Lucky 13


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As the easter holidays have just passed and for all those lucky ones who got to travel, I thought with the theme of number 13, it was a good time to discuss the thirteenth floor, and why it is missing in numerous high-rise buildings & hotels. In many places across America where the number 13 is considered unlucky the number is not used in the floor count. Sometimes they just jump ahead to level fourteen, and sometimes they use 12A or similar. Other times where the number 13 is used, the floor is dedicated to maintenance or something similar, and not used for customers.

The reason buildings and especially hotels owners do this is to avoid problems and complaints from superstitious tenants and customers who think and feel this is an unlucky and ominous number. In almost every culture the number 13 is an ominous number, thanks to centuries of superstition. The technical term for this is ‘Triskaidekaphobia’ – the fear or avoidance of the number 13.

A recent Gallup poll in the USA had 13% of respondents admitting they would be bothered if given a room on the thirteenth floor, and many of those would request a room on another floor. This hasn’t been helped by recent popular films like ‘The Thirteenth Floor’ and ‘Nightmare on the13th floor’ that help to add fire to this idea.

Now the number 13 is not all bad, and some places its known as Lucky 13. In France in the early 20th century, it featured on postcards and charms, and in Cantonese speaking places like Hong Kong, the number 13 is considered lucky as it sounds very similar to their word meaning ‘sure to live.’ Many NFL & NBA players in the USA for example have worn and won with the number 13 jersey, like Dan Marino, quarterback from the Miami Dolphins, and Kurt Warner, quarterback from the St. Louis Rams, and many more.

The submission period for sending us your stories and poems is now closed. I would like to thank everyone for their submissions, and hard work. We are now busy reviewing the submissions and working on which stories and poems will make up the 13th edition of the Backstory Journal. With Easter holidays now over, it’s time to get back to work, but I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.

The number thirteen defiantly has weight to it, and with this the thirteenth edition of Backstory Journal, thanks to all the great submissions, can carry a lot of history along with it too. For everyone whose work has been chosen, thanks for your great work, and will be in touch soon, and for those that weren’t chosen this time, perhaps you can do some polish on your stories and so then you can try again and with luck be published in the fourteenth edition of the Backstory Journal.

By Luke Edwards.

26th April 2022