Triskaidekaphobia: Fear of Number 13
According to National Geographic Fact Book: Of all superstitions, fear of the number 13, called triskaidekaphobia, is the one with the most influence still in the modern world. More than 80 percent of high-rises lack a 13th floor; many hospitals have no room number 13; France and Italy rarely have 13 as a house address; airports often skip gate 13 and airplanes don’t include a 13th row. Most telling, up to $900 million is lost every Friday the 13th because of people not flying or conducting business on this double-whammy day.
Folklorists trace this numeric nervousness to a pre-Christian Norse myth. Twelve gods were having a dinner party in Valhalla, their heaven. An uninvited 13th guest named Loki arrives. A known mischief-maker, Loki then arranges for Hoder, the god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, god of joy, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. Balder dies and the Earth is shrouded in darkness.
A sense of foreboding and doom has attended the number 13 ever since.
Here are a few songs based on triskaidekaphobia: