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The 23 enigma


In Tangier in 1960, the beat writer William Burroughs met a sea captain called Captain Clark, who boasted to him that he had never had an accident in 23 years; later that day Clark's boat sank, killing him and everyone on board.

Burroughs was reflecting on this, that same evening, when he heard a radio report about a plane crash in Florida: the pilot was another Captain Clark and the plane was Flight 23. From then on Burroughs began noting down incidences of the number 23, and wrote a short story, 23 Skidoo.

Burroughs's friends Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea adopted the "23 Enigma" as a guiding principle in their conspiratorial Illuminatus! trilogy.

Twenty-threes…

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Last Updated : Sunday, June 28, 2020