It’s one more than 12. It’s one less than 14. It’s the square root of 169. What is it? 13, of course! If the mere mention of 13 makes you uneasy or nervous, you may suffer from triskaidekaphobia (tris´-kuh-dek´-uh-foh´-bee-uh) — fear of the number 13.

But what’s the big deal? It’s just another number, right? Why do so many people think it’s unlucky…especially on Friday the 13th?

Although no one knows for sure when, where or why 13 became associated with bad luck, some think the belief is linked to the early Christians. One commonly-held thought is that there were 13 people present at the Last Supper: Jesus and his 12 Apostles. Many believe Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus, was the 13th person to join the table that night.

Others believe you can look even farther back into history to the time of the Vikings. Viking legends tell of Loki, the 13th god who intruded on the Banquet of Valhalla, to which only 12 gods were invited. Another god, Baldr, was soon killed by his brother, who used a spear given to him by Loki.

The fear of the number 13 is especially heightened when the 13th day of the month falls on a Friday. Historians believe fear of Friday the 13th (a phobia with its own name: paraskevidekatriaphobia (pair-uh-skev´-vee-day-CAT-tree-uh-fo´-bee-uh)) may stem from the fact that the Knights Templar, an ancient Christian military unit, were arrested by Philip IV of France on Friday, October 13, 1307.

Whatever its origins, fear of the number 13 is common in Western cultures. If you pay close attention, you’ll notice that most hotels and tall buildings skip the 13th floor. Many airplanes skip the 13th row when they number their seats. Some cities even avoid having a 13th Street!

A math teacher with triskaidekaphobia might go out of his way to avoid the number 13. For example, he might limit quizzes to only a dozen questions. Or numbered questions on a test might skip from 12 to 14!

Although triskaidekaphobia is technically considered a phobia, experts believe it should instead be classified as a superstition. Since it only arises in certain situations and rarely has any significant impact on one’s life, many people believe triskaidekaphobia is more like “magical thinking” than a serious phobia (debilitating fear of something).

A superstition is a belief in supernatural causes. In other words, people who are superstitious about certain things believe that one event causes another, even though there is no physical process that links the two events. Superstitions often revolve around defining certain events as either lucky or unlucky.

Do you believe in any superstitions? Here is a list of common superstitions:

  • Walking under a ladder is bad luck.
  • Breaking a mirror brings 7 years of bad luck.
  • Opening an umbrella indoors brings bad luck.
  • If a black cat crosses your path, bad luck will follow.
  • If you spill salt, toss it over your left shoulder to bring good luck.
  • Knocking twice on wood reverses potential bad luck.
  • Crossing your fingers brings good luck.

Have you heard of most of these superstitions? Do you believe in any of them? Why or why not? You’ll notice that we included 7 superstitions, since some people consider the number 7 to be a sign of good luck!

201 Join the Discussion

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    • That’s really cool, SamTEAM! There are some folks here in Wonderopolis who were born on a Friday the 13th, too! Thanks for commenting on this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  1. We have been off for a few days, but what a great way to come back! We had lots of superstitions to share and discuss. We discussed the fear of dying, the fear of scary movies, fear of certain bugs, and so on and so forth. We even have a teacher and some other people who we know that were born on Friday the 13th! :)

    • Wow! Friday the 13th seems like a pretty popular day to be born, wouldn’t you say, Kerrick Elementary? We think it is AWESOME that you guys discussed your superstitions today! You KNOW it makes us really happy to hear about our Wonder Friends continuing to talk and learn after they’ve finished exploring the Wonder of the Day®! Way to go! :-)

  2. Fear of being tickled by badgers while jumping rope = ticklabadgaphobia
    Fear of finding a portal to an alternative universe at the back of your closet = universaphobia
    Fear of your dog actually eating your homework = dogachewphobia
    Fear of being followed by lost penguins = funniwalkaphobia
    Fear of waking up on the ceiling because gravity went away during the night = anti “G”phobia

    • Those phobia names are AMAZING, Kourtney Denning’s 2nd grade Class! You guys are REALLY creative and clever! We like them all, but our favorite is “funniwalkaphobia”, because we can imagine the penguins waddle, waddle, waddling behind us! Thank you very much for leaving us this super comment today! :-)

  3. I really liked this wonder of the day. It was so cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I think tomorrow’s wonder of the day is about the zoo.

    • We’re glad you liked today’s Wonder, Missy! You’ll have to check back tomorrow to see if your prediction about Wonder #376 was correct! We’re proud of you for trying to guess by using the clues! :-)

  4. I knew that today’s Wonder was about bad luck. Could you have a wonder that tells us how tornadoes work?

  5. I like what you guys said. It is so cool to know some reasons about how the number thirteen started. I can’t wait till tomorrow’s wonder of the day.

    • We’re glad you’re excited about tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day®, KB! It also makes us super happy to know that you liked today’s Wonder, too! Thank you for visiting Wonderopolis and for being a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

  6. Our class enjoyed learning about the origin of the number 13. The majority of our class feels that 13 is an unlucky number. We were surprised to learn about the religious significance of the number 13. Many of the superstitions seemed very familiar to our class. However, we were surprised about the fear of clowns. Who could be afraid of a silly clown? Is there a fear of unicorns?

    • Thanks for telling us all the great things you learned today, Mrs. J’s Class! We appreciate hearing what our Wonder Friends think about the Wonders of the Day! Maybe the people who are afraid of clowns are really afraid of the fact that clowns disguise themselves with make-up so you can’t see who they really are? Everyone is different, so it’s hard to figure out why some people are afraid of certain things that other people aren’t. :-)

      We’re not sure what the fear of unicorns is called, but we want to find out! We’ll all have to do some more WONDERing about that one! :-)

  7. Wow! What a great wonder and WORD! We are impressed by Ms. Denning’s list of phobias! A great day to learn and study words!
    We learned there’s only going to be one Friday the 13th this year.
    We investigated phobias and found quite a few interesting ones. We included fear of chickens because our teacher has chickens.

    Alektorophobia- Fear of chickens
    Arithmophobia- Fear of numbers
    Arsonphobia- Fear of fire
    Cyberphobia- Fear of computers
    Logophobia- Fear of words

    We thought it was interesting that we couldn’t find a fear starting with the letter “Q”. Thank you SO much! ~:>

    • Thanks for doing some great extra WONDERing about this Wonder of the Day® and sharing it with us, The Beach- Mrs. Guerin’s 2nd grade class! We like learning new things from our Wonder Friends (like the “Q” fact…cool!)! We think it’s REALLY neat that Mrs. Guerin raises chickens! We were wondering…do they lay eggs? Are they pets? How many chickens does Mrs. Guerin have? :-)

  8. Hello. I do think the 13th is an unlucky day because some hotel owners don’t even have a 13th floor and I also really hope Mrs. Batta reads this. Also for Mrs. Batta and Wonderopolis, can our class read The Maze Runner as a read aloud?

