Thursday, November 13, 2003

I first read about the mystery of the number 23 in R.A. Wilson's "Cosmic Trigger." If I remember accurately, Wilson first heard of it from William S. Burroughs. The "mystery" -- if that's indeed the word for it -- is this: 23 seems to crop up again and again in cases of apparent synchronicity (i.e., an athlete whose uniform number is 23 scores 23 points on the 23rd of a given month. Or 23 cars wind up in a pile-up on 23rd Street, resulting in exactly 23 deaths. That sort of thing.)

As a reader of UFO books, I've noticed that a large number of sightings take place on the 23rd of their respective months. Maybe this is because I've been sensitized to the "23 mystery," and my subconscious brings candidate incidents to my attention when there's no statistical significance whatsoever. But after finishing Vallee's "Anatomy of a Phenomenon," I really have to wonder. Page after page describes credible sightings on the 23rd . . . one account even describes a UFO descending over a "23 highway" somewhere.

So, is the UFO phenomenon attempting to draw our attention to the number 23 for unknown (and perhaps unknowable) reasons? Or is 23 somehow integral to the UFO experience, as pi is to a circle? Beats me.

Perhaps now that I've introduced you to the "23 mystery," you'll start noticing 23 cropping up everywhere. And maybe you'll be nagged by a simple but maddening question: was the 23 phenomenon always present, unnoticed in your life, or did it somehow "activate" upon my telling you about it?