The 13th Floor, Unlucky? Or Normal?

You may have heard about the number of 13 being bad luck, anywhere from Friday the 13th, Judas at the last supper who was the 13th seat at the table, to the movie 13th ghost, and finally hotels not even having a 13th floor. If you haven’t heard anything about the 13th floor being good luck or bad luck, then I will be going over some reasons of why people who do know of the legend behind this floor, are so terrified of it.Today I will be mainly  focusing on hotels not having a 13th floor or hotels and the 13th floor. Triskaidekaphobia is a fear or avoidance of the number 13, which many people have in this case since the majority of hotels nowadays don’t have a 13th floor. One hotel I know of that has a 13th floor is Palmer House. Palmer House is a very old hotel that was originally built in 1871, but got burnt down 13 days later due to the Great Chicago Fire. There’s that triskaidekaphobia again, but I see it as just a coincidence. Palmer house was re-built from 1923 to 1925, and because it’s so old it still has a 13th floor, like many other old hotels that were built around that same era. Most hotels don’t include 13th floors, because they try to relieve and satisfy the people that have superstitions about this floor, not because it’s bad luck but because it’s good for business.

Why do people get anxious when they think about the number 13? Going back to triskaidekaphobia, this phobia is so widely known that it spreads into other people’s heads triggering an anxiety where people believe that something evil or supernatural is going to happen if they stay on that floor. There’s also so many scary movies based around the number 13 that it makes people second guess themselves about what they believe to be true. Halloween also plays a big role in keeping the number “13” on people’s minds in a negative way. Most haunted houses are based on the 13th floor with it even headlining in their promo name. Even with all these scary movies and haunted houses,there is NO known fact that anything has actually happened on the 13th floor that was horrifying or paranormal.

People take so much time being anxious about the 13th floor, that they never consider the other gruesome things that have taken place on other floors. Palmer House for example, has had a slew of murders and none of them have taken place on this floor. In fact there’s even been good reviews and feedback on the 13th floor, saying that they had a perfectly fine and normal experience. One of the murders that took place in Palmer House was on the 7th floor room 725, not the 13th floor. It was about a man murdering Evelyn Okubo and severely injuring her roommate Carol Yamada, he raped and bound them together and pranced around naked before killing Evelyn, Carol Yamada surviving this. Another murder that took place in Palmer house was on the 6th floor room 660, in 1862. This murder was about a woman who shot her lover through the heart, again, not the 13th floor. There’s many other deaths and weird experiences that have happened in this hotel but none occurring on the 13th floor. So how could the 13th floor be such bad luck if one of Chicago’s oldest hotels that’s still standing today still has a 13th floor, and has had no incidents on that floor?

In all the research that I’ve seen about 13th floors in hotels, I still have not come across any true bad experiences, nor have I seen anything concrete about the conspiracies on this floor. Some people just like to play make believe, pretending that there is actually something paranormal happening on that floor but truly, murders can take place anywhere. Even in our houses people have been murdered or died, but that doesn’t make it bad luck, or means that something is haunting the place. Majority of people overlook the fact that bad things can happen on any floor, because of what they believe to be true instead of actually seeing the full picture. We let the fear of triskaidekaphobia engrave itself into our brains when really, there might not be anything going on, and our minds can choose to see what it believes we are afraid of. Due to popular scary movies and stories, our minds have been corrupted into believing 13 to be a bad number, when in actuality 13 in other cultures, and to some people, just so happens to be a lucky number.

Kaylee Clarke – St. Ignatius College Prep – DMSF Class of 2027