I have been stirring a whole kettle of paranormal stew in my head. It involves, among other things, UFOs and a simulated universe. First, I need to look at the "23 Enigma."
This is a belief in numerology that most incidents and events can be connected one way or another to the number 23. Loathe as I am to do this, I will link to the Wikipedia entry on said belief as I can't seem to find a good quality source on the subject. At least not in my opinion. Anyway, a few examples I have found just from pop culture:
Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper all died in a plane crash on February 3rd. Or 2/3.
Johnny Carson and William Shakespeare both were born and died on the 23rd day of a month.
Kurt Cobain died in 1994 (1+9+9+4=23).
All in all those are indeed rather weak examples. This is probably a classic example of "if you look for it, you will find it" or just shoehorning 23 into any phenomena. I realize that, but I can't help but be intrigued. My further interest mainly stems from Robert Anton Wilson citing none other than William Burroughs in Fortean Times as "patient zero" for this particular theory of the paranormal:
"I first heard of the 23 enigma from William S Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch, Nova Express, etc. According to Burroughs, he had known a certain Captain Clark, around 1960 in Tangier, who once bragged that he had been sailing 23 years without an accident. That very day, Clark’s ship had an accident that killed him and everybody else aboard. Furthermore, while Burroughs was thinking about this crude example of the irony of the gods that evening, a bulletin on the radio announced the crash of an airliner in Florida, USA. The pilot was another captain Clark and the flight was Flight 23."
Burroughs then went on to compile numerous instances of 23 occurrences.
If there is anything at all to this...and I realize that there probably isn't...I'm pondering what it could mean. Poking around has led me to the notion of a simulated universe. Yes, that we "live inside the Matrix" for a very pop culture-y way of explaining it. Our reality is, in truth, a computer simulation. Last month, Coast to Coast AM had a guest on the show that spoke about this speculation. A man named Jim Elvidge, a "researcher and engineer," argued for the idea of us living in a digital simulation: "If we are in a digital world, it opens up all kinds of possibilities on how information gets sent back and forth," he posited, "and it explains an awful lot of things."
So matter is just data, force is the software coding by which the data interacts, and people interact with the data via which we term "consciousness." While bereft of solid evidence, it's a rather elegant theory. It accounts for so much stupid stuff. I'm talking about the things that by all logic should not be but there they are. The things we shrug our shoulders at and say, "that's just how it is." As Elvidge furthers, those people who catch glimpses of the simulation's source code are what we call "psychics." This could actually go a long way towards that Grand Unified Theory of the Paranormal I've previously discussed.
I can't remember which of the awful sequels it was in, but one of the Matrix movies actually mentioned this concept. A character, I can't remember which one, said that UFOs and other cases of the paranormal are glitches in the source code. The simulation system tries to correct itself and patch over what is wrong and something outlandish is what we end up with. Of all the tendered explanations for truly unexplained phenomena, this one actually isn't too bad. It would explain really oddball UFO cases like the Kinnula Humanoid and the like, the ones I get a special charge out of because they appear to have been lifted straight out of a pulp.
Nick Redfern had a great post about "The Absurdities of Cryptozoology." In it, he examines just how many areas said to be lurking with cryptids (e.g. Loch Ness, the Pacific Northwest) are crowded with tangential but every bit as weird sightings. All of this weirdness is so absurd that it would seem to indicate it is not of the physical and therefore difficult to study through science. The true nature of it all might be better found through a study of the supernatural.
Then again, it could be due to the simulated universe theory. A simulated "matrix" explanation would also go a long way towards explaining why UFOs and their apparent occupants seem so bent on wanting to be observed. It's because they serve a purpose...or they are a "mistake."
The 23 Enigma might be something similar. It's an artifact or a signature in the coding of our simulation. While I'm not exactly beamish about all this, it does provide a possibility that is simultaneously ingenious, exciting, and greatly unsettling.
Yes, I know there is a film called The Number 23 and I need to see it. Will post a review once I have.
Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets