(Submitted by friend of the blog, Susan Gerbic of  Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia)

I was preparing for an upcoming Wikipedia workshop.  I chose November 2011 at random to retrieve stats for pages.

The Amityville Horror Wikipedia page had 66,633 views that month.

No way could someone have messed with the numbers because you can’t see how many hits a page receives until 36 hours after the fact.

[EDITOR: Numbers and how we perceive them always make for an interesting subject because they’re a perfect example of of searching with uncertain goals in mind. In the case above, the number was significant because it contained “666,” which some consider the number of the beast reference in a well-known holy text. Combining this with the Amityville Horror, which is a story of a supposedly real haunted house, is what makes the number’s appearance spooky. But it’s not as though this combination is uncommon.

In the example given, the number has 5 digits in total. 666 could have appeared in three possible places (66,6xx, x6,66x, or xx,666) and still caught someone’s eye. Presumably an especially observant person might have caught it spread out, as well (6x,6×6). And that’s sticking ONLY with 666. There are other numbers with classic occult meaning behind them, including 3 (although that does add to the spook factor of the above number ending with 33), 7, 9 (999 being the flip of 666), 11, and of course 13 (reference link).

So presumably any of those sets of numbers showing up in the hits could also grab the attention of someone predisposed to think of them. Some even pay attention to multiples or divisions of those numbers (although that does cover the 33 and 999 already discussed).

And that speaks only to occult numbers. People find significance in all sorts of other numbers, whether they be birthdays, anniversaries, favorite/lucky numbers, or all sorts of unusual examples. Had the number above been any different SOMEONE who looked at it was virtually guaranteed to find a number string that was, to them, meaningful. And small strings of combinations of only 10 digits are ripe for common reuse throughout everything we see. So unlike many of the stories we run on this site, numerical coincidences are probably the easiest to find on a regular basis. And yet… having said that, sometimes they still manage to surprise the heck out of you. And if you happen to be superstitious, I imagine some can be downright scary. But they’re still just coincidences. – Jarrett]