The law of large numbers

Probability

Humans are good at attributing a cause but bad at guessing the likelihood of an event. A psychologist named Daniel Kahneman came up with an example. It is about a study of the incidence of kidney cancer in the 3,141 counties of the United States. The research revealed a remarkable pattern. The incidence of kidney cancer was the lowest in mostly rural, sparsely populated counties in traditionally Republican states in the Midwest, the South, and the West.1 So what do you make of that?

You probably came up with a few reasons why kidney cancer is less likely to occur in these counties, such as a healthy rural lifestyle or low pollution levels. But you probably didn’t think of randomness. Consider then the counties in which the incidence of kidney cancer is the highest. These counties were also mostly rural, sparsely populated, and located in traditionally Republican states in the Midwest, the South, and the West.1

The apparent contradiction can be explained by the fact that those counties all had small populations. And with smaller populations greater deviations from the average can be expected. Our intuition easily makes connections of causality but our reason doesn’t come into action to check whether or not it could just be randomness. We are inclined to think that some cause makes unusual things happen while these could just be random events.

In the summer of 1913 the ball fell on a black number twenty-six times in a row at the roulette wheel at the Casino de Monte-Carlo. Some people lost a fortune by betting that the ball would fall on a red number the next time. They didn’t realise that the chance of the ball falling on a red number never changed. The ball doesn’t remember where it fell the previous times. If we represent black with a B and red with an R, and assume for simplicity’s sake that there is no zero, it is possible to represent falling twenty-six times in a black number like this:

B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B

The probability of the next twenty-six numbers being black is one in 67,108,864. That’s a long shot. What might surprise you is that the following combination of black and red numbers is exactly as likely to occur:

R B B R B R R B R B B R R B R R B R B B R R B B R B

You wouldn’t be thrilled if that happened unless you became a millionaire by betting on this particular sequence of twenty-six. And even then you didn’t think of the 67,108,863 sequences that didn’t materialise. We tend to consider only the things that did happen, but we rarely think of all the things that could have happened but didn’t. That might explain why events like the ball falling on a black number twenty-six times in a row impress us. And I am even more impressed because twenty-six happens to be my lucky number.

Try to imagine all what could have happened but didn’t happen. Imagine the probability of you sitting here and now reading this page, but as a prediction from 3,600 years ago. Imagine Joseph telling the Pharaoh: “I see (your name comes here) reading a pile of papyrus pages, not real papyrus pages, but images of papyrus pages appearing on something that looks like a clay tablet. It is named The Plan For The Future. But don’t be afraid, dear Pharaoh, for it will happen 3,600 years from now. But if we don’t set up this grain storage, it won’t happen at all, so we must do it. And by the way, Egypt will starve if we don’t.”

The odds for this prediction to come true weren’t one in 67,108,864, and also not one in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 either. Even if you add considerably more zeroes to that number, the odds still remain far smaller. The probability is so close to zero that nobody can tell. Nevertheless you are sitting here reading this text. So how could this happen? The answer to this mystery is that so many things could have happened but didn’t happen, but something had to happen, and that’s what happened. It would have been impossible for Joseph to make this prediction unless the future is predetermined.

The licence plate on Franz Ferdinand’s car

So what to make of the reference to the end date of World War I on the licence plate number on Franz Ferdinand’s car? Franz Ferdinand was killed in his car and the assassination triggered the war. Some chance event helped the perpetrator. Franz Ferdinand’s chauffeur took the wrong turn after three conspirators had already failed. This gave him the opportunity to strike. He was hindered by the crowd surrounding him so he couldn’t aim very well. Nevertheless he managed to kill both the archduke and his wife with just two shots. This sequence of events was already remarkable.

The licence plate number makes it even more inconceivable. It might be possible to guess the end date of World War I by chance if you know when it starts. If you assume that the war wouldn’t take longer than twenty years, a random guess of the end date would be right one in 7,305 times. But something doesn’t add up here. The assassination succeeded after a series of mishaps, so if it were a prediction that accidentally turned out right, it would also imply a prediction of the assassination succeeding, Franz Ferdinand being killed in this car, and it being the trigger for the first world war.

That’s hard to do. And so Mike Dash in the Smithsonian noted: “This coincidence is so incredible that I initially suspected that it might be a hoax.”2 And because it isn’t a hoax, investigative minds should have probed other options. Conspiracy theorists didn’t take notice either, even though this incident fits into their schemes.

There is a story about a Freemason named Alfred Pike, who allegedly disclosed a secretive plan to bring about the New World Order and predicted both world wars with uncanny precision already in 1871. Alas, nobody ever heard of this plan before 1959. It is hoax. In the Netherlands they call it a monkey sandwich story. The licence plate number could have added some credibility to it. But then again, the truth is overrated. It matters more what people believe.

Seeing meaning when there isn’t any

“Everything is just random,” some pundits are eager to explain, “but because your mind is wired to see meaning, you see meaning. AIII 118 is just a random sequence of characters, but you attached meaning to it.” This book might be a random sequence of characters too, and yet you think it isn’t. Others might argue: “The language of Austria is German. Armistice in German is Waffenstillstand, so why doesn’t it read WIII 118, or even better, W 11 11 1918?”

If someone gives you a message, you don’t quibble about such details. If I say “hello” to you, you are not going to discuss with me why I didn’t say “hi” instead, unless you are a philosopher with a lot of time on your hands. Great Britain, the United States and France, which were all major participants in the war. These countries use the word armistice. It might be better to ask yourself how many sequences of characters with a length of six to eight are possible, and how many of them could refer to date of the armistice ending the war? That’s only a small portion for sure.

