Triskaidekaphobia

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Stall numbers at Santa Anita Park progress from 12 to 12A to 14.

Triskaidekaphobia ( /ˌtrɪskˌdɛkəˈfbiə, ˌtrɪskə-/, TRIS-kye-DEK-ə-FOH-bee-ə or TRIS-kə-DEK-ə-FOH-bee-ə; from Greek tris meaning "three", kai meaning "and", deka meaning "10" and phobos meaning "fear" or "morbid fear") is fear or avoidance of the number 13. It is also a reason for the fear of Friday the 13th, called paraskevidekatriaphobia (from Παρασκευή Paraskevi, Greek for Friday) or friggatriskaidekaphobia (after Frigg, the Norse goddess after whom Friday is named in English).

The term was used as early as in 1910 by Isador Coriat in Abnormal Psychology.[1]

Origins[edit]

Judas theory[edit]

From the 1890s, a number of English language sources relate the "unlucky" thirteen to an idea that at the Last Supper, Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th to sit at the table.[2] The Bible says nothing about the order in which the Apostles sat, but there were thirteen people at the table. Also, the number 13 is not uniformly bad in the Judeo-Christian tradition. For example, the attributes of God (also called the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy) are enumerated in the Torah (Exodus 34:6–7).[citation needed]

Hammurabi theory[edit]

There is a myth that the earliest reference to thirteen being unlucky or evil is in the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (circa 1780 BCE), where the thirteenth law is said to be omitted. In fact, the original Code of Hammurabi has no numeration. The translation by L.W. King (1910), edited by Richard Hooker, omitted one article:[citation needed]

If the seller have gone to (his) fate (i. e., have died), the purchaser shall recover damages in said case fivefold from the estate of the seller.

Other translations of the Code of Hammurabi, for example the translation by Robert Francis Harper, include the 13th article.[3]

Events related to unlucky 13[edit]

The exposed lift shaft of an apartment block under construction. The lift shaft has numbers marking the levels, but the 13th level is instead marked with a heart.

Apollo 13 was launched on April 11, 1970 at 13:13:00 CST and suffered an oxygen tank explosion on April 13 at 21:07:53 CST. It returned safely to Earth on April 17.[4][5]

The Costa Concordia Disaster occurred on Friday the 13th January 2012, with the loss of 33 lives.[6][better source needed]The November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks took place on Friday November 13, 2015.

On Friday, October 13, 1307, the arrest of the Knights Templar was ordered by Philip IV of France. While the number 13 was considered unlucky, Friday the 13th was not considered unlucky at the time. The incorrect idea that their arrest was related to the phobias surrounding Friday the 13th was invented early in the 21st century and popularized by the novel The Da Vinci Code.[7]

In 1881 an influential group of New Yorkers, led by US Civil War veteran Captain William Fowler, came together to put an end to this and other superstitions. They formed a dinner cabaret club, which they called the Thirteen Club. At the first meeting, on Friday, January 13, 1881, at 8:13 p.m., thirteen people sat down to dine in Room 13 of the venue. The guests walked under a ladder to enter the room and were seated among piles of spilled salt. Many Thirteen Clubs sprang up all over North America over the next 40 years. Their activities were regularly reported in leading newspapers, and their numbers included five future US presidents, from Chester A. Arthur to Theodore Roosevelt. Thirteen Clubs had various imitators, but they all gradually faded from interest.[8]

Vehicle registration plates in the Republic of Ireland are such that the first two digits represent the year of registration of the vehicle (i.e., 11 is a 2011 registered car, 12 is 2012, and so on). In 2012, there were concerns among members of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) that the prospect of having "13" registered vehicles might discourage motorists from buying new cars because of superstition surrounding the number thirteen, and that car sales and the motor industry (which was already ailing) would suffer as a result. The government, in consultation with SIMI, introduced a system whereby 2013 registered vehicles would have their registration plates' age identifier string modified to read "131" for vehicles registered in the first six months of 2013 and "132" for those registered in the latter six months of the year.[9][10] This system continued after 2013, with vehicles registered in the first half of 2014 labelled "141" rather than "14".[citation needed]

Similar phobias[edit]