    • Hi, JoJo’s Friend! Thanks for letting us know what you think about the number 13!

      We researched a little about The Maze Runner by James Dashner. It sound really interesting! Maybe Mrs. Batta will read this comment (we hope she visits Wonderopolis, too), but we think she’d probably like to hear from you in person about the books you are interested in reading! :-)

    • That’s really cool, Ellsie! Thanks so much for sharing your comment with everyone in Wonderopolis! We have heard from lots of Wonder Friends who think 13 is lucky, and from others who think it’s very unlucky! Everyone has their own opinions…which is AWESOME! :-)

  9. Hi Wonderopolis I love your website! I wanted to tell you that I don’t think 13 is an unlucky number because I was born in December on Friday the 13th. Also, Taylor Swift’s birthday is the same as mine!

    Thank you,

    • Hi there, Macie! Thanks for your comment today! We’re hearing from more and more Wonder Friends who were born on a Friday the 13th! We think it’s pretty cool! :-)

    • We didn’t know that, Mr. WONDERful! Thank you for leaving us this great comment and also for teaching us something new today! :-)

  10. That’s very interesting. I, myself actually have two phobias, Lilapsophobia (The fear tornadoes and hurricanes), and spectrophobia (the fear of ghosts).

    • Thanks for leaving us this comment and sharing your phobias with us, Marie! Tornadoes, hurricanes and ghosts are all pretty scary! Lots of Wonder Friends share those same fears! :-)

  11. Last week, a boy in my math class came in with a broken mirror. He said it was in his locker and it fell to the ground. A lot of kids were scared because they didn’t want 7 years of bad luck!

    • Bad luck from a broken mirror is a superstition that many Wonder Friends are afraid of, Jamie! Thank you for visiting Wonderopolis and for sharing what happened in your class! :-)

  12. Hi, my name is Mason. My dad would not like 13 because he likes even numbers and I do not like 13 either.


    • We’ve found that lots of people have pretty strong opinions about the number 13, Mason! Thank you for sharing your opinion (and your dad’s) with us today! We’re glad you visited this Wonder of the Day® and left us a comment…THANKS! :-)

  13. Today was an interesting Wonder, Wonderopolis! I personally think this phobia is kind of dumb…I mean, everything that happened in the past, it could be coincidence. If people are so scared of 13, then why not omit the number?

    …10, 11, 12, 14…

    Hey, we would have one less math problem for homework! I guess I have 2 phobias that I know of. Arachnophobia (fear of spiders) and the fear of dying because, well I don’t really want to die. Hey Wonderopolis- have you ever posted anything about the fear of long words? I’ve heard of it and it’s, well, REALLY long. You’d have to face your fear just to know about it! Will you post more on phobias?

    • Wow, Nikki! What a GREAT comment! We’re sure there are lots of other Wonder Friends who would agree with your reasoning behind omiting the number 13 (less math problems)! That made us chuckle! Thanks for sharing your phobias with us! That was a brave thing to do!

      We DID find out about the fear of long words (and we learned something new from you…thanks)! It’s called “hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia”, and you’re right! People with a fear of long words would REALLY have to get over their fear just to look at or say that word! :-)

  14. I don’t know why, but personally, my favorite number is 13. It pops up EVERYWHERE!!! For example, my school number last year was 13, I saw a girl wearing a blue sweater (My favorite color) with a 13 on it before I won a game in a soccer tournament…etc. I love 13!!! :)

    • Well, it sounds like the number 13 is VERY lucky for you, Jenna! Thanks for sharing your lucky 13 experiences with us today! :-)

  15. Wow! My birthday is on the 13th and last year it was on a Friday! I really can relate to this wonder because the other day I was watching a new Wizards Of Waverly Place and it was about a haunted apartment on the 13th floor! I have always wondered why is 13 so unlucky?

    • It is really neat that we have heard from so many Wonder Friends who were born on the 13th, Amanda! We’re glad to know that you’re one of them! Thank you so much for hanging out in Wonderopolis today! :-)

    • Hi, Zion! Thanks for giving us your opinion about the number 13! We’re so happy you visited this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  16. Dear Wonderopolis,
    I think people think 13 is a unlucky/bad number because they’ve heard of Friday the 13th, but I don’t think it is unlucky!

    • Thanks so much for letting us know how you feel about the number 13, Cassidy! We think it is GREAT that we are hearing from so many of our AWESOME Wonder Friends about this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  17. I never knew that there was actually triskaidekaphobia. I honestly have no reason to have that phobia, because nothing really seriously bad has happened to me with the number 13 involved. I actually know that on Friday the 13th, I have a pretty good day. I have a question, do you think you will ever write about a superstition? Also, just because you name the floor 14, it still means there is a 13th floor. Right?

    • Thanks for leaving us such a WONDERful comment, Bailey! We’re glad you learned about triskaidekaphobia and also that you have a GREAT day on any Friday the 13th! Another Wonder about superstitions is a SUPER idea! Thank you for suggesting it!

      Whether or not there is a real 13th floor that’s only NAMED the 14th floor is a topic many people have a very strong opinion about. We think if you count UP from the bottom floor, there would technically be a 13th floor, but so many people believe that the number 13 is bad luck, so they just name it the 14th floor! We guess some people believe you can never be too careful about superstitions! :-)

    • We think that’s a really smart name for a phobia about finding a portal in the back of your closet, Peter! We love how you “referenced” a place called “Narnia” in your creative name! :-)

  18. I really like your topic and I think it’s really weird that a hotel or tall building doesn’t include the 13th floor.

    I have noticed that some elevators skip the floor 13.

    Does anything bad or dangerous happen in hotels on the 13th floor (14th floor) and on the 13th of a month?

    • That’s a good question, Nordan! We’d have to do some more WONDERing about that one in order to find out if anything has happened on the 13th floor of some hotels. We’re so glad that you visited Wonderopolis today and left us this AWESOME comment! :-)

  19. Wonderopolis, I know all superstitious people reading this will think that I’m crazy, but 13 is my favorite number!!! Speaking of superstitious people, during football games, if the commentators say that our team’s “pulling away” they knock on wood and make sure everyone stays still and doesn’t jinx it!!

    • Your Wonder Friends would NEVER think you were crazy, g.b.13! Especially for expressing your point of view! Thank you for sharing that the number 13 is your favorite number! It was also cool for us to learn about the superstition that happens during football games, too! :-)

  20. I hope 13 isn’t unlucky. But I still don’t understand you, why would it be necessary to skip the 13th floor in buildings? Why do buildings skip the 13th floor?

    • Lots of people believe that the number 13 is a very unlucky number, Wonder Friend. They would never want to stay on the 13th floor of a hotel or other building because of their fear that something might happen. So, lots of buildings just “skip” the 13th floor (or name it the 14th floor) to help make those fearful people feel better about being in the building. We hope that explains it a little better! :-)

  21. The weirdest phobias I could find were Chrometophobia and Chrematophobia, which both mean a fear of money. Another weird one was Peladophobia, which means a fear of bald people. This is really interesting and I really liked this wonder.

    • Well, we can definitely say that we do NOT have Chrometophobia and Chrematophobia OR Peladophobia, Emma! Do you? Thanks for doing some more WONDERing about phobias…you taught us something new today! :-)

  22. I haven’t seen anything bad happen on Friday the 13th, but the 13th to me, is just another thing to learn in math. So, to me, it’s a SUPER unlucky number!! Ha, ha! I can think of a lot of phobias: afraid of the sun, afraid of water, afraid of vegetables, afraid of being ugly, afraid of names and afraid of cats. All of those things are weird!!

    • We bet you are GREAT at math, Elizabeth! But, we appreciate your humor very much! Thanks for WONDERing more about phobias after visiting this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  23. Phobias to me are a superstition. If we all were scared of spiders, I would call that something to be named, but if 1 out of 40 people are scared of clowns, I call that a superstition. I know I sound like a geek, but think about it. People think phobias are just some panic attack that happens to you when you see the thing or object that you have a phobia of, that you’re going to freeze up and have a panic attack because you were born with it. But something has to happen to you before you have a phobia. Now, to conclude this older ones, I am ten and just made a huge statement to all you all. Think about it.

    • Hi, Mackenzie! Thanks so much for sharing your view of phobias! We really appreciate your comment and the fact that you WONDERed more about this Wonder of the Day® after you visited it! We think it is cool that you are ten years old, too! :-)

    • There are lots of different people who work and live here in Wonderopolis, Max! We all have different opinions about the number 13 and other superstitions! :-)

  24. I think Mackenzie is right…a phobia is not something you are born with. You have to have something happen to you first, like if you get bitten by a snake you might get a phobia from that. I am scared of dogs because I was bitten by one. I wasn’t born scared of them. I think some people can have a phobia of something but something might not have happened to them, they are just scared of it.

    • This is a SUPER comment, Kaley! We can tell you did a lot of extra WONDERing about phobias after you explored this Wonder about them…way to go! Thank you for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder. We’re super sorry you got bit by a dog, but you helped explain your point better by using that as an example! You are a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your comment with us today, Phil! We think it’s really cool that you’re a Detroit Red Wings fan AND a Wonderopolis fan! :-)

  25. HI,

    I was always wondering why Friday the 13th was so “unlucky” but now I think I know.
    I found the smallest computer wonder was interesting and cool. Did you know there was a fear called hydrophobephobia, which means someone who is afraid of a person afraid of water? I also wonder why do they choose Friday and why the month it is in??? I never knew there was a phobia that was specifically talking about FRIDAY the 13th. Thanks for making me wonder!!!!!

    Team Clark 19 :):)

    • We’re super LUCKY you left us this great comment, Team Clark 19! We really appreciate all the WONDERing you did about Friday the 13th! :-)

  26. Hello!

    I think triskaidekaphobia is an unrealistic phobia. Even though some people may have triskaidekaphobia, it seems like a phobia that is fake. It’s almost like a superstition that some people took too far.

    I wonder why the fear of the number thirteen is called triskadekaphobia? If you are afraid of the number thirteen, are you called a triskadekaphobe? I wonder if something bad happened on Friday the thirteenth to cause that superstition?

    Friday the thirteenth is not a superstition I believe in. I think it’s very unrealistic. If something bad happened every year on Friday the thirteenth, it would be a pandemonium in every city across America.

    Thank you for making me wonder,

    Team Clark 20

    • WOW! You really did some AWESOME WONDERing about triskaidekaphobia, Team Clark 20! We’re super proud of you! Thanks so much for sharing your feelings about this phobia! :-)

  27. Hey Wonderopolis!

    Thirteen is my school number, so I don’t think it is unlucky! I don’t believe in some superstitions, except I do cross my fingers a lot hoping for good luck! I didn’t know why people thought that 13 was unlucky until I read about the vikings legend and Loki at the Banquet of Valhalla, and how only 12 gods were invited. Then Baldr was killed, with a spear given to him by Loki. There is a lot of pandemonium in that story. I also learned that triskaidekaphobia means the fear of the number 13! Why are most phobia names very long? What does triskaideka mean? I’m guessing it has something to do with 13.


    • We’re pretty sure it has something to do with 13, too, Team Clark 13! We know LOTS of Wonder Friends who think 13 is a LUCKY number because it is their sports uniform number, their birthday number…even their school number (like YOU!)! :-)

  28. Hi! I kinda am superstitious too because my brothers b-day was on Friday the 13th and he had a bad luck party with all those things and he didn’t do them but I had to and I got SO much bad luck! I have two phobias but I don’t know their names. One is the fear of heights and the other is the fear of dead things! I am okay with dying, but not with seeing those creepy milky dead vacant eyes. Ewww! It reminds me of my dead great grandma. I do believe in the supernatural, though. I don’t think anyone in my class has triskaidekaphobia. Wow! What a long word!! I really enjoy wonderopolis and I am very glad that you respond so I am not typing to myself!

    Thanks for listening!
    Team Wilch #4

    • Hello, Team Wilch #4! We think it’s super cool that your brother had a bad luck party because his birthday was on Friday the 13th! What a clever idea (we’re sorry you had bad luck, though). Just so you know, the fear of heights is called “acrophobia,” and the fear of dead things is called, “necrophobia.” Thank you for sharing your phobias with your Wonder Friends here in Wonderopolis! :-)

  29. Hey Wonderopolis

    Today’s wonder is very interesting.I still don’t get the pandemonium of why thirteen is so unlucky because 1 of my classmate’s lucky number is thirteen. Triskaidekaphobia is a very common phobia, I guess. I have 2 phobias the fear of being shot and the fear of being stalked.

    thank you for reading

  30. Hi Wonderopolis!

    I do cross my fingers for good luck. Actually I did it a few days ago to be chosen for something in class.I think that some phobias are really stupid, like Nomophobia but I could relate to how weird it was when my friend was texting me and I didn’t know it was her. I also think Aulophobia and Arachibutyrophobia are just plain odd!
    I think that the fear of Friday the 13th is stupid and would cause pandemonium to strike across the country.