The law of small numbers

Everything is random and weird coincidences happen by chance. This is the law of large numbers. Pundits use the birthday problem to demonstrate that weird coincidences happen more often than we think. If you happen to share a birthday with another person in a small group, it might strike you as odd, but the chance of someone sharing a birthday with another person is already 50% in a group of 23. What they don’t tell you, is that the chance of you being one of those persons is a lot smaller. Weird coincidences are likely to happen, but less likely to happen to you. So if they happen to you all the time, it would be hard to explain as mere randomness.

And the law of large numbers may not apply to the licence plate number on Franz Ferdinand’s car. It applies to large numbers. How many historic events are out there that equal the importance of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Armistice of 11 November 1918 or D-Day? The answer probably is: “Not many.” It is less likely that meaningful coincidences happen to such major historic events. To make it even harder to believe, the licence plate number coincidence not only implies a prediction of the end date of the war, but also the success of the assassination attempt, and this event being the trigger for the war.

Only a few historic events equal the importance of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and the end of World War I. Perhaps this is just randomness like the incidence of kidney cancer varying wildly in small population samples. There are only a few historic events of similar importance. But D-Day is one of those few events, and the scheme surrounding D-Day is even more puzzling. This is a like four people out of a population of six suffering from kidney cancer and this population being the royal family of the country. Perhaps this is just randomness, but an experienced physician would consider that it runs in the family.

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was predicted. The coincidences surrounding the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 are truly dumbfounding. So if you are God, and you want your minions to notice, then what are your options? Framing the question like this makes the answer appear obvious. Indeed, there are countless other options, but asking why this particular path is chosen is as meaningless as asking why I said “hello” instead of “hi”. If you took a certain course of action to a certain aim, there are countless others you didn’t take. So if God wants us to take notice, we live in interesting times.

1. Thinking, Fast and Slow. Daniel Kahneman (2011). Penguin Books.
2. Curses! Archduke Franz Ferdinand and His Astounding Death Car. Mike Dash (2013). Smithsonian. [link]

Church tower in pond

Psychics, mediums, and premonition

Our intuition processes more information than we realise. Sometimes this seems like magic. For example, when you drive your car, you may suddenly discover that you travelled a long distance without being aware of it. This is more likely to happen when you are a frequent driver. Research has demonstrated that many abilities can be trained to the point that they become a subconscious process. An important domain of our intuition is social information. Most humans intuitively read body language and facial expressions and adapt their actions to the clues other people give while not being aware of it. It may be that mediums are so good at asking the right questions to influence people’s minds and reading people’s body language and facial expressions that they appear psychic.

A medium named Char appeared regularly on Dutch television between 2002 and 2010. She did readings and claimed to contact the dead. Sometimes she appeared to retrieve specific information that only the person receiving the reading and the deceased person could have known. In 2008 journalists from the Dutch television programme Zembla investigated her performances. People wanted to hear that their deceased loved ones were doing fine, and guess what, they were always doing fine up there somewhere.

Zembla claimed that the best parts of the readings were shown so that her performance on television appeared better than it was in reality. Char was often wrong but many of these situations weren’t aired. Also James Randi weighed in. Randi is sceptical of paranormal claims. He argued that much of the information she retrieved was extracted from the people receiving the reading. It was Zembla’s intent to expose Char as a fraud so it wasn’t fair journalism. The episode of Zembla is on YouTube. It is in Dutch with some parts in English.

Now it happens to be that the name Char equals the first four characters of the word charlatan. Notice the word characters in the previous sentence because this word starts with the same four characters. Interestingly, I am discussing Char’s character, so this is indeed a funny coincidence. Yet, I still remember quite a few guesses she made that defy conventional explanation, and left the people receiving the reading dumbfounded. It seemed impossible to extract this information from the persons receiving the reading. Zembla didn’t address these cases. If these had been incidents of fraud, for example, if there had been actors involved in the programme, Zembla would have mentioned it.

So what to think of these unexplained cases? Can mediums sometimes make better guesses than chance allows for? If we assume this universe to be a simulation running a script then it must be possible. A so-called gift can just be a sequence of coincidences that aren’t really coincidences because of the script. And this can make a medium believe that he or she has a gift. An incident in my life showed how a premonition can come true. It can’t be explained in a conventional way. On 9 February 2009 Western Europe was hit by a heavy storm of the kind that happens only once in a decade or so. I predicted such a storm on this exact date two months earlier. Only I feared that it would strike the Netherlands while it ended up in Northern France, a miss of 400 kilometres (250 miles). But that is still remarkable and beyond mere chance.

I made the prediction on 19 December 2008 on an internet message board:
https://www.maroc.nl/forums/het-nieuws-van-de-dag/260485-9-februari-2009-de-duistere-zijde-de-maan-1-print.html

It is in Dutch so I made a translation that can be found here:
http://www.naturalmoney.org/feb9darkside.html

On 9 February 2009 the Airport of Paris had to be closed because of the storm:
https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2009/feb/09/paris-airports-closure

How the prediction came to be is a peculiar story. In the autumn of 2008 I had a psychosis in which it appeared that God is a lady I once met on the campus of the University of Twente. What happened could highlight how mediums can sometimes make predictions that defy conventional explanation. Somehow I did get a hunch that a super storm might strike the Netherlands on 9 February 2009 and that large parts of the Netherlands would be flooded. The hunch was triggered by an article on an alternative news website about a programme called the webbot that allegedly had made accurate predictions in the past. In the autumn of 2008 the webbot predicted that in the first half of 2009 large areas of land would be permanently flooded. The article did not mention any specifics about the location but the word ‘permanently’ suggests that the area is below sea level. That narrowed it down to the Netherlands.

