The "23 Enigma" is the Discordian belief that all events are connected to the number 23, given enough ingenuity on the part of the interpreter.
It can be seen in Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea's Illuminatus! trilogy (there called the "23/17 phenomenon"), Wilson's Cosmic Trigger I: The Final Secret of the Illuminati (there called "The Law of 23s" and "The 23 Enigma"), Arthur Koestler's Challenge of Chance, as well as the Principia Discordia. In these works, 23 is considered either lucky, unlucky, sacred to the goddess Eris, sinister, sacred to the unholy gods of the Cthulhu Mythos, or strange. Discordians regard this as a corollary of the Law of Fives. As with most numerological claims, the 23 enigma can be viewed as an example of apophenia, selection bias, and confirmation bias. In interviews, Wilson has acknowledged the self-fulfilling nature of the 23 enigma, implying that the real
value of the Laws of Fives and Twenty-threes lies in their demonstration of the mind's power to perceive "truth" in nearly
anything. In the Illuminatus! Trilogy, he expresses the same view: that one can find a numerological
significance to anything, provided "sufficient cleverness."
- The 1998 German film 23 starring August Diehl tells the story of computer hackers coming in contact with secret societies based on the number 23.
- The 2007 film The Number 23 starring Jim Carrey is the story of a man becoming obsessed with the number 23 after he reads a book of the same title that seems
to be about his life. Jim Carrey named his production company JC23.