Signs

The 13th Floor

“The superstition is that in a building if it has a 13th floor, it is bad luck to live on the 13th floor. Also I’ve heard that elevators will drop once it hits the 13th floor. That is why there is the Tower of Terror at California Adventures in Anaheim.”

 

When did you first hear about this?

“I first heard the superstition from my grandmother who is superstitious in very odd ways. Half of the superstitions she believes are bad luck and some of the bad luck superstitions are actually good luck. For this superstition, she owes a property and believes that the 13th floor is good luck. But when I investigated, most people think it is bad luck. I think it started when she was little and she had a black cat as a pet. There is a superstition that if a black cat crosses your path it is bad luck. But she had a blessed life and lived through WWII. And so she started believing that all bad luck superstitions may be good luck for her.”

 

Do you believe these superstitions?

“I don’t necessarily believe the black cat superstition or the 13th floor superstition as bad luck. If anything I believe my grandma that it may be good luck.”

 

What do you think this story means?

“I have a theory that the 13th floor superstition was created when skyscrapers were not popular and first being made and that if the building got too high it might fall over. Or it is not structurally stable enough.”

 

Analysis:

It seems as though luck plays a large role in Chinese culture and tradition. While this superstition is not originally Chinese, the informant’s grandmother played a large role in her interpretation of the story. The 13th floor and black cats are usually seen, especially in America, as omens of back luck and misfortune. However, the informant and her grandmother’s Chinese background influenced the way that they view these stories.

 

For more stories, information, and details about the 13th floor superstition and other number related stories, please visit:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/02/skipping-the-13th-floor/385448/

Li, SHIRLEY. “Skipping the 13th Floor.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.

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