The date of 9 February came up as I believed it to be the birthday of the lady who appeared to be God during the psychosis. After the hunch materialised, more so-called clues came in confirming the suggestion. For instance, a blogger on the website Sargasso.nl had written on 2 September 2008 (2/9) about a storm that would strike the Netherlands on 9 February 2009 (9/2) and that large parts of the Netherlands would be flooded. The numerical coincidence of the dates was also a bit peculiar, and that scared me. A flooding of the Netherlands would put millions of lives in danger. This is the link to the article in Dutch (you might need Google translate to read it):
http://sargasso.nl/wat-als-het-toch-fout-gaat/

The article features some cool graphics showing parts of the Netherlands being flooded on 9 February 2009. It was intended as a what if scenario, not as a prediction, but as I already suspected that an epic storm would hit the Netherlands on this specific date, I saw this as an eerie warning sign. And I didn’t come across the website or the information before I had the premonition. I found it as a result of looking for clues confirming my suspicion.

On 13 December 2008 my son Rob and I went to Enschede and we visited the campus of the University of Twente were I lived as a student and where I had met the lady. Rob didn’t know of my premonition because I hadn’t discussed it with him. On the campus was a work of art, a church tower in a pond that refers to flooded land (see featured image). It was evening and it was dark. The moon was shining. There was a thin layer of ice on the pond. Suddenly Rob told me that he saw the coastline of the Netherlands reflected in the moonlight on the ice surface. I couldn’t see this at first but Rob kept on pointing at the ice until I saw the coastline too. The Dutch coastline has a shape that is unlikely to be mimicked by some random accident.

Lage Landen album cover
Album cover of Lage Landen of Boudewijn de Groot

This freaked me out as the church tower in the pond refers to flooded land while the storm could threaten the coastline of the Netherlands. There would be a lunar eclipse on 9 February 2009. That was an eerie coincidence. There were a few more coincidences that pushed me into making the prediction. For instance, there is an album from Boudewijn de Groot named Lage Landen (Low Countries). The 11th track named Lage Landen is about a super storm hitting the Netherlands. The song suggests that the storm will hit on a Monday while 9 February 2009 was a Monday. Monday is the day dedicated to the Moon (Moon-day). This is another peculiar coincidence because of the lunar eclipse and the coastline of the Netherlands being reflected in the moonlight.

There is some interesting numerology in it. The song being the 11th track lasting 5:55 minutes is a peculiar coincidence (see picture). The date 9 February 2009 refers to 11:11. The date 9 February 2009 can be rewritten as 9-2-2009 while 9 + 2 = 11 and 2 + 0 + 0 + 9 = 11. Many people see 11:11 on clocks and I did too. When I first came to the campus during the introduction weeks, I stayed at Calslaan 9-2. This was the most notorious residence hall on the campus by far. The combination of this address being a reference to 9 February, it being the most notorious residence hall, the campus being the place where I met the lady who appears to be God, and her birthday being 9 February, makes this coincidence remarkable.

I issued the warning a few days later on 18 December 2008 even though it seemed nearly certain that it would be ignored. Normally I don’t have predictive powers but this prediction was far more accurate than chance allows for. As a prediction it was pretty useless nonetheless. Luckily I wasn’t taken seriously. Imagine that people had been evacuated because of this. That is why I don’t venture into making more predictions. At least the incident sheds some light on why mediums can be more accurate than chance allows for, while they make many misses at the same time.

Featured image: Church tower in pond on the campus of the University of Twente. Source Unknown. [copyright]

Toujours pas d'attentats en France. Charlie Hebdo

Aftermath of the 11 September terror attacks

The above cartoon from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo’s new year’s edition of 2015 eerily foreshadows the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo that was to happen a few days later. Most of the editors were killed. Stéphane Charbonnier, the editorial director, drew a cartoon pointing at the possibility of a terrorist attack in January 2015. In English, the title reads: “No attacks yet in France.” The man then says “Wait! We have until the end of January to send you New Year wishes.”1

Pim Fortuyn and Theo Van Gogh assassinations

There are 911 days between two recent political killings in the Netherlands. This is remarkable as both incidents are related to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks. On 6 May 2002 the Dutch populist politician Pim Fortuyn was assassinated by a left-wing extremist. Fortuyn gained momentum after the attacks of 11 September 2001 because of his stance against Islam and immigration.2

On 2 November 2004 the Dutch film producer Theo Van Gogh was killed by an Islamic fanatic for insulting the prophet Muhammad. The last film Van Gogh completed before his death, 06/05, was about the assassination of Pim Fortuyn.3 The date 2 November can be rewritten as 11/2 (American notation), while 112 is the European emergency telephone number. This is remarkable in combination with the 911 days between both assassinations.