    I find it cool that in Spain the fear is of Tuesday the 13th. It is also interesting (and is making me WONDER) that if you put your purse on the floor then the devil will steal your money.

    Thanks for making me wonder!
    Team Clark #2:)

    P.S. Is two an unlucky number in another country/culture?

    • What a super comment, Team Clark #2! Thanks so much for letting us know all the things you are WONDERing about phobias! We think the number “2” is considered a lucky number in certain cultures, but we will both have to do even MORE WONDERing to be certain! :-)

  31. Hi, when i read this, I remembered I have like half of a fear of death…it depends on what. Like talking with my friends about their dead grandma or grandpa I always (you could ask any of my friends) I get all teary eyed. I think that the name phobophobia is a funny name. I wonder if the Myansns came up with the first origin about Friday the 13th . Is anyone their have triskaidekaphobia? I don’t know if I believe all the super superstitions. Can you tell me the very first phobia?

    For the lost penguin following you home – penguinphobia.

    • We’re not sure what the very first phobia was, Team Wilch 5, but it is fun to WONDER about! We like the phobia name you came up with for the fear of lost penguins following you home! :-)

  32. Hello

    I do think 13 is a unlucky number because the movie Friday the 13th, and I just think it’s unlucky. But, a couple of my friends think it is lucky. I wonder what the first phobia was? I also wonder how many different phobias and superstitions there are? Thanks for telling me about phobias.


    • Those are GREAT things to WONDER about phobias, Team Wilch 22! We’re proud of you! We’re glad you learned some cool facts about phobias by exploring this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  33. Hello Wonderopolis,

    This wonder is very cool. But some of these superstitions are very unreal. My phobia is of clowns. I used to have a phobia of shots, but I’m fine with them now. Do you guys know the most common phobia?

    Team Wilch8

    • We think it’s FUN to WONDER about all the different types of phobias out there, Team Wilch 8, but we know it’s not fun at all if you have phobias! We’re not sure what the most common phobia is, either, but we bet it has something to do with spiders, snakes, or heights! :-)

  34. Hello,
    It was sooooo cool to find out airplanes skip row 13! I also found out the word for the fear of the number 13 is called triskaidekaphobia. Being afraid of the number 13 seems as if it’s a pandemonium! I WONDER how many phobias there are in all? The next time I stay in a hotel I’ll make sure to see how many floors there are!

    • We think it’s cool that you are going to “investigate” about the 13th floor the next time you stay in a hotel, Team Clark #22! Thanks so much for sharing this AMAZING comment with us today! :-)

  35. Hello,
    I had no idea that airplanes sometimes skip the 13th row!!
    It is interesting that Judas Iscariot, the betrayor of Jesus, was the 13th person to join the table that night!!! Our class is learning all about different phobias!! Are you guys going to make a wonder about phobias? Everybody is persnickety about whether 13 is lucky or unlucky. I don’t think that it is unlucky. The next time I’m in a hotel, I’ll check if they skip the 13th room.

    • Thanks for sharing some of the things you learned about phobias today, Team Clark 7! We agree that some people think the number 13 is unlucky, and some think it is SUPER lucky! :-)

  36. Hi Wonderopolis!

    I had fun learning about the number 13. I know so many people that have this phobia. I was watching My Crazy Obsessions and this guy was in a big conundrum because he was afraid of water! Do you have a superstition on the number 13? I never new that the fear of 13 could have also been everywhere in the Viking Age. I never thought that there was a name for a phobia of the number 13.


    • We’re super glad you shared some of the interesting phobia facts you learned by exploring this Wonder of the Day®, Team Clark #10! We’re also proud of you and your classmates for using AWESOME vocabulary words like “conundrum” and “pandemonium” in your comments. You guys ROCK! :-)

  37. Hola Wonderopolis!!

    This wonder is awesome! I even found out what my phobia is: Coulrophobia, fear of clowns! At school we are learning about phobias, today at school we learned about the fear of 13, triskaidekaphobia! It sure is a conundrum learning all these phobias!! It is pretty interesting how they skip the 13th floor in a hotel! Another cool fact I learned was that there is a phobia of Friday the 13th, paraskevidekatriaphobia! Hey what might the wonder be on 4/13/11, Friday the 13? Well I cant wait to see!

    Team Clark #9 signing off!

    • We’re not sure what the Wonder will be on 4/13/12, Team Clark #9, but we know we won’t have a phobia about checking it out when it gets here! Thanks for leaving us such a super comment today! :-)

  38. Hello,
    I never really knew that 13 was that unlucky! I learned that people are terrified about the day Friday the 13th. I also learned that most airplanes skip the 13th row of seats. Some people makes the number 13 a conundrum. I do not have the phobia of number 13 or you could say triskaidekaphobia. I wonder if anything bad will happen if I sit in number 13 or if it or do anything with number 13.

    • Thanks for learning about phobias in Wonderopolis today and for leaving us this GREAT comment, Team Clark 21! :-)

  39. Hello Wonderopolis,
    This wonder is so cool. I have always wanted to know why Friday the 13 was feared. And now I know.
    We are learning about phobias at school.I just learned that the fear of the number 13 is called triskaidedekaphobia. :)
    I think that it is cool that the fear of 13 started in Jesus days.
    I just learned that hotels and airplanes skip the number 13. :)
    What other phobia’s are there? What is it called when your afraid of sticky notes?
    I have a fear of heights. My dad says that’s a conundrum because nobody in my family is afraid of heights so I can’t.

    Thanks for making me wonder, type me back soon
    -Team Clark 8 ;)

    • We’re not sure how many phobias there are, Team Clark 8, but we’re sure there are a LOT of them! We WONDER what the fear of sticky notes might be called, too! :-)

  40. Hi Wonderopolis,

    Some of the stuff about the number 13 I didn’t know of, like they don’t use the number 13 on planes, hotels and other things and people also feel the number 13 is lucky.
    We are also learning about phobias and, the number 12 is lucky and here are some 12 days in a month, 12 in a dozen, 12 gods [there was 13 but a god betrayed them and that’s interesting].
    Here is one thing about the number 13…Apollo 13 which, could have been a conundrum, but they made it back. Did you know that? I think the number 13 is lucky. Thanks for the info and see you later on a other topic. :)

    Team Clark1

    • Thanks for sharing about Apollo 13, Team Clark 1! We also liked how you shared about the number 12…we thought that was COOL! :-)

    I never knew the number 13 was such a conundrum to some people. Why are people so much more worried about Friday the 13th than on any other day of the week the 13th lands on? I do not have triskaidekaphobia at all. All the superstitions listed were probably made to just scare people. I can’t believe hotels skip the 13th floor! I never knew there was a word that meant “fear of clowns”: coulrophobia.

