Triskaidekaphobia is the irrational fear of number thirteen. It has its origin in religious superstition of the Last Supper, where in if there are 13 people at a table, one of those will die within a year. Here we make a list of famous people whose decision making was influenced by it and they avoided anything to do with the number 13.

1. Arnold Schoenberg

Arnold Schoenberg

He was a Austria-born American composer who is one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. He is most known for developing twelve-tone method of composing, which is a compositional method of manipulating an ordered series of all twelve notes in the chromatic scale. 

Arnold was a triskaidekaphobe, which might have began in 1908 with the composition of the thirteenth song of the song cycle Das Buch der Hängenden Gärten Op. 15. After this he feared that he would die during a year that was a multiple of 13. He also changed Aaron’s name of his opera Moses and Aron (1932), so that it would not have a thirteen-letter title. His fear might have finally caught up with him, when he died on Friday, 13 July 1951, 15 minutes before midnight. He had stayed in bed all day, sick and anxious, waiting for the watch to hit 12’0 clock, but it was not to be.

2. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt

He was the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. He is the only person to be elected president four times and was also inflicted with polio. He was such a triskaidekaphobe, that he hated Friday the thirteenth, refused to travel on the 13th day of any month and host a dinner with 13 guests.

3. Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill

He was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, during the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955. Because of his fear of number thirteen, he refused to sit in row 13 in the theater or on an airplane.

4. P. T. Barnum

P. T. Barnum

He was a American showman who founded the Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1871, which was dubbed The Greatest Show on Earth. He was one of the first to use sensationalism for promotion. He once disguised a five-year-old boy as the world’s smallest man and a 80-year-old woman as George Washington’s 161-year-old nurse. He was so taken by the number 13 that a entire chapter in his autobiography was devoted to analyzing the importance of 13 in his own life.

5. Stephen King

Stephen King

He is a American author of horror whose books have sold more than 350 million copies. The movies Carrie (1976), The Shawshank Redemption (1994), The Shining (1980) and Misery (1990) were all a adaptation of his novels. Talking about his fear he said that, ‘When I’m writing, I’ll never stop work if the page number is 13 or a multiple of 13; I’ll just keep on typing till I get to a safe number. When I’m reading, I won’t stop on page 94, 193, or 382, since the sums of these numbers add up to 13‘.

6. Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner

He was a German composer who is one of the most influential and controversial composers of all time. He is famous for his epic operas, including the four-part, 18-hour Ring Cycle. He is also disparaged for his anti-Semitic writings, which, posthumously made him a favorite of Adolf Hitler. He was tied with the number 13 his whole life. He was born in 1813, which added up to 13. His famous festival opera house in Bayreuth, Germany was opened on August 13, 1876. He wrote 13 operas. He died on February 13, 1883.

7. Ángel Nieto

Ángel Nieto

He was a Spanish professional Grand Prix motorcycle racer, who in his racing career that spanned twenty-three years from 1964 to 1986, won 13 World Championships and 90 Grand Prix victories. But because of his triskaidekaphobia, he preferred to refer to his championship tally as “12+1”, rather than 13.

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