The 23 Enigma, as it is sometimes called, describes the bizarre way the number 23 seems to crop up in the most unusual and significant places. It is closely related to the Discordian Law of Fives (stating that everything is connected, in one way or another, to the number 5), since 2+3=5.

It was originally discovered by writer William S. Burroughs, who, while visiting Tangiers, met a Captain Clark who piloted a ferry to Spain. He told Burroughs that he had been piloting the same route for 23 years without ever having an accident. That same day, Clark's ferry sank, and that evening, while Burroughs was thinking about the accident, he heard a radio report about the crash of Flight 23 from New York to Miami. The pilot of the plane was also named Captain Clark... After that incident, Burroughs began keeping a scrapbook, detailing the odd synchronicity that seemed to surround the number 23. Two of the most prominent and enthusiastic chroniclers of the 23 phenomenon, Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, used some incidents from Burroughs' scrapbook and hunted down others to include in their epic "Illuminatus! Trilogy", which is probably where most people have heard of this odd little branch of numerology.

You have doubts? Come with me and let's walk...

Of course, when I first heard about this, I thought, "Oh, what a load. You could get the same results by concentrating on any number for long enough. Hell, I could do that with--oh--17!" Not long after, I discovered that 1 + 7 = 8, and 8 equals...23. Scary...