    Thank you for making me wonder!

    • Well, thank YOU for leaving us this AMAZING comment today and sharing your thoughts on this Wonder, Team Clark #15! We think it’s AWESOME that you and your classmates are learning about phobias! :-)

  42. Hello

    I thought this wonder was wonderful. I didn’t know that triskaidekaphobia was a real phobia. I had no idea hotels and tall buildings skip the 13th floor. And that planes don’t have a 13th row. I wonder if there’s a phobia of air? If the Friday 13 superstition was real, everything would be pandemonium.

    • GREAT comment, Team Clark #18! Thanks for sharing all the interesting facts about phobias you learned today! :-)

  43. Hello Wonderopolis,

    I really like this wonder! I think it’s fun learning about different phobias. In my class we are learning the suffix phobia and today I learned Triskaidekaphobia in class. I wanted to learn more so I checked Wonderopolis.
    A few questions I had as I was reading were:

    Why do planes skip the 13th row?

    Why do hotels/buildings skip the 13th floor?

    What is the most common and the most least common phobia?
    ( I know that this question is a conundrum so you don’t have to answer this question. )

    I learned that some people have phobophobia (fear of phobias) and that there is a phobia with its own name: paraskevidekatriaphobia.

    • Those are all GREAT questions, Team Clark 23! We think planes and hotels skip the 13th row and/or floor because there are lots of superstitious customers out there they feel they need to accommodate for! We’ll all have to do some more WONDERing about the most and least common phobias to learn more about them! :-)

  44. Hi!

    This wonder was very interesting. I never knew that airplanes skip the 13th row. I also never knew that the fear of thirteen is most common in Western cultures. I wonder if there is a phobia for everything? Super natural events can be scary sometimes. If everyone had bad luck on Friday the 13th and everyone lost there jobs or got sick it would be a conundrum for everyone.

    • You’re right, Team Clark #11! Sometimes supernatural events can be scary. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about phobias with everyone in Wonderopolis today! :-)

  45. Dear wonderopolis,
    Hi I think 13 is bad luck at certain times. I think friday the 13th is bad luck. I think it is not bad luck when you have to use it or it’s your sports number it’s like the number 6, which is the devil’s favorite number, and if you go to a store and you have to pay 66 dollars and 66 cents it would be bad luck.
    team clark 17

    • We liked hearing your thoughts about phobias and lucky and unlucky numbers today, Team Clark 17! Thanks so much for sharing them with us! :-)

  46. Hello Wonderopils

    I kind of have a triskaidekaphobia. I also have the phobia of Nomophobia, which means losing cell phone contact. Do you have any phobias. I can’t believe that it went back to the Jesus and the Vikings. Here’s a conundrum… what’s the devil’s favorite number?
    Team Clark12

    • We think it’s cool that you left us this comment today to share that you have some phobias, Team Clark 12! Thanks for doing that! :-)

  47. Hi Wonderopolis!

    I am pretty scared about triskaidekaphobia, because one time in Florida, I took a trolly around town and we stopped and got something to eat and after we ate I forgot my phone, Ipod, and wallet. After we got the things back, we missed the trolly. It was also on Friday the 13th. It will be a phobia I will always be afraid of.

    I have learned that planes skip the 13th row and that some cities avoid having a 13th street!

    I have conundrum question to ask. Whats the most common phobia?

    • We can understand why you don’t care much for Friday the 13th, Team Wilch 18! We’re super sorry all that happened to you in Florida, but thank you for sharing your story! We’re not exactly sure what the most common phobia is, but we think it MIGHT have something to do with spiders, snakes or heights! :-)

  48. Hello Wonderopolis

    I don’t know if I have a phobia, but the names of some are really cool!
    There’s so many phobias that somebody could probably make a dictionary of phobias. I think that having a phobia could be a real conundrum. I think that it could really effect you life forever. Are you born with a phobia? I think that I do not have triskaidekaphobia. In fact, Friday the thirteenth really doesn’t scare me at all.

    from,Team Wilch 12

    • We agree that some of the names for phobias ARE really cool, Team Wilch 12! We don’t think people are born with phobias. We think an event probably has to happen to them in their lives to make them afraid of something. Thanks for sharing this GREAT comment with us today! :-)

  49. Hi Wonderopolis

    I think that the passage about the #13 is really cool.
    I never had a fright of the number 13 unless something happens on the 13th.
    I like researching this kind of stuff because some people have their own conundrums on the 13th.

    Some people have triskaidekaphobia which means they are afraid of clowns and some people have Nomophobia.
    Not to be persnickety but do you have a fright of the number 13?.

    Team Wilch3

    • We are really liking the comments from you and your classmates today, Team Wilch 3! We think it is SUPER fun to learn about phobias, and we’re glad you think so, too! :-)

  50. Hi Wonderopolis!

    Maybe some people think that Friday the 13th is bad luck because maybe something bad happened to them that day. I can’t believe that some of the phobias are:
    Aulophobia (Flutes)
    Lutraphobia (Otters)
    Nomophobia (Losing Cell Phone Contacts)
    Fear of being tickled by badgers while jumping rope
    Fear of finding a portal to an alternative universe at the back of your closet
    Fear of your dog actually eating your homework
    Fear of being followed by lost penguins and
    Fear of waking up on the ceiling because gravity went away during the night.

    Maybe the reason people are afraid of those things is because something might have happened to them when there were little that made them scared of those things. If the Friday the 13th superstition was real, it would be pandemonium!
    I’ve always been WONDERing but are you born with a phobia or do you get it when your older?

    Thanks for making me WONDER!,
    Team Wilch 19

    • We agree with you in thinking that something might have happened to people sometime in their lives to make them afraid of certain things and have phobias, Team Wilch 19! Thanks for being a SUPER Wonder Friend! :-)

  51. Hi Wonderopolis!

    I don’t have triskaidekaphobia. I actually like the number 13. I think it is cool to learn about the fear of the number 13 as a phobia. I just wondered how many phobias are there? What is the most common phobia? What is the weirdest phobia? Oh I forgot, I wanted to tell you that one time I said the number 13 and a friend of mine had pandemonium which is a wild up roar.

