Triskaidekaphobia: The phobia that only affects Americans


The 13th floor in hotels often has an eerie reputation and rightfully so according to The site says 13 is viewed as the most unlucky number in Western culture.


According to a USA Today article, the superstition attached to the number 13 dates back to the 17th century; however, the number’s long unfortunate history lives on in our culture. The article says that 85 percent of elevator control panels do not include the number 13. The two common substitutes for the unlucky number are “12B” or “14A.”


At Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Resort & Spa,


director of the front desk, said the superstition does not frequently come up when


guests are making their reservations. The upscale hotel skips the number altogether.


“If you don’t see it, it’s kind of out-of-sight, out-of-mind,” Norych said.


Even though the hotel does not technically have a labeled 13th floor, Norych says there are still some guests who call with their concerns.


“There are some people who are superstitious, and when those come up, we do our best to cater to their needs and make them as comfortable as possible,” Norych said.


Nelson Cuevas, the outlets manager of another local hotel in West Palm Beach, has had a different experience with the superstition. The hotel, whose name will be kept anonymous upon request, does not skip the 13th floor.


Cuevas has worked for this particular hotel for 21 years. He says the superstition is rarely an issue.


“What happens is that people will come, and when they realize they are on the 13th floor, they’re not comfortable,” Cuevas said. “They just ask if we can accommodate for them.”


The scientific term for the fear of the number thirteen is known as triskaidekaphobia, according to The condition affects only 9 to 10 percent of Americans. The low percentage could explain why hotels do not come across many superstitious guests; however, it is no uncommon condition. Out of the 328 million individuals in America, the condition affects anywhere from 29.5 million to 32.8 million.


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