THE 13TH FLOOR

Where is the 13th Floor, and why is it absent in so many buildings?

Come with us, as we attempt to explain the legend of the 13th floor, and introduce you to San Antonio’s most horrifying haunted experience, the 13th Floor Haunted House.

The levels of a multi story building are frequently numbered sequentially, from "basement", “lobby”, “ground”, "one", or “1” upwards or occasionally downwards. In some countries, as it is here in the United States, the number 13 is considered unlucky and building owners will sometimes purposefully omit a floor numbered 13. Hence, the 13th floor is sometimes given the number 14.

Even building owners who are not themselves superstitious realize that the desirability of units on a floor 13 might be compromised because of superstitious tenants, or commercial tenants who worry about losing superstitious customers.

Based on an internal review of records, the Otis Elevators company estimates that 85% of the buildings with their elevators do not have a named 13th floor.

So why does this happen? Why are even skeptics so easily convinced that the majority would just rather avoid this floor? What has happened in history to create such a stigma about a 13th Floor? For whatever reasons there may be, there seems to be a multitude of stories about what happens on the 13th floor of numerous buildings, some documented, some not. It seems that it has become largely accepted to just leave it alone, brush it under the rug, and don’t talk about it.

A good example is that some have suggested the thirteenth floor in government buildings is not really missing, but actually contains top-secret governmental departments, or more generally that it is proof of something sinister or clandestine going on.

It should be noted that to place a floor between those accessible from an elevator, it is necessary to either take longer to travel between the neighboring floors, or accelerate, both of which would be noticed by the riders. It would also be noticeable from the exterior, requiring either an extra row of windows or a conspicuous gap between rows.

Thus, it would make much more sense to build a secret floor, such as the 13th floor as a basement, making it much easier to hide thirteenth floor locations, in what appear to be single story buildings, underground.

We, the creators of the 13th Floor Haunted House, have discovered locations, right here in San Antonio, Texas constructed in the manor described above. Not completely sure of what all of their past uses may have been, it seems that the majority of these locations are currently inhabited as a home for the fortunate or unfortunate souls, living and dead, that have discovered their secret locations when seeking shelter from the environment, or society. Various species of rats, snakes, and spiders have also taken up residence here, living in secret, by their own rules.

This year, as in the past, and future, we will open one of these locations for you to tour. Step inside, take a ride, and travel through the 13th floor, visit the current occupants who call it their “home”, witness the oddities and strange occurances that have created the legend of the 13th floor, and discover why it continues to be one of the world’s greatest mysteries.

THE STORY

In the early 1940’s the building that house the 13th Floor Haunted House operated briefly as a hotel for passengers travelling in and out of Sunset Station.  According to legend, a group of school children arrived at the station in route to their destination south of San Antonio.  The weather turned, and the bus driver who was to take them the rest of the way decided it would be best if they waited till morning to complete their journey.  The checked in to the hotel across the street, and turned in for the night.  The next morning, the rain had let up to a drizzle, the bus driver loaded the children and headed south.

Just south of town, on the same railroad tracks that brought the group of children to San Antonio, a train was moving swiftly down the tracks, when the engineer spied a school bus stalled along his path. Frantically he pulled his break and tugged on the train whistle, the huge engine quickly advanced toward the school bus, unable to stop in time. Ten children reportedly lost their lives that tragic day.  Legend has it that they continue to haunt the area, including the hotel where they spent their final night, protecting others from a similar fate.