An elevator in a residential apartment building in Shanghai. Floor numbers 4, 13 and 14 are missing, and there is a button for the "negative first floor".
  • Number 666 (Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia) or 616 (see Number of the Beast).
  • Tetraphobia, fear of the number 4. In China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Korea and Vietnam, as well as in some other East Asian and South East Asian countries, it is not uncommon for buildings (including offices, apartments, hotels) to lack floors with numbers that include the digit 4, and Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia's 1xxx-9xxx series of mobile phones does not include any model numbers beginning with a 4. This originates from Classical Chinese, in which the pronunciation of the word for "four" (四, in Mandarin) is very similar to that of the word for "death" (死, in Mandarin), and remains so in the other countries' Sino-Xenic vocabulary (Korean sa for both; Japanese shi for both; Vietnamese tứ "four" vs. tử "death").
  • 17 is an unlucky number in Italy, perhaps because in Roman numerals 17 is written XVII, which can be rearranged to "VIXI", which in Latin means "I have lived" but can be a euphemism for "I am dead." In Italy, some planes have no row 17 and some hotels have no room 17.[11]
  • Paraskevidekatriaphobia is the fear of Friday the 13th, which is considered to be a day of bad luck in a number of western cultures. In Greece and some areas of Spain and Latin America, Tuesday the 13th is similarly considered unlucky.[12]
  • Curse of 39, a belief in some parts of Afghanistan that the number 39 (thrice thirteen) is cursed or a badge of shame.[citation needed]

Lucky 13[edit]

In some regions 13 is considered a lucky number. For example, 13 is lucky in Italy except in some contexts, such as sitting at the dinner table.[13] Colgate University was started by 13 men with $13 and 13 prayers, so 13 is considered a lucky number. Friday the 13th is the luckiest day at Colgate.[14]

A number of sportspeople are known for wearing the number 13 jersey and performing successfully. In 1966, Portugal achieved their best-ever result at the World Cup final tournaments by finishing third, thanks to a Mozambican-born striker, Eusebio, who has scored nine goals at World Cup — four of them in a 5-3 quarterfinal win over North Korea — and won the Golden Boot award as the tournament’s top scorer while wearing the number 13. In the 1954 and 1974 World Cup finals, Germany’s Max Morlock and Gerd Müller, respectively, played and scored in the final, wearing the number 13.[15] More recently, other top footballers are playing successfully despite wearing #13, including Michael Ballack, Alessandro Nesta, Rafinha, and others.[16] Among other sportspeople who have chosen 13 as squad number, are the Venezuelans Dave Concepción, Omar Vizquel, Oswaldo Guillén and Pastor Maldonado.[citation needed]

Triskaidekaphilia is its antonym, and has been described as "love of the number 13".[17]

Effect on US Shuttle program mission naming[edit]

The disaster that occurred on Apollo 13 may have been a factor that led to a renaming that prevented a mission called STS-13[18][19]
Alternate mission patch of STS-41C, with a 13 and a black cat, as it landed on April 13th, which was a Friday the 13th and this was the mission originally scheduled as STS-13.[20]

STS-41-G was the name of the thirteenth Space Shuttle flight.[21] However, originally STS-41-C was the mission originally numbered STS-13[22][23] STS-41-C was the eleventh orbital flight of the space shuttle program.[24]

The numbering system of the Space Shuttle was changed to a new one after STS-9.[25] The new naming scheme started with STS-41B, the previous mission was STS-9, and the thirteenth mission (what would have been STS-13) would be STS-41C.[25] The new scheme had first number stand for the U.S. fiscal year, the next number was a launch site (1 or 2), and the next was the number of the mission numbered with a letter for that period.[25] In the case of the actual 13th flight, the crew was apparently not superstitious and made a humorous mission patch that had a black cat on it.[25] Also, that mission re-entered and landed on Friday the 13th which one crew described as being "pretty cool".[25] Because of the way the designations and launch manifest work, the mission numbered STS-13 might not have actually been the 13th to launch as was common throughout the shuttle program; indeed it turned out to be the eleventh.[26][24] One of the reasons for this was when a launch had to be scrubbed, which delayed it's mission.[27]

NASA said in a 2016 news article it was due to a much higher frequency of planned launches (pre-Challenger disaster).[25] As it was, the Shuttle program did have a disaster on its one-hundred and thirteenth mission going by date of launch, which was STS-107.[28] The actual mission STS-113 was successful, and had actually launched earlier due to the nature of the launch manifest.[29]

At first glance, it may seem surprising that an agency whose focus lies in science and technology should devote such an emphasis to an ancient superstition.. but for one thing: the unlucky voyage of Apollo 13.

