The mystery of number 23

I’ve been literally forced to write this post. My hands have been dragged to the keyboard and my mind has been controlled. Never would a person who claims to be rational, scientific and no-nonsense would write on something as unscientific as why number 23 is special. For the uninformed, there is something deeply mysterious, extremely special and wonderfully interesting about 23. The phenomenon is called as 23 Enigma.

When I first heard about it, it was yet another overhyped meme for me. But slowly, and definitely steadily, I started identifying 23 in everyday phenomenon around me. Now, not a day passes without me seeing 23 somewhere around me. And it is not just me, by showing examples, I have convinced several of my friends about this odd belief of mine.

That said, internally, I debate endlessly with myself whether what I observe is just an artifact of confirmation bias where what one observes is typically due to what one wants to observe. Soon I plan to start a journal where I would try to statistically see if observation of 23 is more frequent than what is expected by random chance.

Do you observe 23 as well? I would be really interested in listening to your story.

BTW: Would you be shocked if I predict that within next two days you are certain to observe number 23 somewhere around you ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. ..
    oh … thnx GOD that there’s some ppl crazzzy of 23 like me ..

    it’s my fav # ..
    I was born in 23rd of December .. and my fav player David Beckham used to wear 23 when he was in Real Madrid ..

    everything around relate to 23 ..
    so u r not alone .. ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Interesting coming from you. I wonder how you relate this with your previous posts on uncertainty. We sometimes look for patterns that are non-existent. I would go with the confirmation bias explanation.
    I have a similar thing for the number 8. But that’s because I have gotten heavily biased towards it over the years as I noticed a “pattern” over a long period of time.

  3. *uncertainty and success. Sorry missed that.
    Sometimes like the number “23”, successful people “are looked at more” and unfairly at that, and judged on just a few initial good performances. At the same time, some people who fail are looked up as failures even though it might just be bad luck initially (I mean sample this : I am not a fan of any Harry Potter stuff, but its success goes undisputed. Just imagine had JK Rowling given up on getting her work published after the first 9 rejects by publishers. Now that she has been successful, even an average to bad book by her would be treated with respect by all publication houses).

    The “Sighting” (of the success of somebody or even a number), might not be a pattern, most likely an outlier. That makes more sense to me.

    Your post here has a direct link with the post you wrote a while back on success.

  4. @Shubhendu, Yes I guess you are right in saying that the halo effect of one’s past successes and faliures has a strong bearing on how we percieve someone. Plus more recent the impression is, more strong the effect is. Your one success can wipe out your years of faliures, and vice versa.

    Here too, a random pattern “23” initially observed might start getting weight as the time progresses. I tend to exclusively focus on 23. As other commentators see different numbers, it could be an indication that if it wasn’t for 23, it could have been any other number. This is a typical characteristics of a choatic system, where initial randomness can have huge effects later as the system evolves.

  5. I guess I need to be more observant to identify with your post.
    Good observation though.

    From the desk of iW2K.
    ‘Get noticed.’

  6. HI…. Nice article and good blog. Seems you observe life closely. That happens to me with 13. Keep it up. Waiting for more good articles.

  7. Get this:

    Mayan calendar predicted the end of the word in 2012
    1. 20+1+2=23
    2. 20+12=32 reverse the numbers and get: 23
    3. 2+0+1+2=5

    Not too far off were they?

  8. Hmm … I saw on Google so many stories of this interesting number. I think there is nothing interesting around here. True, nothing happens accidently but when you only think about it (like me now and i’m positive that these days this number will appear in front of me everywhere) that when you only thnik about it it’s like you say ‘Come here!’ and that’s why you always see this. I think it’s only this. Our minds are powerful so this might be a reason.

  9. I love number 23…i see it everyday of my life! It’s crazy and fascinating at the same time. I know that 23 means something least to me. They say that people who see the number 23 they are kind of connected and related to it…i was born on the 23rd of April. I started seeing the number 23 8 years ago…and imagine how shocked i was when the movie “Number 23” was made. 23 is now part of my life. I can ignore it, i can’t hide form it..i don’t want to!

  10. I was born on nov. 23….my idol miley cyrus was born also on the same date…and my bestfriend was born on dec.23…
    wat’s happening…

  11. this is true observed same like u.just as a ex out of 9/10 times when luks my watch for time its showing whether 2.23,3.23 always 23in their

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