    Bye :)

    • Those are all AWESOME questions about phobias, Team Wilch 2! We like that you and your classmates are doing lots of extra WONDERing about the subject! We’re not sure how many phobias there actually are, or which one is the weirdest. We’ll all have to do some more WONDERing about that! :-)

  52. Hello Wonderopolis,

    I enjoyed reading about triskaidekaphobia. The weird thing is, 13 is my luckiest number. I have that number in football and basketball. I am kind’ve superstitious because I always get freaked out on tests, when two answers in a row are the same letter. I’m not that superstitious though because I don’t believe that if a black cat walks by you, you will have bad luck. I can’t believe that it went all the way back to Jesus, that is such a long time ago. I wonder why Friday the 13th is such a pandemonium. I wonder what some other unlucky numbers there are, is 23 unlucky?
    Thanks for making me Wonder.

    • We’re sure there are many different lucky and unlucky numbers in the various cultures of the world, Team Wilch 13! Thanks for sharing that 13 is a lucky number for YOU! :-)

  53. Dear wonderopolis,
    Some phobias are very interesting. I have Coulrophobia. I am very scared of clowns. I think that clowns are very scary.
    I can’t believe that some people have fears of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth, and people are scared of flutes! Also being tickled by badgers while jumping rope! That’s strange. Do you have any strange phobias like those ones? I wonder why Friday the 13th is such a Pandemonium. Also I wonder what it will be like when its Friday the 13th in 2013!

    Team Wilch10

    • We agree that some phobias are a bit hard to believe, Team Wilch 10, but we bet they are VERY real to the people who experience them! Thanks for sharing that you are afraid of clowns and THANK YOU for being a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

  54. Hi Wonderopolis!

    I enjoyed learning about phobias. I didn’t know that most hotels and tall buildings skip the 13th floor. I think triskaidekaphobia is considered a phobia. What do you think whether triskaidekaphobia is considered as a phobia or a superstition? I think it will be conundrum if everyone had bad day on 13th!

    Thanks for making me wonder!

    Team Wilch 15

    • We’re GLAD you like to WONDER, Team Wilch 15! Thanks so much for leaving us this GREAT comment to let us know all the awesome things you learned about phobias! :-)

  55. Hi Wonderopolis!

    I think that this wonder is so cool! I’m not fearful of the number 13, but I am a little superstitious. I’m afraid of spiders what is that called? I think Friday the 13th on the year 2013 will be pandemonium. Some phobias are really silly like the one of peanut butter sticking to the top of your mouth.

    Team Wilch 9

    • Hi, Team Wilch 9! LOTS of people are afraid of spiders! That phobia is called arachnophobia. Thanks so much for sharing your phobia and for visiting this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  56. Hey Wonderopolis!

    I was very interested about all of the phobias that there are. It strikes me as funny some of the things people are scared of. Peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth? Wow. NO gravity, being tickled by badgers while jumping rope? CRAZY! I want to know about what the most common superstition is? I also discovered that I am afraid of spiders, but don’t know what it’s called. Do you?

    The conundrum of how 13 got unlucky will never be truly known.

    • You’re not the only one of your awesome classmates to have arachnophobia, or fear of spiders, Team Wilch 11! Thanks for sharing your feelings about some of the other phobias you learned about. We appreciate your comment! :-)

  57. Hi,wonderopolis!

    I learned many new phobias. One was coulrophobia phobia of clowns. Another one that I leaned was arachibutyrophobia-peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth. I thought that was funny. I wonder why #13 such a unlucky number, because there’s a #13 in my class and he says it’s his lucky number. I am not trying to be persnickity, but do you have any phobias? I never knew how Friday the 13th is such a conundrum for people. I really enjoyed the article. Thank you!

    • We’re sure happy to hear that you learned so many awesome facts about phobias today and enjoyed this Wonder of the Day®, Team Wilch 16! It’s true, some people think the number 13 is a VERY lucky number! :-)

  58. I learned many new phobias. In triskaidekaphobia, there are many things people are scared about. I learned how some people have a fear of losing their cell phone contacts. There is also a fear of otters some people have. How many fears do people have for Friday the 13th? I never knew how Friday the 13th is such a conundrum for people. I really enjoyed reading about Friday the 13th fears.
    Thank you!!

    • We think it ROCKS that you enjoyed exploring this Wonder about phobias and the number 13, Team Wilch 23! We thought it was cool to learn about some of the lesser-known phobias you shared about in your comment! :-)

  59. Hello Wonderopolis,

    I thought it was very interesting reading about Triskaidekaphobia and other phobias. I still don’t see the pandemonium is about thirteen. I like the number thirteen a lot. I only really have one fear and it is centipedes and millipedes a lot, but I am fine with spiders and clowns. What is the fear of centipedes do you know? While I was reading, I saw that there was a fear of being tackled by a badger while jumping rope, that just scares me that that’s a phobia!

    Thanks for the wonder,TEAM WILCH 6

    • We’re not sure what the fear of centipedes and millipedes is called, Team Wilch 6! We’ll both have to do a bit more WONDERing about that one, but THANKS for sharing your phobia with us today! :-)

  60. Hello Wonderopolis,

    I learned that Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth . I agree that triskaidekaphobia is a superstition and not a phobia.
    I also learned that phobias can cause you a conundrum. I wonder how many phobias there are.

    • We’re not quite sure how many phobias there are, Wilch #1, but our guess is a LOT! If you think of all the people in the world and consider all the things they might be afraid of, the list of phobias must be SUPER LONG! Thanks for making us WONDER today! :-)

  61. Hi

    I think being triskaidecaphobic is kinda dumb (no offence to those who are triskaidecaphobes). I also think that the fear of 13 should be a superstition. I do not believe in anything supernatural like aliens and ghosts but I do think that knocking on wood twice brings good luck. I am completely afraid of spiders. Whenever I see a spider, it’s a complete pandamoneom!

    Thanks for giving me a good wonder!

    • We know LOTS of other Wonder Friends who are afraid of spiders, too, Team Clark #5! Thanks for sharing this COOL comment with us today and for sharing your thoughts about phobias and superstition! :-)

  62. I Wonder why people are afraid of things. I know some. In triskaidekaphobia TRI means 3 KAI means plus/and DEKA means 10 PHOBIA means fear of add it together 3+10=13

  63. Hola Wonderopolis,
    WOW! Why do the people who name phobias make them so long and confusing!?! I used to know nothing about PHOBIAS but now I know a ton! I had no clue that the fear of the number thirteen is called TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIA. I believe that phobias are fun but not at all real. At times, believing in phobias can be a really big conundrum because people try to avoid things and it can lead to problems.
    Does believing too many phobias ever lead to depression because they are scared of so much? I learned that there is a lot of fears and names for practically all of them! Who would be afraid of being tickled by badgers while jumping rope? Why is the fear of the number 13 only common in the west? I also learned why people think that 13 is an unlucky number. Cool!

