travel on the 13th day of any month and avoided dinners that had 13 total guests.

The fears over the number 13 have led hotels, buildings, and elevator manufacturers to skip the 13th floor.

Technically, the 14th floor is really the 13th floor of that building, or 13 is labeled as something else, like 12-a.

According to Otis Elevator Company, up to 85% of their elevator panels today omit the number 13.

But does the fear really hold with the majority of Americans?

A 2007 poll asked the question.

Exactly 13% of those interviewed said being assigned to the 13th floor of a hotel would bother them.

So if you're in the 87% who aren't buying into the superstition — you may have a bit easier time finding an open room on the ever-so-lucky floor number 13.

SEE MORE: What to know about real estate superstitions this Friday the 13th


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