On February 23 a movie by Joel Schumacher, starring Jim Carrey, will be released entitled 'The Number 23'. The story centers around a book given to the main character ( Carrey ) that seems to echo the events in his life and features prominently the phenomena that has come to be known as "The 23 Enigma". The 23 enigma is the belief that every event is somehow related to the number 23. This is sometimes misattributed to the science of Numerology although, that is incorrect. Like the '9-11' phenomenon wherein coincidences of the number 911 are charted and listed, the 23 enigma may be nothing more than a particular example of the confirmation bias in cognitive theory know as apophenia - the experience of finding connections or patterns in random, meaningless data. The adherents of the 911 phenomenon find a good portion of these coincidences by manipulating numbers to arrive at a desired outcome ( negating the possibility of true coincidence ) and many of the examples given in the numerous lists regarding the 23 enigma share this trait. Robert Anton Wilson himself, whose work explores some of these interesting coincidences regarding the number 23, comments that the phenomenon merely shows how the mind can find 'truth' in anything if it wishes to see it.
However there are some genuine coincidences ( or synchronicities ) that feature the number 23 and these are often interesting to ponder as harmless amusements, a few of which we will list here. Owing to popular culture there are also many instances where the enigma is intentionally evoked in artistic works that feature some reference to 23. If you should decide to provisionally accept the phenomenon as a true example of synchronicity in action do not be surprised if you begin to see the number 23 everywhere as it becomes what is know in psychology as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whether you see it or not, have fun. 23 times over!
Curiosities of the number 23
The physical biorhythm cycle is said to be 23 days. It takes 23 seconds for blood to circulate through the human body. The male and female each contribute 23 chromosomes during conception. A full turn of the DNA helix occurs every 23 angstroms. The number of joints in the human arm is 23. There are 23 vertebrae in the human body. Tantrists believe the male sex cycle is 23 days.
Shakespeare was born on April 23. Shakespeare died on April 23. Two 23's equals 46 and, that's how old Shakespeare was when the KJV was published. Grab a King James Version of the Bible and turn to Psalm 46. Count 46 words and you arrive at the word 'shake'. Turn to the end of the chapter and count 46 words backwards and the word you end on is 'spear'.
The Ancient Egyptians hailed the New Year on July 23 - the day Sirius rises behind the sun.
The ideal orbit, Clarke's Orbit, for a satellite is 23,000 miles above the earth.
The first prime number wherein both of the digits are prime and add up to another prime number is 23.
The 23rd letter of the alphabet, W, has 3 points up and 2 points down.
Two-thirds or, 2/3, is equal to .666.
The first Morse code transmission is reported to have been "What hath god wrought?". A Biblical quote from Numbers 23:23.
Alexander the Great was 23 when he cut the Gordian Knot and Caesar is reported to have been stabbed 23 times. The Knights Templar had 23 Grand Masters.
The "Day the Music Died" was February 3 or, 2-3. This was of course the day Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper died.
Devin Hester, whose jersey number is 23, becomes the first person to return the opening kickoff for a touchdown in a Super Bowl ( XLI ).
And here are a few more instances of people obsessing over it:
Late author William Burroughs was so gripped by numeric coincidences surrounding 23, he kept a scrapbook of his findings. It is said he was alerted to the number's power when a Captain Clark told him he had run a ferry from Spain to Morocco with no problem for 23 years. Hours later it sank, killing the skipper.
Band Psychic TV were obsessed with 23. They released 23 live albums, each on the 23rd day of 23 months running.
BASKETBALL legend Michael Jordan wore 23 for the Chicago Bulls. His dad was also murdered on July 23, 1993, during a botched robbery. Real's choice of number is a coup for agency SFX who handle both Jordan and Becks' affairs.
WILLIAM Shakespeare was born and died on April 23. His first folio of plays came in 1623. Wife Anne died in 1623.
US catchphrase "23, skidoo" is thought to have come from A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens. In it a woman counts guillotine victims.
As she says "23" the hero Sydney Carton is beheaded in the last act.
WORLD record-breaking basketball boy wonder LeBron James also wears the number 23 shirt.
The 18-year-old recently signed for Cleveland Cavaliers after agreeing a four-year, £12million contract. And the much-hyped star, dubbed the "Chosen One" signed a £60million endorsement deal with sportswear giants Nike.
CAR giant Nissan is touched by a numerical coincidence. In Japanese, "ni" is 2, and "san" is 3. So Nissan would be 23.
WRITER Burroughs inspired author Robert Anton Wilson. It was from one of his books that the 23-letter name, Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu, was taken for the band which later became KLF.
A US police car used in the video for the group's hit Doctorin' The Tardis had 23 painted on the roof, and their final performance lasted 23 minutes. They incinerated £1million on a Scottish island on August 23, 1994.
WILLIAM Burroughs' final TV appearance was in U2's Last Night on Earth video. The letter U is the 21st in the alphabet and adding the 2 gives 23.
Sesame Street's Bert is a member of the national association of W lovers, the 23rd letter of the alphabet.
WHEN 23 or more people are in the same room there is a better than evens chance that at least two share the same birthday. Class sizes in schools are larger than 23, so more than half in Britain have two pupils with the same birthdays.
THE Latin alphabet has 23 letters. The German movie 23 explored an obsession with the number, based on a real-life story.
On average, every 23rd wave crashing to shore is twice as large as normal.
In the disaster movie Airport, the bomber has seat 23.
IN THE Beatles film Yellow Submarine, The Butterfly Stomper, who destroys all things of beauty, wears a shirt with the number 23.
WEIRD pop band Psychic TV are so obsessed with 23 that at one point they made the Guinness Book of World Records by releasing 23 albums on the 23rd day of 23 months in a row. They were influenced by the occultist Aleister Crowley who had been convinced of the power of 23.
ON July 23, 1996 the "Mysterious Eyes" of comet Hale-Bopp are first sighted.
THE earth rotates on an axis of 23 and a half degrees. Alright, that's not strictly 23, but it's near enough to be considered a numerical coincidence.
ROCK star Kurt Cobain was born in 1967 and died in 1994. Both years bizarrely add up to 23 if counted as individual digits: 1+9+6+7=23. 1+9+9+4=23.
ROMAN Emperor Julius Caesar was stabbed 23 times when he was assassinated.
THE average smoker gets through 23 cigarettes a day.
IN Oliver Stone's Nixon, Tricky Dickie's football shirt at Whittier is number 23.
TWENTY-THREE was the shirt number worn by tragic footballer Marc-Vivien Foe when he was at Manchester City. The Cameroon international died after collapsing on the pitch during a Confederations Cup semi-final last week.
IN Hollywood blockbuster Die Hard III the train derails in subway station 23.
The first song on Side A of the Beatles first album took 23 takes to record.
US Cavalry legend General Custer was promoted to the senior military rank at the age of 23. The soldier was the youngest general in the US army at the time.
IN the final assault on the Death Star in Star Wars, Luke Skywalker is in Red 5. Red 2 and Red 3 start bomb runs at 23 degrees. The cell block holding Princess Leia, right, was AA-23.