On 2 November 2011, the French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo was attacked in Paris, shortly after the prophet Mohammed featured on its cover.4 This date being the same as the date of the assassination of Theo Van Gogh made the Dutch website Geenstijl.nl declare 2 November to be the most humourless day in the history of Islam.5

On the same day photographs of Umar Patek and his wife appeared in the news. The mastermind behind the attacks in Bali in 2002 posed with his wife for the camera during a reconstruction of his actions in Jakarta.6 The other perpetrators of the Bali bombings had already been executed on 9 November 2008.7 The date 9 November can be rewritten to 9/11 (European notation).

Madrid train bombings of 2004

On 11 March 2004 the Madrid train bombings took place. It was the largest terrorist attack after 11 September 2001. There were 912 calendar days between 11 September 2001 and 11 March 2004. Due to the different time zones Spain and the United States are in, the number of full days between the events was 911. In the Madrid train bombings 191 people were killed,8 a number that has the same digits as 911.

7 July 2005 London suicide bombings

The number seven appears to be behind the London suicide bombings of 7 July 2005. 7 July can be rewritten as 7/7, while the numbers of 2005 added up make 7, making three sevens or 7-7-7. The number of people killed, including the four suicide bombers was 56,9 also a multiple of seven. Two weeks later (which is 2 times 7 days) on 21 July 2005, another attack on London was staged,10 while 21 is three times seven or three sevens.

During the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 343 FNDY personnel were killed while 7 x 7 x 7 = 343.11 On 11 September 2001 the North American Aerospace Defense Command was conducting a military exercise named Global Guardian. One of the scenarios being simulated was a hijacking of planes.12 The London Police completed a terror training exercise which envisaged an attack on London’s transport network just days before the 7/7 terrorist attacks.13

Benghazi attack and China riots

On 11 September 2012, exactly 11 years after 11 September 2001, the US consulate in Benghazi was attacked. The ambassador and three others were killed. After the attacks riots broke out in a number of Islamic countries and angry people violated a number of Western embassies.14

On that day President Barack Obama was exactly 18,666 days old while 18 = 6 + 6 + 6. He was born on 4 August 1961. It just happens to be that 4 August is the 216th day of the year while 216 = 6 * 6 * 6. This is curious as many people considered President Obama to be the Antichrist.15 In this respect it is also remarkable that Satan’s character in History Channel’s Bible series resembled President Obama.16

Also on 11 September 2012, a territorial dispute between China and Japan over a group of islands in the East China Sea intensified. Anti-Japanese riots broke out in China and protesters gathered outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing.17 Japan’s ambassador-designate to China then fell ill and died in a Tokyo hospital a few days later.18

The coincidence is peculiar for a few reasons. It was 11 years after 11 September 2001 so this is an 11:11 related coincidence as 9 + 1 + 1 = 11. In both incidents there was violence near embassies. And in both instances an ambassador died. The relation with Obama 666 is also remarkable as he was born on the 216th day of the year. But that’s not all what happened on that day.

The Hague and Eindhoven public transport accidents

On 11 September 2012 a collision of trams 9 and 11 near the Hollands Spoor Station in The Hague in the Netherlands caused 36 people to be wounded.19 A few days before 11 September 2012, a report came into the news that Al-Qaeda had recruited two Somali men to carry out a suicide attack in The Hague.20

Also on 11 September 2012, a major bus accident took place in Eindhoven, causing 27 wounded,21 while 27 = 9 + 9 + 9 and 999 is the emergency telephone number in Great Britain and Ireland. The bus accident in Eindhoven happened 11 years after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, while two emergency landings happened in one day on Eindhoven Airport on 11 September 2010, exactly 9 years after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001,22 producing a 9:11 related coincidence. As 36 = 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 and 27 = 9 + 9 + 9, the numbers of wounded people in both accidents are also interesting.

Some other tidbits

Exactly ten years after the attacks, on 11 September 2011, a blogger using undisclosed sources noted that the estimated death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan amounted to 911,911. An interesting number, he added.23

On 8 August 2012, about 100 firemen responded to what the FDNY called an equipment fire likely sparked by welding on the 88th floor of 1 World Trade Center that was being built.24 The date, 8 August (8/8), and 88th floor make an 11:11 related coincidence. It is also related to the World Trade Center and emergency services.

On 11 September 2015, a powerful storm toppled a construction crane at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam’s holiest site, killing 111 people. It is remarkable that the crane fell over on 11 September and that it was operated by the Saudi Binladin Group, founded by the father of Osama Bin Laden, while most hijackers of the 11 September 2001 attacks came from Saudi Arabia. An engineer for the Binladin Group said the accident was an act of God.25

The 22 March 2016 Brussels bombings consisted of two attacks. The first bombing targeted the desk of American Airlines on the Brussels’ airport. American Airlines was one of the airlines used for the attacks of 11 September 2001. The second bombing was exactly at 9:11 AM.26 The perpetrators probably did not plan this as the bombings have been executed hastily after the Belgian police caught the mastermind of the Paris terrorist attacks a few days earlier.