    I have to go now, Bye!

    • We think it’s GREAT that you and your classmates are exploring this Wonder and learning about phobias and superstitions, Team Wilch #14! Thanks for sharing your comment with us today! :-)

  64. Hey wonderopolis!!!!
    It is so cool that our class found this wonder because we are studying the suffix phobe and phobia. It is cool that there is a name for being superstitious or being feared of the number 13. The word is triskaiphobia. I wonder if some cities on Friday the 13th are in total pandemonium? Are you scared of the number 13?

    • Hi, Team Clark 16! We know a few Wonder Friends who are frightened by the number 13 or think it is unlucky. But, we have just as many Wonder Friends who think the number 13 is SUPER LUCKY! Thanks for visiting this Wonder of the Day® and leaving us this GREAT comment! :-)

  65. Who knew there was a fear of the number 13? I think triskadekaphobia is weird. I had no idea that there was such thing as fear of Friday the 13 or paraskevidekatriaphobia. I didn’t know fear of the number 13 was more common in western cultures. Do you know how many people have triskadekaphobia?
    – Team Unger 14

    • Hi, Team Unger 14! We’re not sure how many people have different phobias, but we think it’s interesting to learn about all of them! Thanks so much for visiting Wonderopolis today! :-)

  66. This wonder really helped me understand about reasons why 13 is unlucky! I think I may have triskadekaphobia because I always feel a bit shaky when the number 13 is mentioned. How do we know when this superstition was created? Do we have documents about this topic? Although I have many questions I have learned a lot. For example now I know the name of the fear of Friday the 13th(paraskevidekatriaphobia) which I totally have. Who knew there was a fear of otters (lutraphobia)!!!!!!!! Thank you for having this website!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Thank YOU for checking out this Wonder today, Team McNeil! We really like hearing all the cool things you learned about phobias! :-)

  67. 13 is not a lucky number. 8 is a lucky number because my grampa always says pick a number from 1 throw 100 to sit in the front seat. I got it wrong the number was 8. HAVE A GREAT DAY!!

    • Thanks for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder, Kelly! We like playing the “guess a number” game, too! It’s a great way to break a tie, see who gets to eat the last cupcake, see who gets to go first…the possibilities are endless! :-)

  68. Hi, Wonderopolis

    I learned a lot of things from the article. I learned two new words 1: triskaidekaphobia 2: superstition. I also learned that in building they skip the 13th floor and, that on streets they skip the 13th street. Is there any other unlucky numbers? Are factors of 13 unlucky too? Do you have an unlucky number?
    Thank you for listening Wonderopolis.

    • We don’t have an unlucky number, Team McNeil 10, but we can see both sides of the discussion with regard to whether “13” is lucky or unlucky! Thanks for visiting this Wonder and leaving us this GREAT comment! :-)

  69. I never knew that triskaidekaphobia meant that you were afraid of the number 13. I also never knew that Coulrophobia meant that you were afraid of clowns. I’m just curious but what is the most common know “phobia”? Also, what is the “phobia” most people are scared of?
    Thank You For Listening Wonderopolis,
    TeamMcneil17 :) :(

  70. Hi,
    I just learned that arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth!! I also learned that lutraphobia is the fear of otters. Two new vocabulary words I learned are coulrophoia (the fear of clowns) and aulophobia (the fear of flutes). The one thing that I really can’t believe is that there is a fear of getting tickled by badgers while jumping rope!!! That is so specific!!! I still have one more question, is there a fear of food!!!

    • This is a GREAT comment, Team McNeil 11! Thanks for sharing all the cool things you learned about phobias! Yes, there is actually a fear of food. It is a phobia called, “cibophobia.” Thank you for WONDERing more about phobias in Wonderopolis today! :-)

  71. Hey I’ve got some made-up phobia’s!!
    fear of oranges: fruitaphobia
    fear of giraffes: biglongneckaphobia
    fear of pants: jeansarescaryaphobia
    fear of Yu-Gi-Oh!: cardgametvshowaphobia
    fear of pokemon: pikachuaphobia
    fear of dragon ball z: supersaiyanaphobia
    fear of pickles: sourgreenthingaphobia
    fear of nachos: nachoaphobia
    and last but not least…
    fear of made up phobias: madeupaphobia

    • Thanks for sharing a cool fact you know about cats, Ellen! We appreciate it when our Wonder Friends (like YOU!) add something awesome to a Wonder of the Day® by commenting! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your comment, Skye! We think it’s fun to learn about each other’s superstitions and lucky numbers! We hope you have a WONDERful day! :)

  72. All of this Friday the 13 stuff is a bunch of nonsense. OK so those events happened on the 13th. Those were a coincidence.

    • We appreciate your comment about Friday the 13th, Tyler! Some of our Wonder Friends are superstitious, while others don’t think twice about it! We are glad to know you think it’s just a coincidence! :)

  73. For some weird reason I don’t really like odd numbers. I like even ones better. So I’ve never really liked 1,3,5,7,9,11,13…. on and on. Except I do like 1 so I don’t like any odd numbers except for one.

    • How interesting, Maya! We think it’s cool that you have a preference of even numbers… perhaps you’ll meet a friend who likes odd numbers better! Together, you’re a pair! :)

    • We bet different Wonder Friends have certain unlucky numbers, just like your dad doesn’t like 61, Katelyn! Thanks for sharing your comment with us! :)

  74. Hi Wonderopolis,
    Thanks for letting me know I have both triskaidekaphobia and paraskevidekatriaphobia. Thanks for letting my know those both colossal words. Are there other numbers unlucky like the number 13??
    If so please list them. It will be really cool if you could list a lot of superstitions for me to know. Once again thank you very much for posting this wonder

    Shevani S

    • Hi there, Wonder Friend Shevani! We’re glad you learned two new, very long words today! We bet some people consider other numbers to be unlucky, just like 13! Did you know that some old hotels don’t have a 13th floor to choose in the elevator?! Thanks for WONDERing with us today! :)

  75. Dear Wonderopolis,
    WOW! That article about the number 13 being unlucky was really cool! One new thing that I learned was that if the mere mention of 13 makes you uneasy of nervous you may suffer of triskaidekaphobia. How do you get triskaidekaphobia? How long do you usally have the phobia? Another thing that I learned was that it is the square root of 169! Do people abhor triskaidekaphobia? I cannot wait to see what the new wonder will be!

