Scientific Verification of a Message from Another Continuum?

A correspondent recently wrote to tell me that the TV series “Lost” isn’t as unrealistic as we might have thought. He says the subplot about the coincidences and “meanings” of the lottery numbers reflects something that has happened in reality.

He explained that “a series of numbers drawn in the NY lottery game, has been verified as a “message” from another continuum, by senior researchers at Princeton University.   This is a first scientific verification of that dimension of reality….”

When I asked for his evidence, he sent me this link to a webspawner page that references a story from the Bronx Times Reporter of July 8, 1993.

It amounts to an entertaining but not entirely coherent fairy tale. Apparently someone converted a bunch of images from a dream into symbols, then used analogies and the principles of numerology to convert those symbols into numbers, then found that a winning lottery ticket matched the numbers. Then there’s something about predicting a supernova, with references to Carl Sagan and to Jung’s speculations about synchronicity.

The “senior researchers at Princeton University” turned out to be one laboratory manager at Princeton’s School of Applied Science who wrote a short paragraph acknowledging the coincidence and citing Pythagoras but saying nothing about messages or other continuums.

What would another continuum be, exactly? Is there an alternative to the space-time continuum? And how could a message be communicated from there into our space-time continuum? And why?

My correspondent also cited Nostradamus and the concept of “acausal reality.” He quoted physicist W. Pauli as saying “In quantum physics, natural numbers are considered to be the ultimate structural element of being.” What does that even mean? Do the quantum physics textbooks say that? And how would that tie in with numerology?

If this is his idea of “scientific verification” he would have no trouble “scientifically verifying” Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and homeopathy.

I am not impressed.

This article was originally published in Swift, the online newsletter of the James Randi Educational Foundation.

Dr. Hall is a contributing editor to both Skeptic magazine and the Skeptical Inquirer. She is a weekly contributor to the Science-Based Medicine blog and is one of its editors. She has also contributed to Quackwatch and to a number of other respected journals and publications. She is the author of Women Aren’t Supposed to Fly: The Memoirs of a Female Flight Surgeon and co-author of the textbook, Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions.