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Why Do Buildings Skip the 13th Floor?

Updated on February 13, 2018
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I find myself reading and learning something new everyday so i decided to share that knowledge on a platform filled with curious minds.


Fear of the Number 13

Triskaidekaphobia is the official classification for the fear of the number 13. This number is so undesirable that people have deep seated and irrational fears associated with it. The reason someone may have this phobia includes but is not limited to, a traumatic event occurring on the 13 day of a month, a culture perpetuating the fear in movies, books, and other media formats, and lastly Apartments and Hotels adding to the superstition and fear by avoiding the 13th floor.

Triskaidekaphobia can result in a person avoiding any situation or event associated with the number. If exposed to the number, a person may start feeling anxious and nervous as well as physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, trembling, screaming and crying combined with a strong urge to leave the situation. For a business owner, satisfying the needs of as many customers or clients as possible is very important, essential even. Even if the business owner does not have such a phobia and is not superstitious, they will still put the needs of others above their own, even if it means renumbering the floor of a building.

Combing this rational with other documented cases of strange activity on the 13th floor across various hotels and building is the nail on the coffin. Why take the chance and lose business when the alternative is so easy to implement

Desire for the Number 13

Not all cultures view the number 13 as something to be feared and avoided. The Chinese culture, for instance, view 13 as well as an array of other numbers as lucky. This association of luck to a particular number depends on the sound it makes when speaking it Chinese. If the sound relates to (or is part of) a positive word in Chinese then it is highly sought after. 13 has the Chinese meaning of assured growth or vibrancy, both very positive and welcoming meanings.

Historical Relevance

The number 13 can be traced back to events mentioned in the bible as well as in Norse lore. The 13th guest to arrive at The Last Supper and one of Jesus christ's disciples, Judas Iscariot. Judas later betrays Jesus Christ, which leads to his eventual crucifixion and death. Another guest to arrive as the 13th member for a dinner party hosted in Valhalla is the norse god of mischief, Loki. Loki's presence at this party would lead to the death of Balder, the god of joy, which plunged the world into darkness. The Apollo 13 mission to the moon met with troubles as one of the oxygen tanks aboard the shuttle caught fire and exploded. The crew members all survived but the mission back home was met with many obstacles and uncertainty.

The next time you are visiting a hotel or apartment building and notice the absence of the 13th floor, just remember, it may not make sense to you but it makes sense and is a welcome accommodation to the millions of people with Triskaidekaphobia.


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    • Haleykieser profile image

      Haley Kieser 

      9 months ago from Arizona

      I've never noticed this! I'll have to look next time I'm in a tall building. Super interesting. Thanks for sharing.


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