Featured image: Toujours pas d’attentats en France. Stéphane Charbonnier. Charlie Hebdo (2015). [Copyright]

1. Murdered French Cartoonist Charb Predicted Attack In Chilling Cartoon. Huffington Post Canada (2015). [link]
2. Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn assassinated. The Guardian (2002). [link]
3. Life of slain Dutch film-maker. BBC (2004). [link]
4. French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo attacked in Paris. BBC (2011). [link]
5. Tijdschrift Charlie Hebdo vangt Moslim-molotov. Van Rossem. Geenstijl (2011). [link]
6. The bomber and his bride: Chilling smile of Al Qaeda mastermind behind Bali bombings as he is paraded with his wife. Wil Longbottom. Mail Online (2011). [link]
7. 2002 Bali bombings. Wikipedia. [link]
8. 2004 Madrid train bombings. Wikipedia. [link]
9. 7 July 2005 London bombings. Wikipedia. [link]
10. 21 July 2005 London bombings. Wikipedia. [link]
11. September 11 attacks. Wikipedia. [link]
12. Global Guardian. Wikipedia. [link]
13. Counter-terrorist training exercise days before 7/7 was ‘entirely a coincidence’. Mail Online (2011). [link]
14. 2012 Benghazi attack. Wikipedia. [link]
15. Poll: 13% think Obama is the anti-Christ; 29% believe in aliens. Ruth Brown. USA Today (2013). [link]
16. ‘The Bible’ producers: Satan/Obama? ‘Utter nonsense’. Ann Oldenburg. USA Today (2013). [link]
17. Senkaku islands dispute escalates as China sends out patrol ships. Associated Press (2012). [link]
18. Japan’s ambassador-designate to China dies in Tokyo – ministry. Reuters (2012). [link]
19. Tientallen gewonden door aanrijding trams in Den Haag. Nu.nl (2012). [link]
20. ‘Den Haag doelwit van al-Qaeda’. Nu.nl (2012). [link]
21. Gewonden door aanrijding passagiersbus in Eindhoven. Nu.nl (2012). [link]
22. Twee noodlandingen in korte tijd op Eindhoven Airport. Ronald. Travel.blog.nl (2010). [link]
23. Humbug. Dan Dailey. Wandervogel Diary (2011). [link]
24. FDNY Responds to Fire Report at WTC. Katherine Creag. NBC New York (2012). [link]
25. Mecca crane collapse. Wikipedia. [link]
26. Strikes Claimed by ISIS Shut Brussels and Shake European Security. Alissa J. Rubin, Aurelien Breeden and Anita Raghavan. New York Times (2016). [link]

World Trade Center on 11 September 2001

11 September coincidences

An obscure fact

The terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 were the first major geopolitical event in the age of Internet. Internet made it possible for conspiracy theories to spread more easily. And 9/11 proved to be a real treasure trove if you have a suspicious mind. Nowadays 9/11 conspiracy theories are a bit outdated like those on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Most people moved on and crazier theories emerged. That obscured a remarkable fact. No other event in history has ever been riddled with so many peculiar coincidences.

The perpetrators were either Illuminati, Jews or Freemasons, at least that was conspiracy theorists want us to believe. But perhaps they simply weren’t paranoid enough. Osama Bin Laden thought he was executing the will of God. And he probably was right. What may strike you about these coincidences is that many of them could have happened accidentally but that the combination of these incidents might be too improbable to be just coincidence.

The Berlin Wall fell on 9 November 1989. Hence, the hallmark events of the end of communism and the war on terror were on 11/9 and 9/11 (American notation). This is significant as the cold war as well as the war on terror were amongst the most important geopolitical developments after World War II. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was already predicted ten years earlier. That may not be a coincidence either.

Emergency

The US emergency services telephone number is 911 while the date 11 September is more commonly known as 9/11. The emergency services played a major role on this day. Starting with 11 September, the remainder of the year lasts 112 days. And 112 is the emergency telephone number of the European Union.

On 11 September 2002, exactly one year after the 9/11 attacks, the winning numbers drawn in the New York State Lottery were 9-1-1.1 Because there were two such draws, the odds of randomly drawing these numbers was around one in 500.

The total number of FDNY personnel killed was 343,2 which is 7 x 7 x 7. On 7 July 2005 (7/7/7 considering that 2+0+0+5=7), the terrorist attacks in London took place.

The flight number that has seen the most accidents is 191. Five planes with that flight number have crashed. The best known accident of this series is the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 on 25 May 1979.3 The digits of 191 are the same as those of 911. This made the author of an article on this issue refrain from using JetBlue Flight 191. Five years later JetBlue Flight 191 had to make an emergency landing.

Popular culture

In popular culture references to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center appeared before they happened. This is not as remarkable as it may seem. The destruction of the World Trade Center was a common theme in popular culture as the building was an iconic symbol representing Capitalism. Terrorists already attacked the World Trade Center in 1993. Despite that, some of these references are quite spooky.

What is Al-Qaeda?
What is Al-Qaeda? Vice Magazine (1994).

A Vice Magazine article from 1994 shows Beavis & Butthead dressed as Al Qaeda operatives flying two planes near the Twin Towers.4

Close up of Neo's passport in The Matrix
Neo’s passport in The Matrix. Warner Bros (1999).

There is a reference to the date 11 September 2001 in the 1999 film The Matrix. About 17 minutes into the film, a file folder is shown containing an image of the passport of the main character Neo. The expiry date of the passport is 11 September 2001.5 This is remarkable because the coincidences surrounding the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 demonstrate that this universe could be a virtual reality like The Matrix.

The 2000 computer game Deus Ex had the Twin Towers missing in the New York skyline because of memory constraints. In the game’s fiction the towers were destroyed by terrorists. An interesting coincidence is the name of the game referencing to God coming out of nowhere to interfere with the plot (Deus Ex Magina). The initials of the main character are JC, the same as Jesus Christ. Somewhere in the game, JC wakes up in a secret mansion of the Illuminati. If JC chooses the right options, he will discover the code to a blast door. Behind it is an artificial intelligence called Morpheus.6

In July 2001 the band I Am the World Trade Center released the album Out of the Loop. The 11th track on their album is titled September.7 That makes an advance reference to 11 September combined with World Trade Center in 2001.

