Although Halloween is several months away, the month of March does bring with it a bit of superstition. It’s one of only three months this year that has a Friday the 13th. And while superstitions come in many forms, there’s something about the number 13 that has long been viewed as unlucky.
Its More Than the 13th Floor
Superstition surrounding the number 13 has been around for a long time and goes hand in hand with Norse mythology. Even building designers think of the number 13 as unlucky, so much so that many of them won’t refer to the 13th floor of tall buildings as the 13th level. Instead, they give the 13th floor the number 14. Or for some, they simply call the floor 12A. Here’s a few more bits of trivia around the number 13:
Triskaidekaphobia is a severe fear of the number 13. As a phobia, it is more than just a mild discomfort. People with this condition exhibit symptoms of acute anxiety when they come across or confront the object of their fear. Skipping floor 13 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, a superstitious fear of the number 13 did crop up. The number 13 may have been bad in early religions. Some say Loki was the 13th Norse god. Judas was the 13th to sit for The Last Supper.
Elevators & the 13th Floor
The main area where you will notice the difference when it comes to omission of the 13th floor is in the elevator. You may also notice it in stairwells. These are, for the most part, the only tangible differences. Therefore, hotels are not leaving out the 13th floor. Hotels are simply labeling the floor differently in the few places where these businesses label the levels. According to elevator historians, up to 85 percent of elevator panels omit the number 13.
Friday the 13th
There’s one famous series of movies titled Friday the 13th and many more shows, movies, and songs surrounding being unlucky. If we hadn’t thought 13 was unlucky before modern cinema today there’s no question, 13 and especially, Friday the 13th are nothing you wish to be associated with.
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 skyscraper — the Home Insurance Building — was only 12 stories tall. The tradition appears to have begun as actually omitting the 13th floor and everything above it, as critics believed such tall skyscrapers would cast unseemly shadows.
the Dreaded 13th Floor?
If detailed elevator records of the world’s skyscrapers were kept claims could be substantiated that nearly 85 percent of them don’t have a named 13th floor. What about the other 15 percent of buildings that do have a 13th floor? Are they cursed? Of course they aren’t, and when it comes to safety in a tall building, one of the best precautionary steps to take is making sure that the elevators are always fully operational.
The omission of a 13th floor usually isn’t noticed until someone enters into an elevator where many of them don’t have a button labeled as 13. It should be noted that buildings exceeding 12 floors do in fact have a 13th floor, regardless of what they name it. And although elevator horror stories are more common than what they should be, there’s a perfectly effective way to ensure elevator safety is at its best at all times, and it starts with proper maintenance.
Elevator Maintenance Avoids the Scary
No matter the budget constraints that a building management team has to abide by, elevator maintenance should be a top priority. Not only does proper maintenance boost safety, but it also leads to reduced repair costs. The performance of all elevators in a building should be monitored on a daily basis. When elevators stop, they should stop flush with the floor to minimize occupants tripping as they enter and exit as just one example.
All phones in an elevator should be inspected to ensure communication with the elevator monitoring system & be maintained at all times. If at anytime an elevator doesn’t appear to operate as it should, an elevator repair and maintenance team should be contacted immediately and the elevator should remain out of service until it has been fully repaired.
The most efficacious way to reduce maintenance calls is by having preventive maintenance performed on a regular basis and modernize the elevator to be automatically monitored. This decreases the odds that a technical or mechanical issue will occur, which reduces expenses related to elevator repairs.
When signing an elevator maintenance agreement, it’s especially imperative to read through the entire contract to clarify what is and is not provided. A maintenance company worth acquiring services will be one that provides 24/7 service being able to reach a real human being, close by, as you never know when an elevator issue will arise.
With the right preventative maintenance, there’s no need to be worried about a building having a 13th floor. But, when the next Friday the 13th comes, we suggest everyone be cautious and avoid tall guys wearing hockey masks, just in case.