    Your reader, Emma

    • Hi there, Wonder Friend Emma! For some people, phobias last a short period of time, but for others a phobia can last for many, many years. We’re so happy that you’re thinking outside the box about different fears today! It’s fun to Wonder with you! :)

  76. Hi I am new to WONDEROPOLIS I thought I will never learn science but thanks to you now I know science very well I love WONDEROPOLIS I am glad I am French and very good English I was born in the United States of America yeah!

    • HOORAY Niki, we’re glad you’re here! Thanks for sharing how much you enjoy science– we’re all smiles! It’s so great that you learned something new from Wonderopolis, and you are excited to learn! Have a WONDERful day! :-)

    • ooOOOoooOO! Do you believe the 13th is unlucky, Wonder Friend Act! We bet it’s actually a lucky number in your house, since that was when your brother celebrated his 13th birthday! Thanks for telling us about your connection to the 13th! :)

  77. I love the number 13. It is my favorite number and, by coincidence, my lucky number. My birthday is the 31st day of March (Easter 2013) and all my friends and I flip our birthday number around to make it our lucky numbers, so mine is 13.

    • Well that’s super cool, Elisa! Thanks for sharing your comment about why you love the number 13 so much! We think it’s cool that it’s your lucky number, too! We are glad you told us about how you and your friends flop your birth dates to get a lucky number! :)

    • Hi Andrew L from 3rd with Mr Moss! We have been WONDERing the same thing all day. We haven’t seen any black cats today, and we’ve been avoiding walking under ladders… but we think it’s been a fantastic Friday! :)

  78. Dear Wonderopolis,
    Why do so many people believe in superstitions? I don’t believe in any superstitions, other than if you cross your fingers it brings good luck. What superstitions do you believe in? Why do only certain religions believe in certain superstitions? Also I learned what knock on wood means. I also learned on airplanes they skip the 13th aisle. Another thing I learned is that people try to skip the 13th street. Some other things I learned is that if a black cat walks by it’s bad luck. I learned that if you walk under a ladder it’s bad luck. I hope I don’t get any bad luck today.

    • Great work, Ava from Mrs. Stemmet’s 3rd grade class! Superstitions sure have been around for a while; you’ve done a SUPER job of listing all that you have learned about. Nice work! We hope your day is full of luck and fun! :)

  79. Hi Wonderopolis, sorry I’m late in this comment. =P

    Can you pllllleeeeeaaasssseeeee post more about phobias in the future? I loved this wonder. Some people have a hospital-phobia, I think it’s called Nosocomephobia. And some have a fear of their photograph being taken! I think that’s called Ipovlopsychophobia, but I don’t know. doesn’t even have a pronunciation for these phobias (and a really long word, for people who have a long-word phobia :P) and I was dying to know the pronunciation for all these!

    • Hi Ella, thanks so much for sharing your enthusiastic comment! We sure are glad you’re WONDERing with us today and you’re researching other types of phobias! Perhaps you can ask your school librarian or teacher to help you with the pronunciation of those words! They can be a mouthful! :)

      We think you’ll like our Wonder about flying (or fear of flying) right here: :)

  80. Hi Wonderopolis!

    We enjoyed your wonder about the phobia of the number 13. We didn’t know there were so many reasons why people classify the number 13 as unlucky! Could you tell us, are there other examples of phobias for different numbers? If so what are they? We also learned that 7 is a lucky number and the difference between superstitions and phobias. Thanks for the wonder!

    Team Clark

    • Hi Team Clark! Thanks for WONDERing with us! There are some phobias with numbers such as numbers going out of order or too many repeating numbers! Keep WONDERing! :)

  81. I just learned that the fear of the number 13 is called triskiadekaphobia. I’ve heard that crossing your fingers and the number 7 is good luck, and I’ve heard that breaking a mirror is bad luck. I’ve never knew what superstition was until now. So thanks for all the things you taught me today Wonderopolis.

    • Hi Team Clark #25! We’re so glad you’re WONDERing with us! What’s your favorite number? We’d love to hear! Thanks for WONDERing! :)

  82. I was born on June 13th, so I do not think it is bad luck, but I do think Friday the 13th is unlucky and my birthday this year is on Friday the 13th, so wish me luck.

  83. I loved this WONDER! I don’t believe in superstitions but they are fun to hear! Are there any more WONERS on superstition?

    • Thanks for WONDERing with us, Samantha! There are no more WONDERS about superstition, but maybe you could suggest one to WONDERopolis. Click on the “what are you wondering?” tab on the left side of the page. Great idea! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Do you think 13 is unlucky?
  • What is triskaidekaphobia?
  • Are there any superstitions you believe in?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Ready to learn about a few interesting phobias and even make up a few of your own? This should be easy, unless you have phobophobia (fear of phobias)! Grab a friend or family member and try out one of the following activities:

  • Talk with your friends and family members. What do they fear? Are there things that several friends and family members are afraid of? Are you afraid of the same things? Are any of these considered phobias? Or are some mere superstitions? Also talk about what things your friends and family members consider lucky or unlucky. What’s the weirdest example you can come up with of something people think is lucky?
  • Take a look at the list of phobias on the left below. Read the names and try to guess what fears are associated with each. Then check the column on the right below to see what people with these phobias fear.

            Phobia                                                            Fear of…

            Coulrophobia                                     Clowns

            Arachibutyrophobia                          Peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth

            Nomophobia                                      Losing cell phone contact

            Aulophobia                                        Flutes

            Lutraphobia                                        Otters

How did you do? Did you guess any of these phobias? Do you have any of these phobias? How do you think people with these phobias would behave?

  • There certainly are some interesting and curious phobias, aren’t there? When you think about it, people can be afraid of just about anything. We’ve come up with a list of some things that people might be scared of. Take a look at our list below and try to come up with a phobia name for each situation. Email us your ideas. You can also share with us on Facebook and Twitter! We can’t wait to see what you come up with! If you want to draw a picture to illustrate the phobia and your name for it, we’d love to see your artwork, too!
    • Fear of being tickled by badgers while jumping rope
    • Fear of finding a portal to an alternative universe at the back of your closet
    • Fear of your dog actually eating your homework
    • Fear of being followed by lost penguins
    • Fear of waking up on the ceiling because gravity went away during the night

Still Wondering

Explore National Geographic Education’s Witch Trials in the 21st Century lesson to learn more about how witchcraft and superstitions survive in the modern world!


Test Your Knowledge

Wonder What’s Next?

Does the cool fall air make you long for summer’s return? If you lived anywhere else but Earth, you’d reconsider. 

Upload a Photo or Paste the URL of a YouTube or SchoolTube Video.