Cover for Party Music. The Coup.
Cover for Party Music. The Coup (2001).

The rap duo The Coup had put out an advance graphic of their late 2001 album Party Music months before 9/11. It depicted explosions in the Twin Towers near the points hit by the planes. The detonation device held by MC Boots Riley is labelled Covert Labs. Pam the Funkstress was holding conductor’s batons.5

Cover for Live Scenes from New York
Cover for Live Scenes from New York. Dream Theater (2001).

The album Live Scenes From New York from the rock group Dream Theater was released on 11 September 2001. The album cover shows a burning Big Apple with the city of New York in the background.4 Issuing an album named Live Scenes From New York featuring a burning apple representing New York on 11 September 2001 is an eerie coincidence.

simpsons911
The Simpsons. 20th Century Fox (1997).

An 1997 episode of The Simpsons about a trip to New York showed a guidebook with the number nine, followed by the Twin Towers, making a reference to 9/11.4

In March 2001 Fox TV network in the United States aired a pilot episode of The Lone Gunmen about a plan by rogue elements in the United States government to hijack a jet aircraft by remote control and crash it into the World Trade Center in order to justify an increase on military spending and a war on terror.5

Trade Center Defender
Trade Center Defender (2001).

Early 2001 the simulator game Trade Center Defender came out. Players had to gun down planes that were heading towards the Twin Towers.4

Predictions

Linda and Terry Jamison, known as The Psychic Twins predicted in 1999 that there would be terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and federal buildings in South Carolina or Georgia in 2002.8 The prediction itself was of dubious quality but it was made on 2 November (11/2 American notation) while 112 is the European emergency services telephone number. It is also remarkable that Linda and Terry Jamison were identical twins as the Twin Towers were identical too.

The BBC was more accurate by predicting the destruction of the Twin Towers as well as building seven, even though the BBC never intended to make these predictions. A BBC Scotland article from 5 April 2001 was headlined ‘Twin towers to be demolished’. The twin towers referred to the two chimneys at Kincardine Power Station, but the choice of words is remarkable to say the least.5

On 11 September 2001 a British television reporter for BBC reported that World Trade Center building seven had collapsed. His words were accompanied by subtitles. Building seven was still standing and it collapsed 26 minutes after the reported news.9 The BBC ‘predicted’ both the collapse of building 7 and the destruction of the Twin Towers, which makes a pair of closely related peculiar coincidences.

New World Order

On 11 September 1990, exactly 11 years before 11 September 2001, President George Bush Sr. held a speech that is remarkable for a few reasons. An important theme was Saddam Hussein as the first Gulf War was about to begin.9 The attacks of 11 September 2001 have been used to start the Second Gulf War against Iraq against Saddam Hussein by another President named George Bush.

George Bush Sr. stated that the developments presented an opportunity for a New World Order of cooperation between nations to emerge.10 One year later, on 11 September 1991, he made similar statements. These dates both being 11 September is remarkable as is the recurring conflict between Saddam Hussein and two Presidents named George Bush. It is another pair of closely related peculiar coincidences.

In September 2000 a group of neoconservatives published a study named Rebuilding America’s Defences. It stated that it would be difficult to rebuild the military unless some catastrophic event like a new Pearl Harbor would occur.11

A few months before 11 September 2001, the plans for a secret operation named Operation Northwoods were declassified. These plans were drafted by America’s top military leaders in the early 1960s. They included hijacking planes and orchestrating violent terrorism inside U.S. cities to provoke a war with Cuba.12

On 11 September 2001 the North American Aerospace Defense Command was conducting a military exercise named Global Guardian. One of the scenarios being simulated was a hijacking of planes.13

On 11 September 2001 the official Bin Ladin family’s website domain http://www.saudi-binladin-group.com expired.14 On the same day a defence contractor, the Carlyle Group, was hosting a business conference in Washington DC. One of Osama Bin Laden’s brothers was an honoured guest. The Bush and Bin Laden families were both involved in the Carlyle Group. Members of the Bin Laden family were secretly flown out of the United States shortly after the attacks when air travel was still shut down.15

Numerology, 11 and 11:11

Bloggers on the Internet noticed coincidences surrounding the attacks of 11 September 2001 that they believed to be spooky. A number of places, items, and persons had names consisting of eleven letters. Emails have circulated, urging us to be scared because Afghanistan and George W. Bush have eleven letters like some other words that can be linked to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. These things are really cool if you’re a numerologist, otherwise you may find it nonsense.

The US emergency telephone number 911 can be compressed to 11 as 9 + 1 + 1 = 11. The European emergency telephone number is 112 is also intriguing. First 112 = 56 + 56, which can been seen as a reference to 11:11 as 5 + 6 = 11. Furthermore,  2 = 1 + 1. So 112 can be seen as a reference to 11:11 in this way too. Also 112 + 911 = 1023, which is 1111111111 binary. Many countries have emergency telephone number 999 and 112 + 999 = 1111.

Two out of three flights hitting their target on 11 September 2001 were from American Airlines.16 American Airlines uses the characters AA for its flight codes. When the characters of the flight codes are transformed to digits, using the scheme A=1, B=2, C=3, they both resolve to 11, making an 11:11 reference. Both American Airlines flights had a flight number that is a multiple of 11 (11 and 77), making another 11:11 reference.

