Winning ticket? Image Source: Melissa Stetten.
Tonight, the nationwide American lottery Mega Millions had a historic jackpot of $640 million. The amount prompted online discussion on the virtues of sharing: a viral tweet stated blindly that it was enough for the winner to share roughly $2 million with every other individual in the country (rather than $2): "Lotto jackpot=$640 Million. Population of the US=300 Million. Lets just give everyone 2.13 Million!" Math skills aside, some people (possibly) photoshopped their tickets with winning numbers and circulated them on Twitter. One report just out claims that the jackpot was won in Maryland and there are a few winners in other states. May fortune as well as good fortune go to the winners.
They might need a little extra luck. The winning numbers are: 2, 4, 23, 38, 46 and a bonus number of 23. When people have been talking about this all week, and lining up to buy tickets, it is easy to see in recession-plagued America how this lottery would capture the imagination, and how the winning numbers would take on special significance. On the Internet, a conspiracy theory began circulating within an hour of the numbers being announced at 11 pm Eastern time in the United States. The repetition of the number 23 in the winning numbers is taken by some to be a sign that the Illuminati are secretly running the lotto. You can see some wild theories about Illuminati and the number 23, here and here. I don't like conspiracy theories, but this one is undoubtedly a sign of the times.
On Twitter, Dhdapostman tweeted: "they had 23 twice and 46…thats basically havin 23 4 times lol." Yes, and if you include the 640 in the jackpot number, you get two 23s reversed. That is six 23s, or four 23s, with two backwards 23s. And 6 is, of course, 2 x 3. That would bring the count to seven 23s.
The numerological significance of the number is known as the 23 Enigma. The 23 Enigma is a Fortean mythology which suggests that most numbers associated with significant events in history contain the number 23 in their Gregorian calendar dates. In this mythos, 23 is considered an extremely unlucky number. It is a number associated with disaster, death and discord - and the demise of powerful people and the collapse of societies. Wiki:
The term "23 skidoo" was popularized in the early 1920s and means "it's time to leave while the getting is good." It appeared in newspapers as early as 1906. The Principia Discordia states that "All things happen in fives, or are divisible by or are multiples of five, or are somehow directly or indirectly appropriate to 5"—this is referred to as the Law of Fives. The 23 Enigma is regarded as a corollary of this law. It can be seen in Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea's The Illuminatus! Trilogy (therein called the "23/17 phenomenon"), Wilson's Cosmic Trigger I: The Final Secret of the Illuminati (therein called "The Law of fives" and "The 23 Enigma"), Arthur Koestler's Challenge of Chance, as well as the Principia Discordia. In these works, 23 is considered lucky, unlucky, sinister, strange, or sacred to the goddess Eris or to the unholy gods of the Cthulhu Mythos. As with most numerological claims, the enigma can be viewed as an example of apophenia, selection bias, and confirmation bias.
Incidentally, astronomers added a newly-discovered tenth planet to our solar system and named after the Greek Goddess of Discord, Eris, in 2005.
In 2007, New Line Cinema came out with a disturbing horror film about this phenomenon, entitled The Number 23, directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Jim Carrey and Virginia Madsen. In a Jungian coincidence, it was on three nights ago on the television, so I saw it for the second time since it came out. The opening to the film, which presents examples of the 23 phenomenon throughout history, is taken by Youtubers to be a sign of the Illuminati presence and machinations in the entertainment industry.
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