Why Is Number 13 Considered Unlucky?

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Every number has a specific meaning as they served as the language of nature. For example, one is associated with the Sun; it means energy or beginnings. A science of number is called numerology and it is occult’s way of reflecting certain aptitude and characteristics as an integral part of the cosmic plan. Numbers are therefore a reflection of one’s abilities, motives, character and purpose in life.

Triskaidekaphobia: the fear of number 13

Superstitious folks are afflicted with triskaidekaphobia or the fear of number 13. They opt to stay home on Friday the 13th and this day as the most difficult time to manage inside the 362 days of the year. Thirteen is the twin of bad luck and considered unlucky. You should not have 13 guests in your dinner party, many buildings do not have a 13th floor and many people never plan a wedding or transact business on a day marked by this fearful number.

Why13 is unlucky

  1. Thirteen is considered an irregular number.  

Some say the root of 13 being considered unlucky is found in the Norse legend that there were 12 gods sitting down to a banquet when the 13th uninvited god, Loki, showed up. After Loki killed one of the other gods that eventually resulted in Ragnarok or Doom of the Gods.  A bunch of gods were killed, a slew of natural disasters engulfed the earth and the eradication of all living things except for two human survivors.

  1. A biblical reference of 13 people in the Last Supper.

Judas Iscariot was the 13th guest to sit down at the last supper. After a while, he left the company and betrayed Jesus Christ to the enemies who paid him 40 pieces of silver.

  1. The 13th statue of Alexander the Great.

Since he considered himself as a God, Alexander ordered a 13th statue made of his image on his capital. He eventually died and people believed that he angered the gods since there are only 12 gods for each month. For the people, this desecration was the cause of his death. After his death, 13 were considered as unlucky.

  1. The gallows had 13 steps.

Traditionally, way back when executions were public and the last one was in 1936. People would crowd around the gallows to watch. Bootlegger and murderer, Charlie Birger was hanging on the gallows as he climbed the 13 steps to his death. Thirteen steps led to the gallows at it was a good average drop distance and the height resulted to a cleanly broken neck, as well as facilitates body removal for it was suspended close to the ground. Legend tells that traditionally, the noose of a hangman had 13 turns.

  1. Apollo 13 was the only mission that failed.

Considered as the seventh trip to the moon, Apollo 13 was the only mission considered unsuccessful. After two days, an oxygen tank exploded that they decided to abort the lunar landing. Although the Service Module was maimed, the crew returned safely to Earth on April 17.

  1. Analysis of traffic flow.

In 1993, a research made by the British Medical Journal showed an analysis of the flow of traffic that was causing injuries from road accidents. It covered the traffic of five months from 1990-1995 falling on the 13th of a Friday at a section south of London’s motorway M25. Although, there were less vehicles on the road during the 13th, transport accident increased by as much as 52% compared with other days.

  1. Thirteen numbers in your name is bad luck.

You are in for a ride with devil’s luck if there are 13 letters to your name. Consider the names of Albert De Salvo, Charles Manson, Jack the Ripper, Jeffrey Dahmer and Theodore Bundy. They all contain 13 letters.


There are also people and culture that look at 13 as a lucky number. But whether it is one or the other, numbers play an important role in people’s lives.

Author: Lourdes Cedeno

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One Response

  1. Mappyman

    July 11, 2011 1:31 pm

    I personally love the number 13. I was born on September 13 and have the roman numeral “XIII” tattooed on my right wrist. It has been a very significant number in my life and I’m always glad to see it in movies and culture.

    There’s also the superstition of the 13th Floor at most hotels that doesn’t exist out of bad things happening.


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