The Twin Towers both had 110 floors,17 which is an 11:11 reference. Both towers had 99 elevators17 (according to several sources; Wikipedia states it is 95), which is another 11:11 reference. After 99 days of burning, NYC declared the WTC fires were extinguished. This was on 19 December 2001.18

The Twin Towers standing side by side looked like the number 11. Adding the digits of each Airplane’s flight numbers yields: Flight #11 = 11, Flight #93 = 12 (9 + 3 = 12), Flight #175 = 13 (1 + 7 + 5 = 13) and Flight #77 = 14 ( 7 + 7 = 14). Flight AA11 had 11 crew members, consisting of 2 pilots and 9 flight attendants. The numbers of passengers on the planes including the hijackers were 92, 65, 64 and 44,16 while 9 + 2 = 11, 6 + 5 = 11 and 44 is a multiple of 11, while 4 + 4 = 8, 8 * 8 = 64 and 64 – 44 = 9 + 11.

On  29 November 2011 American Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.19 29 November 2011 can be read as 29/11/11 or 29/11/2011, while 2 + 9 = 11 and 20 = 9 + 11. Filing for Chapter 11 on this date is remarkable because American Airlines flights were used for the terrorist attacks and because AA in the flight code can be translated to 11.

This is not all

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, a lot more peculiar coincidences happened. That will be a separate story. Another separate story can be dedicated to coincidences in my life related to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks. These will be published later.

Featured image: Plumes of smoke billow from the World Trade Center after the September 11 attacks. Michael Foran (11 September 2001). Public Domain.

Other images: What is Al-Qaeda? Vice Magazine (1994). Close up of Neo’s passport in The Matrix. Warner Bros (1999). Cover for Party Music. The Coup (2001). Cover for Live Scenes from New York. Dream Theater (2001). Trade Center Defender (2001). [copyright info]

1. Thousands Had Winning 9-1-1 Numbers. Sue Chan. CBS (11 September 2002). [link]
2. September 11 attacks. Wikipedia. [link]
3. The World’s Riskiest Flight. Justin Heckert. Esquire (2012). [link]
4. 15 Bizarre Signs In Popular Culture That ‘Predicted’ The 9/11 Attacks Before They Actually Happened. Nishant Raj (2016). [link]
5. The Matrix Prophetic Film 911 coincidence. U2r2h Blog (2008). [link]
6. How Deus Ex Predicted the Future. Richard Wordsworth. Kotaku.com (2014). [link]
7. Out of the Loop (I Am the World Trade Center album). Wikipedia. [link]
8. Linda and Terry Jamison. Wikipedia. [link]
9. Controversy and conspiracies III. Mike Rudin. BBC (2008). [link]
10. Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the Persian Gulf Crisis and the Federal Budget Deficit. George Bush (11 September 1990) [link]
11. Project for the New American Century. Wikipedia. [link]
12. U.S. Military Wanted to Provoke War With Cuba. David Ruppe. ABC News (2001). [link]
13. Global Guardian. Wikipedia. [link]
14. Date with Destiny? Howard Altman. Philadelphia City Paper (2001).
15. The Carlyle Group: C for capitalism. Economist (2003). [link]
16. September 11 attacks. Wikipedia. [link]
17. World Trade Center elevator artifacts. The National Museum Of American History. [link]
18. Ground Zero Fire Extinguished. Abc News (2001). [link]
19. American Airlines files for Chapter 11 protection. BBC (2011). [link]

Mayan Calendar: That'll freak somebody out someday. Dan Piraro. bizarrocomic.blogspot.com.

On numerology

If you intend to give your critics a field day, just mention astrology or numerology in your argument. They may burst out laughing. Numerology is a way to give meaning to events using numbers. Numbers have no meaning, except the number itself. Nevertheless meaningful coincidences may indicate that there is a script. Many of these coincidences could easily have happened by chance, at least if there was chance. And chance can have a dramatic impact.

Chaos theory is about the huge consequences small events can have. An example often used is that the flight of a butterfly may cause a storm that can derail events that were to happen in the future if the storm hadn’t materialised. Just imagine that another sperm fertilised the egg of Adolf Hitler’s mother. There were millions of sperms out there.

The reference to the end date of World War I on the licence plate of Franz Ferdinand’s car might imply complete control of everything. World War I consisted of countless actions of countless individuals so the end date would impossible to predict otherwise, unless you could time travel to the past. Only time travel would derail the events that were to happen. That’s also chaos theory. And the end date of World War I happened to be 11 November (11-11). Now, that’s peculiar.

This justifies a closer look at coincidences like 11:11 turning up on clocks again and again. Some numerologists claim that eleven is a Master Number. And this quality comes with all kinds of esoteric attributes, numerologists explain:

The 11 (a double 1) has the traits and personality of the 1 twice, and when added (11 = 1 + 1 = 2) becomes a 2, thereby combining the most powerful male energy (the 1, Zeus) with the equally potent female energy (the 2, Hera). Considering that the 1 and the 2 are on opposite ends of the spectrum and the sum of their combined attributes pretty much overshadows all other attributes assigned to the numbers 3 through 9, you can perhaps imagine a merging of the strongest, most driven and aggressive warrior, an unstoppable masculine energy, with the supremacy of the most intuitive, feminine, and cunning goddess. And even that does not reveal the true essence of the 11 Master number: The 11 symbolises the potential to push the limitations of the human experience into the stratosphere of the highest spiritual perception; the link between the mortal and the immortal; between man and spirit; between darkness and light; ignorance and enlightenment. This is the ultimate symbolic power of the 11.

