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Good Question: Does Numerology Work?

By Jason DeRusha, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- People got excited on January 1, 2011 (1/1/11), and again on the 11th (1/11/11) much like they will in November (11/11/11).

There's something about repeating numbers and certain numbers that captivates people. Some go so far as to name their children certain names so it corresponds to a certain numerical value. But does numerology really work?

"Every number has a frequency. And every number represents a certain category," said numerologist Mojan, a spiritual healer and psychic who has done readings for celebrities from her home in Los Angeles.

The idea behind numerology is that your name and your birth date affects the cosmos and your life. My birthdate of Jan. 24, 1975 corresponds to a life path number of 11.

Here's how you figure that out: take the number of the month, the digits in the date, and the digits in the year and add them up.

"So you're going to go 1+2+4+1+9+7+5," said Mojan, which adds up to 29. Numerologists only use 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, and 22.

With the number of 29, you add the digits (2+9) to get to a life path number of 11.

"It's a good day to sign a contract, buy a house, any major decisions are great to be made on the day of your number," said Mojan.

"We know so little about the universe ... and given uncertainty, people like systems that help explain it," said Douglas Arnold, a University of Minnesota mathematics professor and past President of an international applied mathematics society.

What does 1/11/11 mean to him?

"It means the date on the calendar has a lot of ones in a row, that happens every now and again," laughed Arnold. "Mathematicians agree that numbers have great predictive power, but the sort of mystical way numerologists do doesn't have any content or anything behind it."

Some of this tracks to Pythagoras, in 500 BC. We learned his Pythagorean theorem in school: a2 + b2 = c2

"He was one of the early mathematicians, and an early mystic," said Arnold.

But his mystical ideas have been disproven. And Arnold called the idea that arbitrary numbers have cosmic meaning "intellectually bankrupt. It's not a rational process."

Mojan said she understands the skeptics, and acknowledges the limitations of numerology.

"I believe in facts," she said, but she has had incidents where the numerology works. "My experiences have led me otherwise."

Mojan said she has predicted marriages and life paths, based on a person's number.

According to one website with number descriptions, my life path of number 11 indicates: "Gifted with an inordinate amount of intuition" and "a sensitive and passionate lover."

"The world is extremely complicated," said Arnold, "so anything that makes it simpler to understand, we gravitate towards."

Click here to find out what your number is.

WCCO-TV's Jason DeRusha Reports

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