Is your hotel 13th floor missing? Some hotels skip the number 13 and go straight to the 14th floor when numbering floors. This is true for other tall buildings as well. It is because of the disorder triskaidekaphobia and a general dislike of or superstition regarding the number 13. This practice and some of the beliefs of bad luck surrounding it have been around since architects have been capable of adding that many floors to a building.
Fear of 13: Triskaidekaphobia
Triskaidekaphobia is a severe fear of the number 13. As a phobia, it is more than just a mild discomfort. A lot of people with this condition exhibit symptoms of acute anxiety when they come across or confront the object of their fear. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, sweating and feelings of panic. By having a missing 13th floor in hotels saves patrons who may suffer from this disorder the discomfort of being in elevators with a 13th floor or from having a room on such a floor.
Superstition and 13
Common knowledge has it that fear of the number 13 dates back to one of the earliest written texts – the Code of Hammurabi. The story goes that the writers of the code left out the 13th law on the list. However, the list has no numbers. Nonetheless, superstitious fear of the number 13 did crop up. The number 13 may have been an unlucky number in early religions. Some say Loki was the 13th Norse god in norse mythology. Judas was the 13th to sit for The Last Supper. However, the superstition of lucky numbers was not blatant until the 17th century.
Missing Buttons in Elevators
The main area where you will notice the difference when it comes to omission of the 13th floor button is in the elevator when trying to reach your hotel room. You may also notice an absence of the floor number in stairwells. These are, for the most part, the only tangible differences. Therefore, hotels are not leaving out the thirteenth floor. Hotels are simply labeling the floor differently in the few places where these businesses label the levels. According to Otis elevators company, up to 85 percent of elevator panels omit the number 13 in elevator buttons.
History of the Matter
The habit of leaving out the 13th floor in tall hotels is a relatively new one. Skyscrapers did not come about until 1885. Even then, the first high-rise – the Home Insurance Building – was only 12 stories tall, only reaching the 12th floor. The tradition appears to have begun as actually omitting the 13th floor and everything above it, as critics believed such tall skyscrapers and apartment buildings would cast unseemly shadows.