Others believe that 11:11 is a sign from angels. This is speculation with no evidence backing it. If you are seeing some number time after time, it is either the result of selective remembrance or your mind being controlled. The latter is probably true even when you don’t see 11:11 all the time.

Eleven is the first double-digit number. It forms a pair like many coincidences that attract attention. A coincidence is often a pair of similar events happening in a short time. This may be why eleven attracts attention. You get a number and then the same number again. To me eleven symbolises coincidence. It is my personal interpretation.

If you take this to the next level, you get 11:11. 11:11 symbolises two pairs of coincidences to me. Eleven is the fool’s number in the Netherlands, so I think of them as the extremely weird happening, for instance events that show traces of design like the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. But then again, this is my personal opinion. Quran verse 36:36 states that God created everything in pairs. This is a bit peculiar. 36:36 is like 11:11 as 36 = 6 * 6, a miracle of the Quran, a Muslim would say.

And the extremely weird has been happening to me. Take for example, the following incident. I had been investigating eleven related coincidences for my research so I dedicated a webpage to them on the Natural Money website. The page had links to other websites about eleven and 11:11. After uploading the page to the server I noticed that something amazing had happened. The registered upload timestamp of the associated 11coincidencegallery.html file was 11:11. I didn’t do this on purpose.

Natural Money website upload page 1
Natural Money website upload (1)

Even more remarkable was a discovery I did more than one year later. I was researching the coincidences surrounding the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. After uploading excerpts from the Killtown’s 9/11 Coincidences website, I found out that they were uploaded on 11 April 2011 on 9:11 AM. At that time, the page 11coincidencegallery.html was last uploaded on 11 September 2010. And I didn’t make any effort make this happen too. I discovered it seven months later.

Natural Money website upload (2)
Natural Money website upload (2)

The first coincidence was already amazing. It was followed by an equally amazing and closely related coincidence. To me 11:11 symbolises events like these. It may look like an observer effect. Something like that happened during my investigation of curse of the Omen. It may appear that doing research made these coincidences happen. It is more likely that my research was destined to happen and these incidents were destined to happen too. My actions were part of the script, just like these incidents, so that the coincidences emerged.

A trick often used by numerologists is compressing numbers, which is adding up the digits of a number until you get a single digit. For example 1589 is 1 + 5 + 8 + 9 = 23. You then iterate this process until you get a single digit number. 23 adds up to 2 + 3 = 5. There is an exception to this rule. You don’t perform this trick on 11, so the number 911 adds up to 11 as 9 + 1 + 1 = 11. You stop there. You don’t go further by doing 1 + 1 = 2. Why? Perhaps, 11 is to beautiful a number to be broken down further.

The exception is meaningless but it freaked out a few people. Many people were seeing 11:11 on clocks again and again. And perhaps you remember the fuss about the winter solstice of 21 December 2012. The world as we know it would end, the Mayans allegedly predicted. The estimated time for the solstice was 11:11 GMT while the digits of the date 21 December 2012 add up to 11 (2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 2+ 0 + 1 + 2). This also freaked me out. It seemed another sign that the End of Times could be near.

Weird things happened in the stock markets too. The S&P500 hit a low of 666 on 6 March 2009 (date 6/3 while 666 is three sixes). The exact low was 666.79, so to be fair, it should be rounded up to 667, but it is peculiar nonetheless. The financial crisis was stemmed after the FED committed $7.77 trillion to rescuing the financial system.1 Early 2014 IMF Chief Christine Lagarde made some frisky numerological comments on the Magic 7 at the US National Press Club following the IMF’s annual review of the US economy.2

Then on 24 June 2016, the stock markets had a correction after the results of the Brexit vote came out. In the United States, the Dow was down 610, the NASDAQ was down 202, and the S&P 500 was down 76, a total loss of 888 points.3 This happened exactly 7 years, 7 months, 7 weeks and 7 days after the Dow crashed 777.7 points at the height of the financial crisis on 29 September 2008.4 Soon Lagarde’s remarks about the Magic 7 were picked up again on the Internet by conspiracy theorists.

Another trick is translating letters to numbers via the following scheme: A = 1, B = 2, C = 3, D = 4, and so on. In this way the letters AD represent the number 14. In the same fashion A5 could represent 15. There are many possible connections you could make in this way, so something will fit some scheme most of the time. That is why sceptics don’t take numerology seriously. Numbers don’t have meaning. Only people attribute meaning to them. Despite that peculiar numerical coincidences happen. They might be evidence of a script. And the script might make use of our tendency to give meaning to numbers

Featured image: Mayan Calendar: That’ll freak somebody out someday. Dan Piraro. bizarrocomic.blogspot.com (2009).

1. Report: Fed Committed $7.77 Trillion To Rescue Banks. Eyder Peralta. NPR (2011). [link]
2. How One Speech Ignited A Ridiculous Conspiracy Theory About The Occult Allegiances Of IMF Chief Christine Lagarde. Peter Farquhar. Business Insider (2014). [link]
3. Crazy Day For Dow, S&P 500 And NASDAQ. Robert H. Anderson. Investing.com (2016). [link]
4. Dow Falls 777 as Market Reels From House Vote. Cindy Perman. CNBC (2008). [link]