— Tragedy and Triumph in Orbit: The Eighties and Early Nineties By Ben Evans[30]

Famous people with triskaidekaphobia[edit]

Sholom Aleichem

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Abnormal Psychology" p. 319, published in 1910, Moffat, Yard and company (New York). Library of Congress Control No. 10011167.
  2. ^ Cecil Adams (1992-11-06). "Why is the number 13 considered unlucky?". The Straight Dope. Retrieved 2011-05-13. 
  3. ^ English translation of the Code of Hammurabi Online Library of Liberty.
  4. ^ no title given
  5. ^ no title given
  6. ^ Costa Concordia disaster
  7. ^ Robinson, John J. (1990). Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry. ISBN 978-0-87131-602-8. 
  8. ^ Nick Leys, If you bought this, you've already had bad luck, review of Nathaniel Lachenmayer's Thirteen: The World's Most Popular Superstition, Weekend Australian, 8–9 January 2005
  9. ^ 2013 number plates to be changed to avoid ‘unlucky 13’ , Irish Independent, 24 August 2012
  10. ^ "2013 Number Plates To Be Changed To Avoid ‘Unlucky 13’". Irish Independent.  NOTE: The main reason for this was stated to be to increase the number of car sales in the second half of the year. Even though 70% of new cars are bought during the first four months of the year, some consumers believe that the calendar year of registration does not accurately reflect the real age of a new car, since cars bought in January will most likely have been manufactured the previous year, while those bought later in the year will be actually made in the same year.
  11. ^ Harris, Nick (15 November 2007). "Bad Omen for Italy as Their Unlucky Number Comes Up". The Independent. London. 
  12. ^ NOTE:Tuesday is generally unlucky in Greece for the fall of Byzantium Tues 29th May 1453.[citation needed] In Spanish-speaking countries, there is a proverb: En martes no te cases, ni te embarques 'On Tuesday, do not get married or set sail'.[citation needed] The 13th card in Tarot's major arcana is Death.
  13. ^ "Aggiungi un posto a tavola, siamo in 13!" (in Italian). Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  14. ^ Colgate University. "Lucky 13". Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  15. ^ Unlucky 13, Unless Your Name is Mueller
  16. ^ Football Facts: Who Wears Number 13?
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ [2]
  19. ^ Evans, Ben (2012-06-01). Tragedy and Triumph in Orbit: The Eighties and Early Nineties. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9781461434306.  p. 211
  20. ^ Ben Evans (2007). Space Shuttle Challenger: Ten Journeys into the Unknown. Google Books. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  21. ^ [3]
  22. ^ "James D. A. van Hoften" (PDF). NASA Johnson Space Center Oral History Project. December 5, 2007. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  23. ^ "Terry J. Hart" (PDF). NASA Johnson Space Center Oral History Project. April 10, 2003. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  24. ^ a b [4]
  25. ^ a b c d e f Almeida, Andres (2016-12-05). "Behind the Space Shuttle Mission Numbering System". NASA. Retrieved 2017-01-17. 
  26. ^ Evans, Ben (2012-06-01). Tragedy and Triumph in Orbit: The Eighties and Early Nineties. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9781461434306. 
  27. ^ Evans, Ben (2012-06-01). Tragedy and Triumph in Orbit: The Eighties and Early Nineties. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9781461434306.  Page 211
  28. ^ [5]
  29. ^ KSC, Lynda Warnock:. "NASA STS-113". www.nasa.gov. Retrieved 2017-01-17. 
  30. ^ Evans, Ben (2012-06-01). Tragedy and Triumph in Orbit: The Eighties and Early Nineties. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9781461434306.  p. 211

References[edit]

  • Lachenmeyer, Nathaniel (2004). 13: The Story of the World's Most Popular Superstition. New York: ISBN 1-56858-306-0.
  • Havil, Julian (2007). Nonplussed: Mathematical Proof of Implausible Ideas (Hardcover). Princeton University Press. p. 152. ISBN 0-691-12056-0. 
  • O'Neil, Daniel (2008). "Fear of 13: Tales over dinner."
  • Coriat, I.H. (1910). "Abnormal Psychology", p. 319, published in, Moffat, Yard and company (New York). Library of Congress Control No. 10011167.

External links[edit]