January 10, 2013

A Baker’s Dozen List of Number Thirteen Facts


In earlier times there were heavy penalties for short weight. Bakers avoided all risk of incurring a fine by giving customers a surplus number of loaves, called in-bread. The thirteenth loaf was called the vantage loaf. From Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable…. 9
Year 2013. The thirteenth year of the 21st Century. For triskaidekaphobiacs it is a year to fear.
triskaidekaphobia: a general fear of number thirteen.1

Below is a baker’s dozen list of information pertinent to triskaidekaphobia. NOTE: I haven’t verified the facts in this post. If any are wrong, please notify me in the comment box at the end of this post.


  1.  There were 13 original colonies.4 E Pluribus Unum has 13 letters. The US Seal has 13 stars, bars, feathers in the eagle’s tail, 13 bars in one claw, 13 olive branches in the other. 4
  2.  In France, socialites known as the quatorziens (fourteeners) once made themselves available to be the 14th guest. Thus dinner parties were save from an unlucky fate.2
  3. A quatrorziemes was a professional guest hired by the French who had only 13 guests in attendance for dinner.4
  4. Many countries, considering the number 13 unlucky, will replace 13 with 12A, 12B, or 14.1… Italians omit the number 13 from their national lottery 2…On streets in Florence, Italy, the house between number 12 and 14 is addressed as 12 and a half.2
  5.  Princess Diana was killed in a car which hit pillar #13 at Place de l’Alma, Paris, France.4
  6. The thirteenth of a month is ominous, particularly when it falls on a Friday (or on Tuesday in the Greek and Spanish-speaking world…or on Monday in Russia). Months with a Friday the 13th always begin on a Sunday.6
  7. The probability of being born on Friday the 13th is 1/214. This means that over the long run 1 in 214 people will be born on a Friday the 13th.7 Some persons born on Friday the 13th are Fidel Castro, Margaret Thatcher, and the Olsen Twins.1
  8. Lizzie Borden, the prime accused in the infamous Hatchet Murder Case of 1892 (in Fall River, Massachusetts), uttered a total of 13 words during her trial. She was acquitted.3
  9. Numerologists consider 12 a “complete” number. There are 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 apostles of Jesus. In exceeding 12 by 1, 13’s association with bad luck has to do with just being a little beyond completeness.2
  10. One (probably unverifiable) hypothesis holds that 13 is a reflection of the human fear of the unknown, since it is the first number that cannot be enumerated using our 10 fingers and 2 feet.6
  11. A company providing computer virus detection services notes on its Web site that a lot of virus writers make Friday the 13th their trigger date. In addition, some 200 viruses are programmed to cause severe damage on Friday the 13th.7
    More than 80 percent of high-rises lack a 13th floor.3 Microsoft plans to skip Office 13 for being “an unlucky number,” going directly from Office 12 to Office 14.5 Airplanes have no 13th aisle.2
  12. If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil’s luck. Conxider Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy, Albert De Salvo 3 Saddam Hussein and John Wayne Gary7 all have 13 letters in their names.
  13. The number 13 was once closely associated with capital punishment. There were supposedly 13 steps leading up to the noose2 and 13 knots in a hangman’s noose. the guillotine blade falls 13 feet.5

For my protection, I will include a fourteenth fact about the number 13:
14. If 13 people sit down to dinner together, one will die within a year.
Triskaidekaphobia a.k.a. Paraskevicekatriaphobia or Friggatriskaidekaphobia









  1. […] A Baker’s Dozen List of Number Thirteen Facts ( […]

    Pingback by 13th minute of 13th hour of 13th day of the 13th year of the Millennium | merlinspielen — January 13, 2013 @ 2:14 pm | Reply

  2. I’ve always loved Friday the 13th, but then I am one of the 214 born on that day. November 13. I think 13 is a fascinating number and was never superstitious about it.
    Interesting info, though. Evie

    Comment by Evelyn Morgan — January 14, 2013 @ 12:52 pm | Reply

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