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The 23 Enigma

When one of the Grand Elders of Recycling and one of the Master Researchers of the Moccult get together, there is no doubt that surReal and penetrating theses will develop, and just as little doubt that the Ancient Ones from Beyond the Universe will pepper these theses with True Codes and Meaningless Messages.

This is precisely what happened aeons ago, back in 1966; the Grand Elder of Recycling was a certain William Seward Burroughs, and the Master Researcher into the Moccult was none other than Robert Anton Wilson.

Traditional Earth Circumstances

When these two statesmyn of Miskatonik Exploration came together, Burroughs pointed out all the mysterious events that had happened in his life, and the lives of others, had in some way involved the number 23. Wilson began to scoff, then realised that his own Law of Fives was in fact a loose re-interpretation of exactly the same discovery, in that 2 plus 3 does, under traditional Earth circumstances, nearly always equal 5.

Wilson immediately began jotting down every incidence in his own life that involved the number 23, as well as every other instance of its immense cosmik power.

He noticed it everywhere.

Noticing the 23s and Ignoring Other Numbers

There are 23 axioms that open Euclid's Geometry.

The number 23 in Telegrapher's Code means “break the line”, while, by inexplicable coincidence, Hexagram 23 in the I Ching means, “break apart”.

Both parents of a child contribute 23 chromosomes to a fertilised egg.

In a DNA coil, there are unexplained bonding irregularities in every 23rd angstrom.1

As Wilson himself says, his constant collation of miskatonik evidence “began to annoy my Beautiful Red-Headed Wife, Arlen.
'It's all in your mind', she told me on several occasions. 'You're just noticing the 23s and ignoring other numbers.'
Of course.
But she was annoyed by being implicated in the 23 mystery even before she met me. Our two oldest daughters (by her previous marriage) were born on February 23 and August 23 respectively.”2

Kill the Skeptics, and Feast on Their Eyes

Of course it was not all in his mind. Having done our own follow-up research some 30 years later, the InterwebMegalink has discovered enough evidence of our own to quash even the most doubting skeptic.

First, the year in which we first discovered the 23 Enigma?


The year in which we first realise that 2(00)3 was the year in which we first discovered the 23 Enigma?

Again, 2(00)3.

As if this wasn't enough, distortobreakbeat whizz A D MacHine related a tale from his personal life which made our 23-receptors stand on end and crack like bullwhips.


His younger brother, utterly unaware of the Enigma, specifically asked ADM to write a song for him for his 23rd birthday, a song which was to contain only the words “Twenty” and “Three”. This is at least two years ago now, well before ADM was even aware the Enigma existed. At the time, aforementioned brother was absolutely obsessed with this most Sacred of Numbers; he made a cd, 23 tracks long, on which every track he had specifically squashed or stretched to 2 minutes, 32 seconds, 323 milliseconds in duration, ie: 2:32.323.

ADM's track was to be track 23.

(This CD still exists, and will be further scrutinised for any additional occult significance it may have.)

ADM remembers being bewildered at the time, and recollects that his brother's “23” song “is still the only song primarily featuring a numeral I have ever written.”3

The Mystery of the Entertained Audience

Pig Slash Rhino, one of the newest “musical” groups to come out of the InterwebMegalinks netweb of metassociations, have, at time of writing, played 2 gigs. Both went extremely well, considering most people's aversion to extremely loud distorted bass feedback and utterly abstract noise-jazz drumming. This apparent enjoyment was a mystery to everyone involved, until a researcher pointed out the dates of both gigs: the 23rd, and the 5th.

As if we needed convincing; this was the nail in the coffin that belonged to the rotting corpse of doubt.

(Perhaps even the 23rd nail.)

And the Useless Letters are Obliterated

Furthermore, there are exactly 23 letters in the English alphabet, if you get rid of some of the less useless ones like 'c', 'q' and 'x'; something the InterWebMegaLink has actually been planning to do for quite some time.4

As you can see, there is little doubt that such a powerful Enigma exists; what we wish to research now is exactly how we can harness this energy, and to discover precisely why such a mystery works as infallibly as it does.

(Another mystery! At exactly the space after the full stop in the preceding paragraph, I was at Line 23, Column 23! Deeper and deeper we go...)

interwebmegalink entry, 13th of the 5th 2004

1 Robert Anton Wilson, “Cosmic Trigger”, And/Or Press, 1977
2 Robert Anton Wilson, “Cosmic Trigger”, And/Or Press, 1977
3 A D MacHine, personal interview, 2(00)3
4 Bendy, MacHine, et al, “Xe Langgwidge Revlucn Iz Kuming”, still in production
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